by Greg Neyman
© Old Earth Ministries
First Published 18 Oct 2005
This important passage of scripture related to the creation details the “rest” of God, referring to the seventh day of creation. The passage concerning the seventh day says:
1Therefore, let us fear lest, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you should seem to have come short of it.
2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.
3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, “As I swore in my wrath, they shall not enter my rest,” although His works were finished form the foundation of the world.
4 For He has thus said somewhere concerning the seventh day, “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”;
5 And again in this passage, “They shall not enter My rest.”
6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,
7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, “Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.”
9 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.
10 There remains therefore a Sabbath rest for the people of God.
11 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.
12 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall through following the same example of disobedience.
It is clear throughout the passage that the author is looking forward to entering God’s rest. The real question is…what is God’s rest? In verse 4, the author clearly ties God’s rest to the seventh day of creation, saying “And God rested on the seventh day,” and in verse 5, “They shall not enter My Rest,” and on into verse 6, the key verse, “Since therefore it remains for some to enter it.” How could it remain for someone to enter it, if God’s rest on the seventh day was over? Clearly, the author of Hebrews indicates in these verses that the seventh day of rest and “God’s rest” are one in the same…there can be no mistaking such a clear teaching from these verses. Young earth creationists, on the other hand, do ignore this plain teaching. According to young earth creation science, the seventh day is also a 24 hour day. To them, acceptance of a long period of time for the seventh day would open the possibility that the six days of creation are long periods also.
If God entered the seventh day of rest over 6,000 years ago, how could some people still enter that rest? If the day is over, this is not possible. Young earth creationism answers this by trying to explain away the seventh day argument.
Let’s examine the four arguments that young earth creationists use to argue against a long seventh day.
God’s present rest does not logically imply a long seventh day. This argument is based on the acceptance of the days of creation as 24-hour days. Yes, logically, if I accepted the days of creation as 24 hours long, I would logically have to accept the seventh day as 24 hours. However, since the days of creation were millions of years long, logically I would accept the seventh day as a long period of time. Therefore, it makes logical since for young earth creationists that Day 7 is 24 hours, and it makes logical sense for old earth creationists that Day 7 is a long period of time. For point number one, it all depends on your beliefs about the length of the days of creation.
God’s rest on the seventh day is always spoken of in the past tense. This argument is from Genesis 2:3, where it says “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” The argument is that since rested is in the past tense, God has completed his rest. The key here is the changeover from creation to rest. Think of it this way. You stopped working at 12:01 AM, and started resting. At 7:00 AM, you would say, “I rested at 12:01.” In reality, you are still resting from your work, yet you must use the past tense to describe the point in time that you started resting. From God’s perspective, at Time X, God began resting, thus He “Rested” from all his work. Today, at Time Y, God is still resting, but the original statement, “God rested” still applied at Time X. Genesis 2:3 speaks of the fact that creation is over, and says the seventh day is God’s day of rest, but it does not address the length of time of the seventh day.
It makes no sense of Exodus 20:9–11. This refers to the fourth commandment, where the symbolism of the work week is used. Answers in Genesis says that “The passage is certainly not teaching an eternal weekend.” Of course not. The seven day week is a pattern. God broke the creation down into terms we could understand, and that we could use as a format for our passage of time. However, time as we know it does not apply to an eternal God, as he does not mark the passage of time like we do. God does not experience days, as He never sleeps. Symbolically, Exodus and the seventh day make perfect sense. God gave us a pattern for our work week. Since we observe the passage of days, and we sleep, we could not have millions of years as an example.
Most importantly, it contradicts the plain meaning of Scripture. What they really mean is, “It contradicts the young earth interpretation of Scripture.” It does not contradict the meaning of Scripture, as understood by non young earth theologians. The argument is broken into a discussion of the word Yom (see Word Study: Yom), and the fact that there are plenty of other words God could have used to indicate a long period of time. However, if God wanted to give us a pattern for our work week, He needed to use “Yom.” If He used another word, the symbolism for our work week would be lost.
In the end, there is no reason given by young earth creation science to indicate the seventh day of rest is over. If you interpret the Bible from a young earth perspective, then you obviously would believe this, but there is no problem interpreting the Bible as supporting a long seventh day…despite the objections of young earth creationists.
For the young earth perspective, read Is the seventh day an eternal day?
If you are not a Christian, and you have been holding out on making a decision for Christ because the Church always preached a message that was contrary to what you saw in the scientific world, then rest assured that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, and you can believe in Christ and receive salvation, while still believing in an old earth. Click here for more.
Are you a Christian who believes in young earth creationism? Now that we have shown the many difficulties of the young earth creation science model in this and many other articles, how does this impact your Christian life? If you are a young earth creationism believer, click here.
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about old earth creationism, see
Old Earth Belief,
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Can You Be A
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