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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Six Days of Creation

'The six days of creation', theologically speaking, has been a matter of some controversy for centuries! The question of whether the days were strict 24 hour periods or whether they referred to epochs, to long periods of time ( ages ) is still heartily and often heatedly debated as a matter of utmost importance! One might very well ask the question, though, 'is it really all that important?' 'Yes', some will say, 'it IS all that important; the Bible says that God created the heavens and earth in six days, and rested the seventh, thereby setting the pattern whereby we work six days and rest on the seventh!' Well, okay, but there are several problems with this statement, especially for traditional orthodoxy; most blatantly, if the creation week set the pattern for our work week, why aren't we resting on Saturday, the seventh day? 'The Sabbath was changed to the first day of the week', these will say, citing Acts 20:7, as well as other assorted passages as proof that it was switched to Sunday. 'Because the Resurrection of Jesus occurred on the first day of the week', you might also hear . All the 'evidence' aside, though, it is really only speculation that our Heavenly Father intended for us to gather for corporate worship on Sunday rather than Saturday ( by the way, I am not advocating a return to Saturday worship! )!

Whether you trust in 'Creation Science' or have moved 'Beyond Creation Science', it should be obvious to even the most casual reader that  the account is not about the creation of the known universe ( no mention of planets, for one thing )! By 'moving Beyond Creation Science' I am not only shamelessly 'plugging' a book written by a good friend of mine a few years ago, but to the fact that the creation account in Genesis 1, instead of referring to a creation ( out of nothing ), instead refers to a forming, fattening, and the cutting of a covenant; to see why we say this, look up the Hebrew word for 'created' in Genesis 1:1!

'So, why does it not really matter', you ask, ' whether the 'days of creation' were literal 24 hour periods or ages ( hundreds, even thousands of years ) for each recorded day?' Well, besides the facts that the day-age theory is really rather ridiculous, even to our western ears, and that the Books of Moses were written by an Ancient Near Eastern writer to a group of Ancient Near Eastern people, it really doesn't matter because the account is written in such a way as to foreshadow a greater spiritual Truth! The account tells us that on the first 'day', Light was revealed, although the Sun is not mentioned as being formed for three more days! The point here was that the Sun, our closest star, and giver of light, is not the True Giver of Light, but only physically foreshadowed Him Who Was To Come!

The 'pattern' set by our Heavenly Father, that we should work six days, and rest the seventh, whether we start with our labors on Sunday or Monday, physiologically speaking, has been proven over and over to be a good idea! The human body can only work 24/7 for so long; we need, not only that 6-8 hours every night ( although some 'skate' by on much less ), but our body needs that period of rest, at least one day of the week, or at least, that's the theory! Psychically speaking, we need that period of time where our mind can rest from our normal day-to-day activities as well. Traditionally speaking, we have set aside one day of the week to gather together, as The Body of Christ for corporate worship and fellowship in order to 'recharge' spiritually. Spiritually speaking, we are in that Rest, or that Sabbath, that our Heavenly Father commanded in Exodus 20:8!

One might argue, even after or in spite of all this, that interpreting our Heavenly Father's 'clear commands' in this way naturally leads to a false and heretical interpretation of other patterns that have been laid out for us in the hallowed pages of Scripture; this is true, it could! Maybe it needs to!

This calls for a thoughtful and prayerful examination of numerous key passages in Scripture, some of which are clearly culture-based, some which are not so clearly based on that Ancient Near Eastern culture, and others which are based, not upon any certain biological culture, but are truly patterns by which God's people, of all ages and cultures, are to lead their lives!

As the people of God, the Body of His Son, we should live according to the basic pattern that Jesus the Christ, God Himself, set for His people in Matthew 22:37-40, 'Love God and your neighbor'; we can do no less, we need do nothing more!

Charles Haddon Shank

1 comment:

Abigail said...

Ideally i would like 10-12 hours of sleep per 24 hour period and about three non-work days during each week. But i can handle a lot less rest than that, and i have to work, so whatever. I don't mind it.