“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:8-11 ESV).
Some people wonder why God didn’t instantly create the cosmos in which we live. The Church Father Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) suggested that He did, less than 6,000 years before Augustine wrote.
As readers of Creation will know, many theologians today say that God ‘created’ by stealth. That is, anonymously, over unimaginably long periods. Such ’creation’ happened by waiting for random chemical changes that progressively produced the wonderful flowering of life in all its complex interlocking diversity.
But the Scriptures contradict both – and for good reason!
Exodus 20:8-11 and 31:12-17 provide a very good reason. Being Yahweh’s spoken words (Exodus 21:1), they demand our careful attention.
The Ten Commandments, the covenant document between Israel and Yahweh, gives the Sabbath to show that Creator and creature, Yahweh and mankind, share something. They share action in a continuity of time; that is, God’s action is linked to our history. It demonstrates the basis for fellowship.
Of course, God is far more than His creation, and in creation He does far more than the sharing of ‘action in days’ that marks the shared history of God and us. The link between creature and Creator that makes sense of mankind being in the image of the Creator is pivotal. Also pivotal is that the Creator and creation are separate. It is in the creation done within real history that God shows He is distinct from but present and active in the world we live in. He acts in the same sorts of days that we must act in.
He is thus not a remote, distant, or anonymous god, nor a god merged into the creation. God is the relating One who is holy. That is, separate. The days set the theme that will finally come to fruition in the Incarnation of God (Jesus) among His creatures as one of them.
This is the great communication from God: that the creation is the place of our fellowship with Him; the place where we can enjoy and know Him. This is demonstrated with the sad moment in Genesis 3:8 where God is present and available within the creation, seeking Adam and Eve, created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1: 26-27) – but they had turned from the fellowship they had. They rejected the One whose image they bore.
The days set the scene for the reality of God’s relationship with mankind. Furthermore, they make sense of the many theophanies throughout the Old Testament, i.e. visible manifestations of God, active within His creation.
Creation in days also tells us about the world that God made. That it is the real world! There is nothing ‘behind’ it but the Word of God. It shows us that this world is neither illusion nor accident. That God is neither absent, as instantaneous creation would suggest; nor undetectable, as per the accidental ‘creation’ via the big bang cosmic evolution. Both would deny the intimacy and grandeur of the creature in the image of the Creator, and the thrill of His nearness.
In short: instant=distant; evolution=undetectable; creation according to the Bible=fellowship!
The basis of fellowship
Fellowship of persons between the Creator and creature can only happen because, first, God has shown He is separate from and prior to creation. Then, that He acts in it as we do; in successive days.
The creation over six days shows us what God is like. That He is personal. He thinks, speaks, achieves, and evaluates. We do this too because we are made in His image. This is nothing like the ‘gods’ of pagan fantasy captured in myths. These are detached from history and deny any fellowship between the gods and mankind. These gods reflect the worst attributes of mankind; violence, anger, depravity, enslavement.
God created in the days that we experience to demonstrate fellowship as He works within these same days that we live and work within. God shows Himself starting and acting in the same line of history we are in. He uses history’s flow to demonstrate the link we have with Him.
But the point of creation is not the creation. It is the Creator; it is His revelation to us, His creatures. We creatures can relate to God because we are in His image.
In some small way we resemble who He is and what He is like; so we know of whom we are the image. God demonstrated this in the days within which we would then also enjoy it.
The six ‘ordinary’ days of creation place God in our history. They connect us to Him directly!
Taken from Creation magazine Vol. 44, No. 4, 2022, page 24. Author: David Green. Publ. Creation Ministries International Ltd., Eight Mile Plains, Qld, Australia.