The Beginning of the Creation Account: God Speaks
The main point of the creation account in Genesis 1 is that God created everything.
Sounds obvious, but let it sink in for a minute. We often try to read too much into the mechanics of creation or the timeline and the nitty gritty details. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball for a minute.
“In the beginning God created…”
These words presuppose that God was already existent in the beginning. He exists outside of time; He is transcendent. Everything we know and experience came into existence by the power of His word.
There’s plenty to meditate on right there. But I want to spend sometime exploring the end of the creation account in Genesis 2:1-3.
The Conclusion of the Creation Account: God Rests.
It’s easy to read past this because it’s all pretty familiar. After finishing His work of creation, God rested.
It sounds pretty natural to you and me. You’ve finished a long, hard day at work. Maybe you completed a special project or maybe it was just difficult to get your kids in bed, but now you’ve arrived at that point when the day is done and you sit back on the couch to rest.
Why? Because you’re tired!
But God doesn’t get tired, of course. Consider Isaiah 40:28:
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
It’s not like God realized He was tired on the seventh day. “Wow creating a universe really took a lot out of me. I need a day off to recharge.” Obviously not the case, right?
So why did God rest?
I don’t have a pat answer, but it’s something that bears reflection. Spend some time prayerfully thinking about this. Here are a few thoughts:
Satisfaction. Perhaps the rest God engages in here has something to do with the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. The text is clear — the work of creation was finished, and it was good. When He rested, I think God was enjoying what He made.
Creation was beautiful and delightful. It is marked by both incredible order and incredible beauty. Before the world was plunged into sin, everything was perfect and wonderful, and it brought joy to the Creator.
Even now we still encounter breathtaking design and beauty in creation and these point us to the character and nature of the Creator. As the Psalmist writes, the heavens declare the glory of the Lord.
God loves and enjoys his creation. That’s why he went to such great lengths to redeem it. The beauty and perfection of creation will be experienced when God restores all things in Jesus.
Pattern. Plenty has been written (and debated) about the pattern set forth on this seventh day.
Whatever you believe theologically about the Sabbath, it’s pretty clear that we need rest. Obviously, unlike God, we physically need rest from our daily activities.
God did not have to design us with a need for rest and sleep. I think one reason He made us to need rest is to remind us of our dependence on Him. We are never more physically vulnerable than when we are at rest and asleep. So physically sleeping is an act of faith and trust in God.
Furthermore, our need for rest teaches us humility. We do not have limitless strength — only God does. And when we rest the world continues on just fine without us. We are not what philosophers would call necessary beings — only God is necessary.
And rest gives us the opportunity to pull back from the struggles, noise, and grind of day-to-day living. To borrow a cliché, in rest we have an opportunity to “stop and smell the flowers.” The Creator desires us to also derive satisfaction and joy from the work of His hands, and in the work He gives us to do with our hands. In rest we can also pause to enjoy the Creator himself, which is the highest calling and privilege of all.
Application and Reflection
What should we do with the seventh day of creation? What should it mean for us that God rested?
Spend some time prayerfully meditating on the passage — what it says about God, about creation, and about you.
Consider how you can pursue seasons of rest in your own life, recognizing your limitations and your dependence on God. How can you be more intentional about rest?