THE SINLESS CREATION SABBATH REST
1:5 … evening and the morning … first day.
1:8 … evening and the morning … second day.
1:13 … evening and the morning … third day.
1:19 … evening and the morning … fourth day.
1:23 … evening and the morning … fifth day.
1:31 … evening and the morning … sixth day.
2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2:2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.
Seventh-day Adventists teach that the creation Sabbath was twenty-four hours long and has never been lost in history. Since God rested with Adam and Eve on the first creation Sabbath day, then it must have been set apart for all of the descendants of Adam and Eve. The Seventh-day Sabbath, first observed by God with Adam before sin entered must also be at the heart of a moral expectation from God. Since it had been instituted before either the nation of Israel, or the Mosaic Law, then it could not have been confined to Israel or its Old Covenant set of laws.
ANOTHER VIEW OF THE CREATION SABBATH
First, SDAs make an unfounded claim on Genesis 2:3 and Exodus 20:11 and call the Sabbath a “memorial of creation.” Although this may seem like ‘splitting hairs’ over something very insignificant, the texts do not say that the Sabbath was/is a “memorial of creation.” Instead, it is a memorial “of the rest of creation.” Genesis 2:3 reads “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it — because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” God began resting from His creative activity on the first Sabbath day and God commanded Adam to join in His rest B until Adam sinned. The emphasis is on “rest,” not “creation.” Also, while “creation” is again mentioned in the Sabbath commandment found in Exodus 20:11, it is noticeably absent from the final version found in Deuteronomy 5:15.
Second, the Bible does not state that the sinless rest which began on the original creation Sabbath day ended after only twenty-four hours. While Genesis, chapter one, states that each of the first six days of creation were bounded by an “evening and a morning,” it does not state the very same thing about the Sabbath! Why? Obviously, God was trying to indicate that the first Sabbath was somehow different from the other six days of creation and continued beyond one day.
Third, there is some internal textual evidence suggesting that the original Sabbath rest could have lasted for many years until man sinned. God watered the earth (2:6), planted the garden (2:8), prepared the soil for the garden to grow (2:9) and placed Adam in the garden “to dress and keep it” (2:15). “Dressing” and “keeping” the garden did not constitute a violation of the original sinless Sabbath rest because God and Adam continued face-to-face fellowship on a daily (full rest) basis until sin entered (3:8). Only after Adam had sinned and separated himself from God did his sharing of God’s original Sabbath sinless rest change to a life of work and sweat (3:17-19). While the original Sabbath day may have ended with sunset, the original Sabbath REST continued. Not until the original Sabbath rest ended [for man] did separation and death resulting from sin enter (3:21-24). The Bible does not state how long the original rest [of Adam] which began on the first Sabbath lasted.
Fourth: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The countdown of the days until Adam=s death did not begin when he was created without sin. Genesis 5:3 says that “Adam lived a hundred and thirty (130) years” before Seth was born. Genesis 5:4 says that he lived another eight hundred (800) years producing children after Seth was born. Genesis 5:5 says “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty (930) years: and he died.” “All the days” probably does not include the indeterminate sinless time of rest spent in the garden before the fall. Adam did not start aging until he sinned (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 3:23)! Therefore Adam’s nine hundred and thirty years (930) probably began their calculation when he sinned!
Fifth, a memorial can point both ways. After falling away from sharing God’s perfect sinless rest and fellowship because of sin, perfect rest in the garden ended. The original Sabbath rest was an every-day rest. The Sabbaths are primarily types of the original every-day rest before Adam sinned and not of a one day a week rest. Therefore, the one-day Sabbath rest given to national Israel in Exodus 20:8-11 is best explained as a reminder of Adam’s indeterminate every-day rest period in the garden before he sinned. Likewise, the seventh-day Sabbath rest of Deuteronomy 5:13-15 reminded Israel of its current every-day rest from Egyptian bondage. The two sabbath days of the Feast of Booths’ rest of Leviticus 23:39-43 also reminded Israel of its current every-day rest from Egyptian bondage. The New Covenant believer is also restored, not to a one-day-a-week rest, but to the same kind of current every-day rest which Adam had enjoyed in the garden before he sinned. Again, the believer’s rest is in the presence of God every day of the week (Heb. 4:3; Rom. 5:1; 8:1; Heb. 4:16). It is also an imputed every-day sinless rest granted on the sinlessness of Jesus Christ.
Sixth, no rest day or Sabbath is mentioned in God’s Word from Genesis 2 until Exodus 16 (at least 2000 years). Sinless Sabbah-day rest and subsequent every-day sinless rest ended [for man] when sin entered. Mankind sinned and toiled without rest, either physical or spiritual. No rest and much sin led to the flood, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). God’s anger again fell in Genesis 11 at the tower of Babel. From Genesis 12 until Exodus 16 (Abraham to Moses) the Bible tells us of toil, and more toil, but no rest at all.
Seventh, there is no evidence that the seven-day weekly cycle was either given to, or observed by, nations around the globe before Exodus 16. The SDA claim that the Sabbath was given to all mankind before the Mosaic Law is false.
If God had wanted all mankind to observe a Sabbath day at the end of each week, then He would have made such a day inherent in the [natural] conscience of man. This has not happened. Although the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians had a seven-day (7) week, this was most likely from the divisions of the phases of the moon. Their days were assigned to the names of their seven “heavenly bodies” circling Earth, such as the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Saturn. Their numbering system used six (6) rather than (10) as the base of its calculations. Six, sixty and multiples of six evidently influenced Hebrew thought (compare Gen. 7:6; Numb. 7:88; 1 Kg. 10:14; Dan. 3:1.)
The frequency of market days, not an innate call to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath, determined the amount of days in a “week” for ancient civilizations. Some tribes in West Africa adopted four-day (4) intervals between market days. The Assyrians adopted five-day (5) intervals. Ancient Rome adopted eight-day (8) intervals. And the ancient Egyptians adopted ten-day (10) intervals. It was not until the first century B.C. that Rome adopted the seven-day weekly cycle. This information is found in most large encyclopedias under “calendar.”
The point is that, while some moral attributes of God appear to be known to all mankind, the seventh-day Sabbath ending a seven-day week was not. Therefore, the seventh-day Sabbath is not an eternal innate moral law for all mankind.
[Added –not in book: Some Christians believe that the seventh-day Creation rest for God has continued because (they believe) God ceased creating any new species at that time and only differences in species have occurred since man was created.]