Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Rhythm (Genesis 2:1-3)

We assume that people know that the chapter and verse designations are not original to the Biblical text. They are basically medieval attempts at outlining scripture and a way for people to find and speak about common portions of Scripture. Sort of like synchronizing watches to coordinate action. The problems, however, are that not all cultures share the same numbering system and the people who decided where the chapter breaks would be made some poor choices. This break between Genesis one and two is one of the classic examples. The portion we designate as verses 1-3 of chapter two clearly belong to the material of chapter one.

The final day of the creative week is not one where any creation occurred. It is where God rested from His work. And in case you missed it, the Bible tells us that two times. The day is blessed and made holy because of that rest. We do not get the evening and morning formula here. It is as though the day is incomplete.

Did God really stop working? Has the rest carried on indefinitely? Are we still in the seventh day?

While God did complete creation, He has clearly continued to work and be active in it. God sustains us? He is active in history and in human culture. He is busy restoring creation. Perhaps we might speculate that God did rest until sin entered the world and now we are living in a new period of work looking forward to another Sabbath rest in eternity. However, that is a dangerous “what if” speculation that never turn out well in theology. It is best perhaps to not range too far from the text here. In addition to telling us that God created and ordered everything in existence, Genesis one structures our rhythm of life. We work as God does, and our work is a holy activity but we also were created for rest. We need to maintain a healthy balance of activity and rest; of working to fulfill our God-given purpose and to rest in our God-intended relationship with the Creator.

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