Genesis 1 is clear about the time it took God to create the world by
means of voicing it into existence. We explore here the implications of
a six-day creation week for the creation account and for the Sabbath.
Relevant Biblical Passages:
- The major text — Gen 1:1-2:4a
- Sabbath commandment — Exod 20:8-11; Deut 5:12-15
- Sabbath commands — Exod 23:12; 31:12-17; etc.
Creation in Six Days
The vocabulary surrounding days and hours in Gen 1 is intriguing. The
use of evenings and mornings, the references to days without any obvious
attempt to mean anything else, and the standard use of numbers with each
day clearly points to 24-hour days in the minds of the biblical writers.
Lay out the six days of creation on a sheet of paper and explore the
relationships which you see. How do some days tie in with others? Some
have pointed to connections between days one and four, two and five, and
three and six. What do you make of this?
What happened on each of the six days? Read the passages with extreme
care, look for patterns, then discuss and explore:
|Day one —|
|Day three —|
|Day five —|
In comparing Gen 1 with other passages on creation, many do not mention
the number of days of creation — Gen 2; Ps 104; Heb 1:10-13. Should we
expect all creation accounts to mention the days? If not, what is the focus
of these others?
Historically, there have been a number of attempts to understand the
days of creation — regular 24-hour days, long periods of time, etc. What
has led to some of these suggestions and are they helpful? In the final
analysis, is there any way to test how long the days of creation actually
were? What is the role of faith here?
The seventh day of creation was the Sabbath. What is the significance
of the seventh day in the context of creation? What role does it play?
In what ways is it a memorial of creation? What does this mean?
What Difference Does it Make?
Why is it important to consider the days of creation week? In what does
the importance lie? How is the Sabbath related to this?