(This is a reaction to the January 16 bible study lesson at http://ssnet.org/lessons/13a/less03.html.)
Resting on the seventh day? Did God really take a day off? My understanding is that God wouldn’t take a day off because He is actually transcendent to time; well, time is inside of Him. He is not inside any particular day at all in which to rest or work. Instead, He created a day in which we could rest, and He “rested” only in the sense that He didn’t create anything new that day.
One thing that’s significant about the Sabbath in relation to the Creation is that without the literal Creation story, God just chose to make us do this special day of rest on this particular day for no reason at all if Creation was just a series of giant epochs spanning millions of years. But if there was a literal rest day at the end of Creation, then we’re commemorating that and remembering God as the Creator. Ellen White, in her book Patriarchs and Prophets, writes that a rule that makes sense like that is much more in God’s style of dealing with mankind than the idea that He would give us a day of rest that is supposed to commemorate a day that never even happened.
When someone sees the literal days as actually being symbolic of millions of years, everything else fits into that view. They can even say that we are now currently in the seventh day of rest still, in the seventh epoch of millions of years. Some people even draw comfort from that. I heard people after a speech being glad about that idea.
Look, I can understand that people want to make the Bible fit with science. It’s like if the Bible said that the Moon is made of cheese, and it’s clearly not, we would want to make the Bible’s statement fit with observation somehow–or give up on the Bible (as some people have done). To many people, the idea of life being 6,000 years old is as crazy as saying that the Moon is made of cheese. It seems so obvious that the fossil record and carbon dating and theory say that life is millions of years old, produced by evolution, etc. But the Bible doesn’t agree with that, so we either abandon it or say that the Bible really does agree with observation, that the Bible teaches millions of years. And that’s totally understandable that we want to deal with it that way; we want to be smart and consistent.
So then the question is, if the Bible and our observations disagree, where do you want to put your trust? Does it make sense to trust the Bible above science? The worldly way of thinking says that’s crazy and old-fashioned. But the Bible says that the Gospel is foolishness to the world.
When I was a kid, I once debated with a man who was an atheist and an evolutionist. He told me at one point that, because of the nature of science, if a better theory than evolution came along, he would believe in it instead of evolution. So I think if you put science first in your mind, you’re trusting something that could change at any moment based on observations and theories. But the Science of Salvation revealed in the Bible stays the same and gets more wonderful as more is understood throughout eternity.
(Praise Team Leader at New Horizons SDA Church in Republic, MO)