Creation Day 7 The Sabbath

Creation Day 7

The Sabbath

Genesis 2

1 So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them.

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 done.

And he blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Ephrem the Syrian, also known as Saint Ephrem, Saint Ephraim, Ephrem of Edessa or Aprem of Nisibis, was a prominent Christian theologian and writer, who is revered as one of the most notable hymnographers of Eastern Christianity. He was born in Nisibis, served as a deacon and later lived in Edessa. 

Born: Nusaybin, Turkey

Died: June 9, 373 AD, Edessa, Turkey

After Moses spoke about the reptiles, the cattle, and the beasts, about mankind and about their blessing on the sixth day, he turned to write about God’s rest that took place on the seventh day saying, “Thus heaven and earth were finished, and all their host. And God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” [ Gen2:1-2 ]

From what toil did God rest? For the creatures that came to be on the first day came to be by a gesture, except for the light which came to be through His word. And the rest of the works which came to be afterwards came to be through His word. What toil is there for us when we speak one word, that there should be toil for God because of the one word a day that He spoke? If Moses, who divided the sea by his word and his rod, did not tire and Joshua, son of Nun, who restrained the luminaries by his word, did not tire, then what toil could there have been for God when He created the sea and the luminaries by [ His ] word?

Indeed, it was not because He rested on [ that day ] that God who does not weary, blessed and sanctified the seventh day, nor was it so that He might grant that people, who did not set aside a day when they were freed from their servitude, to give rest to their servants and maid-servants. He gave it to them so that, even if they had to be coerced, they would rest. For it was given to them in order to depict by a temporal rest, which He gave to a temporal people, the mystery of the true rest which will be given to the eternal people in the eternal world.

Also because a full week was required, God exalted with a word that seventh day which His works did not exalt so that, because of the honor set apart for it, it might be united to its companions, and so that the numbering of the week, which is required for the service of the world, might be completed.

You should realize, reader, that even though the days of creation were completed and Scripture had pronounced a blessing on the Sabbath day that had been sanctified and had brought it to a close, it now reverts to narrating the very beginning of the acts of creation, even though the days of these acts had come to an end.

Fr. Malaty of the Coptic Orthodox Church has gathered many of the early church Fathers and their sayings.

Sanctification of the Sabbath: “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Gen. 2: 1 –3) what is the meaning of “He rested on the seventh day”? Surely, rest here does not imply stopping work, but He rested in the rest of His creation. And as said by St. Augustine: [The rest of God means the rest of those who find rest in Him]. His rest, as a heavenly Father, is to find His beloved enjoying the true inner rest. That is why St. Augustine says: {we rest when we do good deeds. As an example of this, it was written about God that He “rested on the seventh day”, when He “saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good”. He did not get tired, or got in need for rest, nor stopped working up till now. In this concern the Lord Christ frankly says: “My Father has been working until now” (John 5: 17)]. God ended His talk about the work of creation, by proclaiming His rest in His creation that carried the signs of His love, especially man who carried His image and likeness. God remains in His rest, as long as man also rests in the bosom of His heavenly Father. That is why many fathers believe that the commandment of “keeping the Sabbath”, which means in Hebrew “the rest”, is actually a symbol of abiding in the Lord Christ, being the rest of the Father, in whom He finds His pleasure concerning us, as well as our own rest, as in Him we enter into the bosom of the Father; the Lord Christ, Himself, is our true Sabbath.  This is the secret of God’s care for keeping the commandment of the Sabbath, and for making it a main line in His plan of salvation of His people; whoever breaks it would be breaker of the divine covenant, and would deny himself the membership of holy congregation. Let us then keep the true Sabbath, through accepting the Lord Christ, risen from the dead, as the secret of our true rest; Let us accept Him as risen from the dead, by keeping the Sabbath all our life, especially on the first day of the week; as the apostles used to get together on each Sunday, to practice the collective worship around the Sacrament of the Eucharist, as the object of their true rest. If the Lord Christ is the “Seventh Day” or the “True Sabbath”, in whom we were reconciled with the father by the blood of His cross; we, if we abide in Him, would carry His features in us, get filled with His righteousness, and become ourselves an object of rest, so become counted as a “Sabbath” or a “seventh day”. And as St. Augustine says: [We become ourselves, a seventh day, when we enjoy and get filled with God’s blessings and sanctification]. It is to be noticed that the Holy Book did not say about the seventh day, “So the evening and the morning were the seventh day”; and as said by St. Augustine: [We find no evening in the Sabbath, as our rest has no end]


The believer discovers the sweetness of the Old Testament every time the person of Christ, the Lord, appears before him, for He is the incarnated Word of God, the Human-Lover, the Savior, and the Source of joy, peace and eternal glory. The believers of the Old Testament used to focus their internal sight upon Him. Christ, the Lord, said: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day; and he saw it, and was glad” [John 8:56]; “Moses, in whom you trust… wrote of Me” [John 5:45-46]; “David then calls Him (calls Me) Lord” [Matthew 22:45]; “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” [Luke 4:21]. In His encounter with the two disciples of Emmaus, He spoke with them and “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” [Luke 24:27].


The Holy Book starts with the wondrous phrase: “In the beginning (Elohim) God created heaven and earth. And the earth was without form, and destruction; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” [Genesis 1:1-2]. This opening continues to shake the insides of the believer as it reveals the secret of God, the Entire Love. “In the beginning (Elohim) God created the heaven and the earth” [Genesis 1:1]. The word “Elohim” came in the plural form, while the verb “created” came in the singular form, because the Creator is the Holy Trinity that is One in His core, nature, and divinity. Moses reassured his people that God is the Creator, and thus denied the many myths that filled the world at that time regarding the issue of creation. He also denied the idea of some philosophers who proclaimed that the world was created by itself by mere chance. Why didn’t he mention the name of God in the singular form and let us get to know the Holy Trinity when we meet with Him face to face in heaven? He is not a solid being or an abstract thought; rather He holds within Him the secret of love, the eternal non-stopping movement of love among the Trinity! Nothing was added to God, who loves from eternity, when He created, because He was, still is, and always will be the life moving love that works all the time! This love was revealed when man was created, for God said: “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness” [Genesis 1:26].

The word ‘said’ came in the singular form, while the rest of the talk was in the plural form, for the Holy Trinity, in His love to man, wants him to be in their image after their likeness! He also revealed the role of the Holy Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters and created a good and beautiful world from the earth that was without form and void. To this day, the Holy Spirit remains dwelling in the water of the baptism to sanctify it and to make a new heaven and a new land out of man, who was putrefied by the sins that made out of him a land without form, void, unseen due to its lack of God’s shining upon it, and incomplete. He grants us the new birth in Him so that we would enjoy a sacred soul that is in the image of God, our Creator, and a sacred body, whose organs are God’s righteous mechanisms. The new creation is made through the water and the Spirit, just like the creation of the world as the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

St. Clement of Alexandria Regarding the expression “moved”, St. Basil said: [The Syrians believe that the Syrian language can give a better meaning of the word than the Hebrew, for it is translated as ‘embraced’; as if the Spirit was like a bird that embraces its eggs to grant them life through its warm being.] One of the symbols that came in the Book of Genesis is the tree of life in the midst of Paradise [Genesis 3:22], which refers to Christ, the LORD, who reveals His Kingdom inside the heart as a tree of life in the midst of Paradise, bringing joy to the Father as well as to our hearts. He is the tree that grants life to the entire world [John 3:36]

A collection of works from around the Ancient Church on the Sabbath Day

ALCUIN OF YORK. (Gen. 2:2). HOW IS IT CONSISTENT THAT WE READ IN GENESIS, “GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”, AND IN THE GOSPEL, “MY FATHER WORKS UNTIL NOW; AND I WORK” (JOHN 5:17)? — Answer. He rested from the making and creation of new creatures, not from his rule over the creatures made; and so God should be considered to have been then a creator in the six-day-long creation, and to be now a ruler over the whole world’s creatures. (Bed. in Pent., PL 91, col. 202. Bed. Hexm., PL 91, col. 36.) [Question 1]

WHAT IS MEANT BY “GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”? — Answer. If you divide the number seven into one and six, these will be the first two perfect numbers. Unity is perfect in itself in nature and power, while the number six is the first perfect one in work and action, and is completed by its own parts, because one, two, and three make six. So by the rest on the seventh day is signified the fact that God, before the creation of the world, is perfect in himself in nature and power, and eternally has rest in himself, while the creatures, having received the action of creation from him, have through him a certain perfection in their own natures and have rest in the work of obedience, and rational creatures are especially blessed with the good that consists in resting in their Maker. [Question 42]

(Gen. 2:3).WHY IS IT SAID ABOUT THE DAY OF SABBATH, “GOD BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT”, WHEREAS WE DO NOT READ THAT HE SAID THIS ABOUT THE OTHER DAYS? — Answer. In order to show the saints’ rest after the hardships of the six ages of this world, for they will rest in an eternal Sabbath and blessed rest, as in what he will say, “Come, you blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom” (Mt. 25:34). That is also why we do not read any mention of an evening for that day, because the last rest of the saints will be everlasting. [Questions and Answers on Genesis, 43]

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO. Scripture tells us that God rested on the seventh day from all his works, and as such he blessed and sanctified it. If we want to understand this mysterious rest, according to the scope of our intelligence supported by divine grace, let us begin to banish all carnal ideas from our minds. Is it possible without impiety to imagine and say that creation has cost God some work, when we see things come out of nothingness to His word, that execution follows the commandment, it is no longer a fatigue, even for man, without doubt, the word demanding that we strike the air, ends by to become a fatigue: but, when it comes to uttering a few words, like those that God makes in Scripture: fiat lux, fiat firmamentum, (let there be light, let there be a firmament) and so on, until the completion of creation on the seventh day there would be an extravagance too ridiculous to maintain that they weary, I do not say God, but a man.

Would it seem that fatigue consisted for God, not to give orders immediately executed, but to meditate deeply on the means of realizing his plans; that, freed from this preoccupation at the sight of the perfection of his works, he rested and willingly wished to bless, to sanctify the day when, for the first time, he had no longer to display so much attention? Such reasoning would be the height of unreason. Intelligence is in God infinite, unlimited, like power itself.

What idea should we stop? Should we not here see the rest which intelligent creatures, of which man is a part, after having attained their development, by the help of the Holy Spirit who spreads charity in our hearts (Rom. V, 3), and which are the most ardent desires must bring us to the center of happy rest where we will have nothing to desire? It is rightly said that God does all that we do by his help; likewise one rests in him, when repose is one of his benefactions. This idea is easy to conceive. If there is one truth easy to understand, it is because God rests, when he gives us rest, just as he knows, when he illuminates our intelligence…

We may find the explanation we have just given satisfactory, and according to which God has rested from all the works he has done with so much perfection, in so far as he will make us taste the rest to ourselves, when we have done our good works. But since we have begun to discuss this passage of Scripture, we are obliged to examine whether God was able to rest in himself, while admitting that rest is the pledge of the very repose we will one day taste in Him. Now God made heaven and earth and all that they contain, and he finished his works on the sixth day: far from granting us the power to create anything, it is by us that He finished, since he finished all his works, as Scripture says, on the sixth day. Similarly, we should not see the rest that God will make us taste in this passage of Scripture: “God rested the seventh day from all his works,” but the rest to which he gave himself, after having completed his creations. This method will reveal to us that all that has been written has been realized, and will then help us to grasp its metaphorical sense. Therefore, the discussion which brought to light that the works of God belonged only to Him, requires during the demonstration that his rest is, so to speak, personal.

Thus the most legitimate motive commits us to examine, to the extent of our strength, and to prove that the passage where God rested from His works, and those words of the Gospel uttered by the Creator Word himself: “My Father never ceases to act, and I also act,” (Jn. 5:17) offer no contradiction. He made this answer to those who complained that he did not observe the Sabbath, instituted from the beginning, according to Scripture, to recall the rest of God. It is likely that the observance of the Sabbath was prescribed to the Jews as a symbol of the spiritual rest that God promised, under the mysterious figure of his own rest, to the faithful who performed their good works. Jesus Christ himself, who suffered only when he liked it, confirmed by his grave the hidden meaning of this repose. For he rested in his tomb on the Sabbath day and made it a day of holy inactivity, after having completed the sixth day, that is, the day of preparation and the Sabbath eve, all his works on the gallows even of the cross. “All is consumed,” he exclaimed, and, bowing his head, he returned the spirit. Is it strange, then, that God rested the very day that Christ was to rest, to represent this event in advance? Is it strange that he rested a single day before developing this series of centuries that prove the truth of this word: “My Father does not stop working?”

One can still explain that God rested from having created the species of beings that fill the universe, in that he created no new species henceforth, while continuing to govern those which were then established. It should not be supposed that even on the seventh day his power gave up the government of the world and the beings it had created there: this inaction would have led to a universal upheaval. The power of the Creator, this infinite and all-embracing force, is the only cause that makes creatures subsistent: if this force withdrew from the world and no longer governed beings, even for a moment the development of species would stop and the whole of nature would collapse. For there is none of the universe as a building, which remains after the architect has abandoned it: it would not last a wink, if God ceased to govern it.

The word of the Lord: “My Father does not cease to act, therefore reveals to us this continuous creation by which God maintains and rules His works. The Lord is not content to say that his Father is acting now, which would not imply a permanent activity; he says he’s still acting today, since when? Obviously since the creation. Scripture says of divine wisdom that it extends its power from one end of the world to the other, and disposes everything with harmony; and elsewhere, that his movement has a speed, a speed incomparable (Wis. 7:24). For those who have the right mind, it is clear that Wisdom communicates to the beings that it arranges so harmoniously its incomparable movement, above all expression, and if we can thus speak, its immutable activity ; and that, if this movement ceased to animate nature, it would be annihilated immediately. The word that the Apostle addresses to the Athenians by preaching to them the true God: “It is in him that we have life, movement and being,” this word of a clarity that the human mind cannot push further, corroborates the opinion that makes us believe and say that God never stops acting in his creatures. In fact, we are not part of the divine substance, and we are not in him in the same way as he is in the life in himself; (Jn. 5:26) since we are distinct from God, we can be in him only as much as he acts in us. This activity consists in governing everything, in extending its power from one end of the world to the other, in arranging everything in harmony, and it is thanks to this order which is constantly maintained that we have in it the movement and life. Therefore, if God stopped animating the creature, we would no longer be the being, the movement and the life. It is evident, therefore, that God never ceased, even one day, to govern created beings, to prevent them from losing those movements which animate and preserve them with the properties and according to the laws of their species; and that they would be immediately annihilated -without this activity of the Divine Wisdom, which everywhere spreads order and harmony. Let us agree, then, that God rested from His works, insofar as He created no beings of a new kind, and not with a view to abandoning government and the maintenance of creation. Thus reconciles this double truth that God rested the seventh day and that he does not cease to act.

We can appreciate the excellence of God’s works: as for the joys of his rest, we will judge after having accomplished our good works. The Sabbath which he commanded the Jews to observe (Exod. XX, 8) was the symbol of this rest: but such was their carnal mind, that seeing the Lord working that day for our salvation, they made it a crime, and denatured the answer in which he spoke to them of the activity of his Father, with whom he governed the universe and worked our salvation. But from the moment that grace has been revealed; this observance of the Sabbath, represented by a day of rest, was no longer a law for the faithful. Under the reign of grace, the Sabbath is perpetual for him who does all his good works for the rest to come, and who does not boast of his deeds, as if he had the gift of a virtue that he may not have received. Not seeing in the Sabbath, that is to say, the resting of the Lord in his tomb, that the sacrament of Baptism, rests on his past life: walking in the ways of a new life (Rom. VI, 4), he recognizes the action exercised in him God, who all together acts and rests, governing the creature within an eternal tranquility.

As the human soul has the defect and the weakness to attach himself so keenly to his works, that he seeks rest rather than in himself, although the cause is necessarily superior to the effects, God teaches us by this passage of Scripture, that he composed none of his works with a pleasure capable of making us suppose that creation was for him a necessity, or that without it he would have had less grandeur and bliss. Indeed, every creature owes its being to it, but it owes its bliss to none; he trumped by a pure effect of his goodness: therefore he did not sanctify the day when he began his works, nor the one where he finished them, so that his happiness did not seem to increase the pleasure of the train and see them in their perfection; he has sanctified only the day when he rested from his works in himself. He never needed rest, but he revealed the benefit to us in the mystery of the seventh day; he taught us again that he was perfect for tasting it, for the very choice he made the day after the completion of universal creation. The being who enjoys absolute rest could rest only to teach us.

Notice that in revealing to us the rest which assures God of his bliss in himself, it was necessary to make us conceive in what capacity we say that God rests in ourselves: this word signifies that God assures us rest in himself. To give it a right definition, therefore, the rest of God implies that he lacks no good; therefore we are assured of finding rest in him, because the good which is essential to God is our happiness and his bliss is independent of the good that is in us. We represent some good indeed, since we are among the works he has done excellent. But no being is good apart from him, unless he has created it, and consequently he needs no good besides him, since he cannot need the good even that he created. This is what God’s rest is after the completion of his works. If he had not created anything, what good would he really miss? Whether he is resting from his works in himself, or creating nothing, he is none the less the absolute good. But if he had not been able to compose excellent works, he would have been powerless; if, in spite of his power, he had not wanted it, he would have been jealous of his being. As he joins the omnipotence to infinite goodness, he has made all his works excellent; and as he finds in him absolute goodness and perfect bliss, he has rested in himself from that rest from which he never left. Say he rested his works to do, we understand that he has never done anything. Say that he has not rested from his accomplished works, one will not understand so clearly that he has no need of his creatures.

But what day could better reveal the truth than the seventh? This is easily seen by recalling the properties of the number 6, the perfection of which served as a type for the perfection of divine works. Suppose that the creation was to be, as it was, modeled on the very order of the elements that make up the number 6, and that we wanted to reveal to ourselves the rest of God, in order to convince ourselves that the very creature even add nothing to his happiness: the day it was necessary to sanctify for this purpose was necessarily to follow the sixth in order to tear us away from life here below, and to inspire us with the desire to attain rest in the bosom of God.

There would be, in fact, a sacrilegious imitation of wanting to rest oneself in one’s own works, as God did after his own, we must rest only within the immutable good, and by consequent of our Creator. What, then, will be for us sovereign repose, foreign to pride, and conformable to true piety? To take a model on the God who, resting on his works, sought his happiness, not in his works, but in himself or the good that makes him happy, and consequently, to hope that we will find only in him peace in the wake of all our good works which are also his; it will be to aspire to this peace, as to a consequence of the acts of which we recognize the principle in God more than in us. In this way God will rest himself again from his works, since he will give us rest in his bosom following the good works that we will have accomplished by his grace. It is a noble prerogative to hold the existence of God: there will be more glory still in resting in him. Therefore, as creation adds nothing to the bliss of God and can do without it, he rested in himself rather than in his works; that is why he chose the day of rest and not one of the days used to create, to sanctify it: he revealed thus that his happiness consisted not in making the world, but in having no need for his creatures.

What is simpler to express, more sublime, and more difficult to conceive than the repose of God after the completion of his works? Could he find rest elsewhere than in himself, since he is happy only in himself? When could he taste it, if not always? For the time when his works, of which he distinguishes his rest, are finished, as a very different order of things, what day could he choose, except the one that succeeds the entire completion of creation, and consequently the seventh? The perfection of the works must indeed be the signal of rest for the being who does not find in the most perfect creatures any element of happiness.

The rest of God considered in himself counts neither morning nor evening, since he has neither beginning nor end; as for his works arrived at perfection, the morning is born for them without being followed of the evening. Indeed, the creature in its perfect form sees the beginning of the movement that brings it to rest in its Creator; but this movement towards perfection admits no limits, like those which contain the works of creation. As such, the divine rest begins, not for God, but for the creature, when it reaches its perfection: it is the moment when it begins to rest in the one who formed it, it is the morning. No doubt, considered in itself, it is likely to meet in the evening, or its natural limit; but, considered in its relations with God, it does not know at night, because she cannot go beyond the degree of perfection in which it has arrived.

In the period of days when beings were formed, the evening was for us the end of a creation, and the morning the signal of another. The evening of the fifth day ended the creation of the fifth day; the morning that followed it marked the beginning of the works of the sixth day; the evening has come again to close the creation. As there was nothing left to create, the morning appeared to serve as the beginning, not of a universal creation in its author, but of the repose of universal creation in its author. For heaven, earth and all that they contain, I mean bodies are spirits, do not subsist in themselves, they remain in Him who gives life, motion, and being (Act XVII, 28). Although each part may subsist in whatever it serves to form, the whole can only subsist in its principle. It is therefore natural to believe that, if the evening of the sixth day was followed in the morning, it was no longer to open a new order of creations, but to mark that all beings were commenting on establishing themselves in a durable equilibrium, thanks to the rest of their Creator. This rest has neither beginning nor end for God; for the creature, it begins, but admits no limit. This is how the seventh day begins for the creature in the morning, and does not end in the evening.

Do we want that in the six primitive days, the morning and the evening represent the same succession in time as today? I do not see why the seventh day has no evening and the next night, morning; nor why the scripture does not say according to its use: And the evening came, and in the morning is fulfilled the seventh day. For this day is part of this period of the seven days, which, being renewed unceasingly, form the duration of months, years, and centuries, and the morning succeeding the evening of the seventh day, would have been the beginning of the eighth, limit to which one had to stop, since the series starts again to form a new week. It is therefore more probable that the seven primitive days, in spite of the analogy of name and number, represent a revolution in time, quite different from the present revolution; they are explained by an inner revolution of beings of which we see no more example, and in which the words evening and morning, darkness and light, night and day mark a succession quite other than that which is measured by the course of the sun it is a point that must be recognized, at least for the three days that are counted before the creation of the stars.

Also, whatever the morning or the evening in this period, it would be a contradiction to see in the morning which succeeded the night of the sixth day, the beginning of the divine rest: it would be to lend to the eternal and immutable God, by an impious illusion, an accidental bliss. The rest which God tastes in himself, and which he finds in the absolute good which is his essence, cannot have for him either beginning or end, but begins with the creature who has arrived at his perfection. For every being, in fact, perfection comes less from the whole of which it is a part, than from the very author of the whole, the Creator is to him that he borrows according to the conveniences of his nature, the stability and equilibrium, in other words, the order assigned to it by its role in creation. Thus the universe, as it was completed at the end of the six days, changes its appearance according as one considers it in itself or in its relations with God. Without finding in himself, like God, his center of rest, he has stability and equilibrium only insofar as he is attached to him who does not seek, apart from his being, a goal to attain for his to rest there; for without leaving his being, God brings back to himself all that he has drawn from it. The creature thus retains in itself the limit which separates it from its Creator; but it is in him that she finds her resting place, and the principle which preserves her being. The word place which I have just used is undoubtedly improper, since it designates the space occupied by a body; but as bodies do not rest in their place, so long as they have been attracted by their gravity, it seemed natural to me to apply this expression to the spirits, by metaphor, although there is an abyss between these two ideas.

My opinion is, therefore, that the morning which succeeds the night of the sixth day, represents the first moment when the creature participates in the rest of the Creator. This moment, indeed, can exist for her only on the condition that she has attained her perfection: now, the creation having been completed on the sixth day, the evening is fulfilled; the morning then appeared, in order to mark the moment when the creature reaches its perfection, and begins to rest in the heart of its Creator. For the first time she finds in the absolute rest of God her relative rest, all the more certain, all the more durable, because if she needs God as a center, God does not need her. And as the creation, in spite of all the changes that are taking place in it, will never be a pure nothingness, it must remain forever attached to its Creator: this evil man thus opened forever and was not followed by the evening.

This, in my opinion, is how the seventh day, when God rested from all his works, began after the evening of the sixth day, on a morning to which no evening corresponded.

But we can give on the same subject a more literal and, in my opinion, more decisive explanation, although it is more difficult to explain; it would consist in saying that it was the rest of God, and not that of the creature, which had the signal this morning, to which the evening was never to succeed, in other words, which began to have no end. If we only say that God rested on the seventh day, without adding that it was after his works, we would be unable to see where this rest begins. For the rest for God has no date: without beginning as without end, it is eternal; and since he rested from all his works in the sense that he could do without them, it is conceivable that rest admits in God no term in which he begins and expires. It may be said, however, that the repose taken by him in consequence of his works coincides with the very completion of creation; for God would not have rested, before they were composed, of those works useless to his felicity, and whose perfection even he was indifferent to him: besides, as he never needed – of these works, and that the happiness which makes him independent of his creatures cannot grow, nor can it be terminated consequently, it is easy to understand why the seventh day had no evening which marked the end of it.

A question no less high, no less worthy of attention, is how God rested from all his works in himself, since the Scripture says, “God rested in the seventh day. She does not say that he rested in himself, but in the seventh day. How to define this seventh day should we see there a special creation or a space of time? But duration itself has been created, with beings that last: as such, it is a creation itself. There is no moment in time, present, past, future, which does not have God for cause: if therefore the seventh day is a period of time, God, the creator of time, can only have created it. Now, the Scripture has spoken to us previously of six days, as creations with or during which other creations are accomplished. Therefore, on these seven days, if we mean by these well-known days that flow without return and have with those who replace the name of common, the first six were created at times that we can determine: as for the seventh, called Sabbath, we cannot distinguish the time of its creation. Far from composing any work that day, God rested there from all that they had made. How, then, would he have chosen to rest, a day he would not have created? And how could he have created it immediately after the first six days, since he finished his works on the sixth day, since he created the seventh day and devoted it to rest? He confined himself to creating a first day, the others of which were only a reproduction in the long run, so that it would have been useless to create the seventh day, since it was only the first to be renewed. for the seventh time? He separated the light from the darkness, naming the other night one day (Gen, I, 3). Thus God made the day, and it is the renewal of the same duration that Scripture successively names second, third day, until the sixth when God finishes his works: the seventh is then only the reproduction of the first day for the seventh time. In this way, the seventh day is not a special creation; it is the renewal for the seventh time of the phenomenon that God produced when He called the light day and darkness night. [Literal Commentary on Genesis]

JEROME OF STRIDON. AND GOD FINISHED THE WORKS ON THE SIXTH DAY. — Instead of the sixth day, there is in Hebrew, ‘the seventh day’. We will press here the Jews, who pride themselves on the rest of the Sabbath; the Sabbath was abolished, since God works on that day, since he finishes his works there, since he blessed them on that same day, which is the day he completed the creation. [Hebrew Questions on Genesis]

JOHN CHRYSOSTOM OF CONSTANTINOPLE. (Gen. 2:1) And in the evening and in the morning was the sixth day: and as on that day God ceased to produce new creatures, so says Moses, Thus were the heavens, the earth, and all their ornaments finished. (Gen. II, 1.) What simplicity in these words! and as the Holy Scripture cuts off all vain and superfluous expression! It confines itself to stating that the whole of the creation was finished on the sixth day, and without repeating minute details, it contented itself with saying that heaven and earth were finished with all their ornaments; that is to say with all that they contain. Now, the ornaments of the earth are its various productions, the plants, the harvests, the fruit trees, and all the riches of which the Lord has deigned to embellish it. The ornaments of the sky are the sun, there moon, the variety of stars, and all the intermediate creatures. This is why Scripture here mentions only heaven and earth, because under these two elements it understands the whole of creation.

(Gen. 2:2-3) And God finished the sixth day all his work. The sacred writer repeats it here so that we know that the creation was fully accomplished in this space of six days. On the sixth day God completed all his work, and rested the seventh of all the works he had made. What does it mean that God rested on the seventh day from all the works he had done? Evidently the Scripture expresses itself in a human way, and is proportionate to our weakness. Without this condescension, it would have been impossible for us to understand his thought. “And God,” said she, “rested on the seventh day from all the works which he had made: that is to say, he stopped in the work of creation, and ceased to draw new creatures from nothingness. And indeed, he had produced all and every creature, and he had formed the man who was to enjoy it.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified him, because he had rested on that day from all the works that he had made. The Lord therefore ceased to create, because in the space of six days he had produced all the creatures to which his goodness destined existence. He rested on the seventh day, not wanting to create anything; for according to his designs the work of creation was finished. But in order that this seventh day should also have some prerogative, and that he should not be inferior to other days, since he was not to enlighten any new production, he deigned to bless him. And God, says the Scripture, blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it. What! Had not the other six days been blessed? No doubt they had been, since in each of them the Lord had produced different orders of creatures. This is why Scripture does not say not expressly that God blessed them, while she mentions here the blessing of the seventh day. And he sanctified it, she said again. What does this word mean: and he sanctified it? He tells us that God distinguished this day from all others; and Scripture tells us the reason, when it adds, “May God sanctify the seventh day, because in that day he rested from all the works that he had made.

Thus from the beginning a great mystery is revealed to us, and we learn to sanctify a day of the week by devoting it to the exercises of piety. This rest of the seventh day reminds us that God deigned to bless him after having completed in six days the whole of creation, and that he sanctified it because in that day he had rested from all the works he had made. But here thoughts are rushing, and I reproach myself for not communicating them to you. Camelles seems to me rich, and I want to share with you their wealth. And first, here is a first question. In Genesis, Moses tells us that God rested from His works, and in the Gospel Jesus Christ tells us: My Father always works, and so do I. (Gen. V, 17.) Does it not seem, at first glance, that there is here an obvious contradiction? But God forbid that Scripture be opposed to Scripture! When she tells us in Genesis that God rested from the works he had made, she teaches us that on the seventh day he ceased to create, and to draw new creatures from nothingness. When, on the contrary, Jesus Christ says to us: My Father always works, and so do I; he manifests to us the incessant action of Providence; and he calls action, or operation, that care which directs the universe, maintains it, and preserves it. Hey! How would it remain if the hand of the Lord ceased for a moment to sustain and lead men, animals, and the elements! For the rest, it suffices to reflect seriously on the blessings with which the Creator fills us every day, to recognize how immense is the abyss of his mercies. And to quote only one trait, what word and thought could express this ineffable kindness which, always generous to man, makes his sun shine on the good and on the wicked, which rains on the just and sinners, and who supplies abundantly to all their needs. [Homilies on Genesis]

 ORIGEN OF ALEXANDRIA. he ceased. Now we would say that neither does God the Word feel fatigue, nor any of those beings who belong to a better and diviner order of things, because the sensation of fatigue is peculiar to those who are in the body. [Contra Celsus, 6.61 ANF v. 4]



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