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Evolution and Creation. Where did we come from? How did we get here? What is life all about?

Why did God need to rest?

Postby Crimson » Sun Jul 30, 2023 3:14 pm

Why did God need to rest after creation?

This is a argument commonly used by atheists that are making fun of God and I want to know how a Christian would respond to that. I'm not a very intellectual person so pardon me if the question seems dumb.

Re: Why did God need to rest?

Postby jimwalton » Fri Sep 01, 2023 4:25 pm

In the ancient Near East, when they dedicated a temple, they consistently and almost inevitably used a 7-day dedication ceremony, after which the deity would come and "rest" in the temple, meaning that he would take up residence there, to engage with his people, do his work as a deity, and be their god. It was a time of celebration because the deity was no longer "remote," but present and involved.

Isa. 66.1-2 (as well as Ps. 132.13-14; Ex. 40.34-35; Ps. 78.69) lets us know that God perceives creation as his temple. Genesis 1, then, is a temple text explaining the dedication ceremony of God bringing order to his temple so he can take up residence in it. Notice the elements of creation (Gn. 1) that correspond to elements of the temple in Jerusalem:

  • The luminaries from day 4 suggest the lamps in the temple]
  • Rivers flowing from Eden: the temple description in Ezk. 47.1
  • When people are assigned their function in Gn. 2.15, priestly terms are used

Genesis 1 is written as a 7-day temple dedication text, and on the 7th day God comes to take up residence in his temple, interact with his priest and priestess (Adam & Eve), engage the world with his involvement, and be present with his people. It isn't at all about him taking a break and disengaging—exactly the opposite. The 7th day is blessed and sanctified as the day that God "rested" from his work: the cosmos was ordered to serve as his temple, and he took up his residence in it, enthroned in his temple that He Himself has made.

"Rest" isn't God copping out, but instead engaging with the system and exercising control over it. His rest is His rule. He has taken the cosmos and made it His home. God has made the Earth, yes, but He lives here too (like a Bed and Breakfast). He "rested" because He was no longer bringing order the cosmos, but living actively in it.

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