By Pastor Tedd Mathis
Did God create the universe in six literal days? Does it matter what we believe?
Yes. And, yes, it matters greatly that we believe it. It has everything to do with God’s glory and us worshipping Him rightly – in spirit and in truth. In this essay I am going to show how the Bible interconnects the six literal days of creation with how we are to live today for the glory of God.
First, Moses the author of Genesis uses words even I can understand! Six times in Genesis 1 (verses 5,8, 13, 19, 23, 31) evening and morning define the days in which God created the heavens and the earth. Humans universally understand that to mean a literal day. True, the word day or days can refer to lengthy periods of time, but to see day qualified with evening (dark) and morning (light) will be understood as a literal day.
Second, God’s 4th commandment to work six days and rest on the seventh was a loving command to rightly worship Him. Why? Because it mirrored His working six days and resting on the seventh (Exodus 20; Deuteronomy 5). Living according to this seven-day cycle imitates our Creator. Under the New Covenant, setting aside the seventh day, the last day of the week, is no longer required as it once was. However, it is impossible to get away from seven days. Since Christ’s resurrection on the first day of the week (Sunday) we now observe it as the Lord’s Day. We start our week remembering His resurrection and all that it means. For example: in His resurrected state, Jesus has been given all authority in heaven and on earth and all our existence and hope rest in Him (Matthew 28; Ephesians 1; Colossians 1, I Corinthians 15).
Think about it: In obeying His commission to go to all the nations and make disciples of Him, everywhere the message of Christ goes, sinners are taught to honor their Creator and Savior by living according to a seven-day cycle!
Third, the Sabbath Commandment restored right worship of the one true God. When sin came into the world through Adam, sinners turned away from honoring God according to the six days of Creation. They worshipped the creature not the Creator (Rom. 1). They worshipped the sun, moon, stars, rivers, animals, etc., not the all-powerful, all-knowing Creator who had brought all things into being in six days.
Fourth, God held people accountable in Enoch and Noah’s day for what He revealed in Creation. They did not have a Bible. Today, God holds people accountable for what He reveals in Creation and is revealed in the Bible.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1:20 (Genesis 6; I Peter 3:20; II Peter 2:5; Jude 14)
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” – Matthew 19:3-6, emphasis mine (see also, Hebrews 13:4; I Thess. 4:1-5; I Cor. 6:9-11).
Fifth, the proof that Jesus’s death was a sacrifice that accomplished the forgiveness of sins for all who believe was His being raised from the dead on the first day of the week.
He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification – Romans 4:25.
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. – John 20:21
Just as the Bible records the LORD God bringing into existence a real Adam and real Eve on the sixth day, so too the Bible records the God raising the real man Jesus from the dead on the first day of the week. (See Acts 2:22-36; see also Paul’s argument in Romans 5:12-17). Today, we are to set aside the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day because His resurrection on that day assures us of our future resurrection. See I Cor. 15; John 5; I Thess. 4:13-18; II Thess. 16-12; I John 3:1-3).
Finally, because Genesis 1 is the record from the only One present at creation. It is the LORD God’s eyewitness account given to Moses to write down. God has proven Himself to be trustworthy and unchanging. The man-humbling, yet rock-solid hope for sinners is that He has the first word, and He has the last. Let us believe Him and be saved and worship Him in spirit and in truth!
Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past. For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me —
Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure…’ – Isaiah 46:8-10