Most of us have read through the creative narrative more than once and have more than likely drawn various conclusions, arrived at theories, or have embraced various ideologies based upon the various dynamics discussed. The Book of Genesis, as it stands to reason, is perhaps one of the single most important books in the Word of God.
Practically, every conceivable doctrine presented in the New Testament is found either directly or indirectly in the book of Genesis. Faith, sacrifice, obedience, holiness, covenant, and separation are only but a few which could be mentioned. Because of this it is rather foolish to not invest an in-depth amount of time to the first book of our Holy Writ. The pages of Genesis deserve more than just a surface level perusal, but rather they deserve the search of a treasure hunter willing to scale the heights, plumb the depths, and brave the unknown in order to find his treasure.
One such treasure that we will set out to understand is a concept we know as the “Sabbath.” At surface level, what appears to be but a trivial speck of gold, is actually (if you get past a layer or two) a vein which broadens and branches out through the foundational rock of the Word of God. It is a concept which is rich with meaning, full of promise, and sadly, overlooked by so many today.
Genesis 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2 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 made.
3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
By the time we reach chapter two of Genesis we have gone through an amazing narrative of the first chapter that is rich with first mentions and various concepts the mind can hardly fathom. At the center of the first chapter of Genesis is an introduction to God (Elohim). However, a further look reveals that of the 35 times that Elohim is used it is always used as the subject of a verb. This is important because we are introduced in the first chapter to the concept of an Active Elohim. That is our first impression, introduction, and revelation of Who God is.
God created, God moved, God said, God saw, God divided, God called, God made, God set, God blessed; all of these are an Active God (Elohim) creating out of nothing (ex nihilo).
Throughout the continuing narrative of creation we are continually introduced to a creative constant. This constant was revealed in verses 10, 12, 18, 21, and 25 and then emphasized in God’s summation of everything He had created (vs. 31). The phrase used five times was, “it was good,” and in the summation, “it was very good.” Each day’s “activity” resulted in something which went beyond God declaring His creation “good” in the sense of pleasing to Himself, but rather it was the Judge declaring the condition, state, or quality of what He had created. In the phrase, “it was good,” we are introduced to a judgment of value.
What I mean by this is that in the context of creation we understand that nothing God is creating is “bad.” God doesn’t create anything “bad.” Thus, by interpreting the “good” that God proclaims over His creation as the opposite of bad we miss the crucial point of what God was doing. When God declared, “It is good,” He was placing a “value of estimation” upon that which He has created. What was created was good in the sense of “profitable.” It was like God “appraising” the value of His creation.
Zechariah 11:12-13 (KJV)
12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
The prophet Zechariah, dealing with a Messianic prophecy, reveals a powerful understanding which this treatise is not going to delve into. However, the concept of “valuable estimation” in association with “good” is shown. “If you see (the word, “think:`ayin” is actually “eye”) good…then put a price on it. What is the “value of what you see if it is good?” Go back to Genesis and scripture tells us that God “saw” that it was “good.”
This is even seen in the New Testament, although with Greek verbiage. Scripture tells us of a man seeking “goodly pearls.” Then the Bible tells us the man found “one pearl of great price.” The word price “polutimos” is a Greek word which means “very valuable.” Thus the “goodly pearls” this man was seeking was tied to the “value of estimation.” It was tied to worth and ultimately profitableness.
Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV)
45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Likewise we are introduced to “good” in relation to the value of a servant based upon profitability and usefulness. The other parable Jesus uses deals with three servants which were given talents for the purpose of “using and increasing” what they had been given.
Matthew 25:14-21 (KJV)
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
The “value” of the servant was based upon his usefulness and profitability. This was the defining dynamic which caused him to be declared “good.” Notice then the exact opposite of this in the “unfaithful servant.”
Matthew 25:26 (KJV)
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
The most accurate translation of the word “wicked” in the context being used is “bad in nature or condition.” It’s like the “good fruit” and the “bad fruit” of Matthew 7:17-18. All of these instances come down to “profitable for use” and thus are valued based upon the estimation of their condition in the context of output and increase.
Thus God appraised His creation at the end and behold (Hebrew particle of limitation) ….VERY good. In the Hebrew there is no past tense reference as we see in our English Bible declaring “it was” very good. God declares all of creation in its present state and condition and places upon it a “value of estimation” and calls it “very good.” The word “very” (Heb. me’ōd) signifies “much, abundance, exceedingly.”
Creation at the point of completion was a responsive and unhindered world. The blessings of God and the subsequent commands of fruitfulness were set in motion. The cosmos at this point was abundantly valuable and profitable. This then picks up with chapter two, completing the train of thought from chapter one, then launching us into the final and seventh day.
End of part 1