The book of “The Beginnings,” the Genesis begins with a seven-day creation narrative. Other ancient accounts of creation are full of figurative and ornate expressions, but the Jewish narrative is lacking such ornate phrases. For ancient people, both Jews and non-Jews, the concept of creation was more a concept of transformation. For them, before creation there existed what the modern science refers to as “chaos.” For ancient people, before the creation, there existed a malevolent force of darkness and water. For people living in ancient Near East, to say that a deity transformed darkness and the water into a habitable place was the highest praise possible offered to any a god.
The Hebrew narrative of the creation week is short and mostly to a point. The primary aim of the Hebrew narrative is to call the readers’ attention to One and the Only God; the God who is awesome, sovereign, and infinite in power and knowledge. This aim is backed-up by research in quantum cosmology. Our current knowledge about our universe implies that not only did the Creator see the entire history of the universe before the creation, but He also knew every thought the humankind will collectively think forever. The biblical narrative of creation assures its readers that the awesome and great God, the Creator, cares about His creation. Other ancient accounts could not make such a claim.
The ultimate aim of the biblical narrative of creation is not to provide an accurate historical and chronological account of mechanics of the creation, but to present its readers the awe-inspiring majesty of God who possesses all knowledge and inviolate sovereignty. God of the Hebrew narrative is unquestionably the ruler of everything, and only He deserves the utmost praise. It would be beneficial if the modern-day readers of the Genesis narrative would do so with the aim to answer the question “Who created it all”; not “How did the Creator do it”?
There is another, somewhat subtle departure in the Genesis narrative from other ancient stories of creation. In the Genesis narrative, the Creator performed His creative acts in six days. On the seventh day, He concluded all His creative work, and He rested or ceased all creative activity concerning this planet and life on it. He was not tired; He rested because the creation was finished and was good. There was no need to add, delete, or repair anything. Each of the six days of creation is identified by “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day,” and so on to the sixth day. However, the creation narrative does not say “And there was evening, and there was morning – the seventh day,” why? The Creator established the seventh day as a memorial to His rest; which is forever! Much later, in instructing how to observe the seventh day ceremonially, God ordered it to be kept from the Friday sunset to the Saturday sunset. However, this instruction did not nullify or change the fact that God’s rest is every day and forever. This concept of rest is essential for the believers. For our salvation, we are to rest in the Lord every day and forever. Our physical rest could neither be every day forever nor is the physical rest needed for the salvation of sinners. The memorial to God’s rest is observed on the seventh day only, but our salvation rest never ends