Exodus 20:11 interpretation

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

How do you interpret this and perhaps other passages that refer to creation?

Btw, a few weeks ago I made a post about Noah and never replied to the comments because I lost my phone lol. Sorry about that.

I would say that they are referring back to the earlier mentioned mythological Jewish creation account. Same as how people refer back to things like Herculeas when they say , “ you’re strong as herculeas” and so on.

The Torah contains the mythology of a origin story. It’s referred to several times throughout scripture.

Are you suggesting that by referring to something it means it’s literal?


I think you have to put yourself in the author’s shoes at the time that was written. Their concept of God was not well developed, they had no Bible, and their primary revelation of God was orally transmitted. They still thought of God in concrete terms, so having a day of rest was a natural and desirable.


I like your example, thanks.

Good point, thanks.

I think it is important to note that Exodus 20:11 well as Exodus 31:17 are direct quotes from God, see Exodus 20:1 and Exodus 31:12-13. They aren’t Moses’ words, but God’s words, if the Bible is to be believed.

The “author” of these particular words when they were written was God, who wrote these particular words on the tablets of stone, no?

No. Most likely it was Moses who wrote them. Even if God did, it does not undermine the principles applied to using language within a worldview understandable by those it was intended for.

Good point, but it says the Lord spoke the words, not wrote them. That verse sounds like commentary unless God has started talking about himself in the third person. Also, the first written scripture is at least a step removed from the tablets, and our copy many steps removed from that.

1 Like

What’s your epistemology Aidan? How do you know what you know? Does the supernatural have a role?

Reading Exodus 20:11 to mean an insistence on six literal 24 hour days of Earth time is (a) taking it out of context, (b) missing the point, and (c) placing ourselves rather than God at the centre of the universe. The point of Exodus 20:11 merely uses the days of creation in Genesis 1 are a schematic, or a blueprint, for the working week. Nothing more, nothing less.

In any case, the days of Genesis 1 can’t refer to literal 24 hour days, because Genesis 1 talks about things on a cosmological scale rather than on a geocentric scale. Even within the Solar System there is no fixed concept of how long a day is. It may be 24 hours on Earth, but it’s 28 days on the moon, 10½ hours on Saturn, and 243 Earth days on Venus. Even on Earth, the idea of “evening and morning” breaks down when you start to consider time zones.

And then of course we have 2 Peter 3:8 and Psalm 90:4. Nothing to lose sleep over here.


I think most likely it was NOT Moses - but some editor hundreds of years later.


Symbolic story set within 7 days to emphasise worship and the Sabbath as a day of rest.

In Genesis 1 the cosmology is geocentric.

This topic was automatically closed 6 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.