If creation is unceasing, how are we to understand Genesis 2:1-3?

I only know enough about creatio ex nihilo and creatio continua to discuss them in general terms. As for “process theology,” I don’t even know enough to discuss it.

I completely agree with this point. That is, for the person who believes in progressive creation it is hard to find a meaningful dividing line between creatio originalis and creatio continua. However, for the person seeking to find out if progressive creation is true, I trust you can see that it would be putting the cart before the horse to say that any distinction between creatio originalis and creatio continua is superfluous.

I agree with the primary point being made here, too. To be specific, I do not think that Genesis 2:1-3 teaches that God alternates between activity and rest. Rather, I think it teaches that God ceased activity on the heavens-earth creation project, if we can call it that; and that He ceased it not because He was getting worn out but rather because He had completed the project. I do not see the text saying that He had nothing else to do with His time. On the contrary, I assume His project was like most of mine - seeming to require far more energy to maintain than to have created in the first place. To be very specific, I believe God’s “rest” spoken of in Genesis 2:1-3 to apply strictly to the unique foundational acts described in the preceding verses - not all divine activity.

You and I may be structurally inhibited from getting any closer than we are on this point simply because I think as a Protestant, tending to rely more on the Scriptures themselves than on doctrines derived from them. I recognize that EO’s and RC’s feel they are on firmer ground than I am, but I have to “dance with the one that brung me” to Christ.

It seems that we agree on many points, and the article I sited is Protestant (discusses Barth) - so unless you wish to continue, I will make this observation - I cannot comprehend where you find tension between the six-day account and the subsequent writing in Gen 2.

At the risk of prolonging a discussion I think both of us are ready to conclude, I must say that I do not understand this statement from you. In all this thread I have said nothing about any tension between the six-day account and the subsequent writing in Gen 2" so I cannot figure out what causes you to speak of it. My whole focus in this thread is on the tension I feel between Genesis 2:1-3 and creatio continua.

@Mike_Gantt I know you are thinking about this, but this does require a little clarification.

I brought up creatio continua for a specific reason. Not to subordinate Scripture to it, but to highlight that traditional interpretations of scripture and theology do have concepts consonant with the reading I take of Genesis. I, however, do not adopt these readings because of creatio continua, nor did I even know of creatio continua when I first understood Genesis

If you do not like creatio continua , but the reading I offered makes sense, that is great. That is all you need to resolve your key questions about evolution and the Bible.

You will probably hate process theology. It is not necessary to answer your questions. It’s probably a distraction.

Not fair @gbrooks9. @Mike_Gantt is clearly on an honest exploration. Do you really think he is close-minded? I think we have even seen him change is mind in this thread, and appears to only want an honest path to affirm evolution. Maybe he will find it, or maybe not. But talking about theology like this is supposed to be fun; and it has been with him.

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Thanks, I know you probably have a lot of comments to keep up with so I didn’t want to be pushy, but I appreciate your thoughtful response!

I don’t think this quote actually supports your position all that well, if we examine it. You would have to insist that by “all things in (the world)” it means God created it all before Gen 2:1, when in fact there are many easy examples of things in the world that ancient Hebrews would have known to be of more recent origin: plants, animals, humans and their souls, tools, houses, cities, etc.

The way it is clearest to think of it for me is that there is a progression that can be observed in the first six day of what kinds of things are being created. First are the large-scale but not as complex/close to us things (sea, sky, land) and then more remote/dissimilar (astronomical bodies) going towards things closer to us: fish, birds, land animals. It’s like zeroing in from a wide focus to a very specific one, only there’s more detail and intricacy the more you narrow in on humans. And God’s saying He didn’t continue to create even more advanced humans, or other beings more God-like. If He did not call creation finished, we would have to wonder what the next level of creating He would be doing was, as opposed to just more of the same kinds of things Genesis has already described him as creating.

I like the idea of the noosphere, that the realm of ideas is where we see the most continuing change and growth; but that is change and growth driven by humans, with input from God (and as you say, God gets final judgement) but God is not the sole driver anymore: He deliberately relinquished complete control over what people would say or do.

A lot of very interesting concepts to wonder about, to be sure! Sorry it took me a little longer than I hoped to get them written out in a hopefully sensible sequence!


Brings to mind this one: “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end!”

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My mistake in interpreting your comments; I will leave our discussion still unclear in my mind why you feel the tension. Nonetheless to my way of thinking, Gen 2:1-3 is in perfect accord with God creating and sustaining all that is. I have read G2:1-12 just to make sure, and if I were pedantic I would say the Genesis account as it is written states God continues His creative activity by creating the garden and placing Adam and Eve there - all of this activity is written down as after the six creation days and after the Sabbath.


Please re-read my sentence again. I went to the extraordinary measure of comparing “die-hard” Evolutionists guilty of the very same thing. I even did a little word-play with the word “designed” ! (It’s all fun and games until someone loses their designer glasses …)

I do not doubt Mike’s sincerity. But I do doubt his logic. But this is why I brought up Hume. Hume brilliantly points out that the great majority of humanity is made up of people who do not think like machines … they have beliefs and feelings … and those two things are pretty much in the driver seat!

I’m quite sure I’m guilty of the very same thing in my own adherence to Theism in general. I do not need any additional layerings of logic to feel comfortable with my decision. Nor does Mike.

Please see this post - - it discusses the very same thing:

Me: Why not go to the original Hebrew, if this is really important?

Going to what someone else says about the Hebrew in English is not going to the original Hebrew.

Strong’s Concordance is as close as I can get to the original Hebrew.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep…Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people…Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death…It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth”. (Exodus 31:12-17)

You see everyone, not only is it a figurative ‘6 days’, it’s also a figurative capital punishment, just like it’s a figurative death penalty in the following:

“The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10)

“If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

“If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal.” (Leviticus 20:15)


If this is a minimum wage position, rounding up everyone who works on the Sabbath, I’d be willing to start next week.

But wait … did you say this penalty is a figurative penalty ? So we just pretend to put them to death?

Exactly. If it’s a figurative, metaphorical, poetic, non-real…6 days, then logically why can’t we take the whole proscription against working on the Sabbath, a man sleeping with a man, animal…as figurative, metaphorical, poetic, non-real…whatever!!!

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Ron, what criteria do you use for determining whether something in the Bible is figurative? It is not always clear cut, but seems to be related to what your experience has been with similar writings. Any thoughts?

A seminary professor strongly (sorry for the pun I really didn’t mean it) suggested that you should never do a concordance word study. I go with comparing parallel translations or a good technical commentary. Also remember that if you are looking at a Strong’s you are really only looking at the various ways words were translated in just one translation. Not the way they might have been translated by other translators.

Like you, I compare parallel translations. I used to keep multiple translations on my bookshelf but there are websites these days, of course, that make it very time efficient to compare many translations at once. Also like you, I consult commentaries…especially those written by folks who have studied not just the Scriptures but comparative history and other relevant literature to give insight as to how the biblical authors’ words might have been understood in their day. My use of Strong’s combined with the robust cross references (which are idea-related not word-related) found in the NASB is the means to an end - the end being “letting Scripture interpret Scripture,” as they say. One key aspect of this approach, at least for me, is the concurrent application of the principle stated in 2 Cor 13:1 and elsewhere: Let two or three witnesses - not one - decide important matters. Therefore, when I see two or three scriptures lining up to the make the same point - especially when found in different parts of Scripture and independent of whether they employ precisely the same terms - I have much more confidence in the point than if I see it resident in only one place.

Would I like to be able to read the Scriptures directly in their original languages? Absolutely. It’s just not a practical option for me, and my hope is that the Holy Spirit does not altogether avoid me on account of such a limitation.

Through my interactions with others here, and particularly through my interaction with @GJDS here, I have come to realize that the conflict I see between Genesis 2:1-3 and creatio continua can also be understood, and stated, as a conflict between Genesis 2:1-3 and any form of progressive creation - if I am understanding progressive creation properly as God gradually creating over long periods of time (i.e. millions or billions of years instead of six 24-hour days).

Guys and gals, I’m out of here because you guys have zero % sense of humour When people bring to Genesis 1 and Exodus 31 pseudo-discussion of the form, ‘How many angels can fit on a pin head?’, rather then God’s elementary relevation of how and when, if you can’t get the basics accurate, then in the real world I inhabit we say, “You’ve lost the plot and have no right to preach”. Sad. Really, really sad.

I would add this - Gen 1 and 2 teach us that God’s Creation is a gift and not a necessity to God. The Bible is written to teach us within our obvious limitations, so Genesis must be read as it was written, and the entire biblical message is obtained for us from the entire Bible as the Word of God.

On progressive creation, like so many views nowadays, it is more a derivation from science and should be treated as such. Within such a framework, we would speak of God completing the creation as a transcendent being, and the entire creation (from beginning to the end) is known to Him and conforms to His will. Other expressions that seek to contradict this orthodoxy, are of an open system that is “tweaked from time to time”; our view is of a closed (completed) system, subject to God’s will, sustained by God, and the result of His energies.

Much has been written on the latter, but when all is said and done, Genesis accounts of creation are not in conflict - our debates inevitably result from attempts to include our limited scientific understanding into theological discussions…

I am incorporating the focus on this question into this question.

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