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The curious features of day 7.

Genesis 2:1–3

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

There are two unique things about the seventh day: it doesn’t have an evening and a morning, and it’s declared holy instead of just good or very good.

Some commentators conclude from the lack of an evening and morning that the seventh day isn’t over. This is a puzzle because many of the things God does now (like answer prayer) bear a striking resemblance to work. Getting crucified doesn’t sound particularly restful either.

Conversely, Psalm 95:11, which is quoted twice in Hebrews, indicates that God’s rest is ongoing.

Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”

This hints that “my rest” means Heaven. That fits well with the seventh day being declared holy. Holy means more than good; it means separated unto God. Heaven is about as holy as it gets. It must be separated in some way.

It’s widely understood that Heaven (AKA eternity) is outside of time. Hmmm. This might just be the answer to the puzzle. We’re not living in the seventh day because we’re still inside of time. We’re seeing everything from our temporal point of view.

Heaven is something else.

It’s fun to think about what Heaven is like—as long as we don’t take our imaginings too seriously. As always, a main goal of these exercises is to awe and humble us.

Many common views of Heaven and Hell are so unbiblical that they should be shot down immediately. Even the best descriptions of Heaven and Hell are inaccurate. No need to focus on the worst ones.

First on that list is the view that the devil and his minions run Hell. They will not be the torturers in Hell; they’ll be the torturees. The Bible does show them occasionally being allowed to do mischief in this world (e.g. in Job) but that’s all. Their future is totally bleak.

So. for example, the view of Hell portrayed in “The Screwtape Letters” by CS Lewis isn’t serious. It’s one of the all-time great Christian classics because of its portrayal of people, not Hell.

Similarly, there’s no Biblical support for the idea that Heaven is us lounging on clouds playing harps. And St. Peter quizzing folks at “The Pearly Gates” is great for jokes but not anything else.

One portrayal I absolutely recommend is in “The Great Divorce” by CS Lewis. Read it for the first time and you’ll be stunned by how different and mind-stretching its portrayal of Heaven and Hell is.

It’s quite humbling, which is kind-of the point.

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These weekday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. Saturdays' by Matt Richardson. Subscribe here:

The weekly study guides, which include questions for discussion or meditation, are here:

Scripture taken from the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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