Bible Study Guides – The Sabbath in Eden

October 1, 2006 – October 7, 2006

Key Text

“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.” Genesis 2:2.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 47–51.


“After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

“Blessed [is] the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight [is] in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly [are] not so: but [are] like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” Psalm 1.

1 According to the creation story as recorded in the Bible, in how many days did God create the earth and all the life in it?

2 Were the days of creation literal days as we know them now? Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; Psalm 33:6, 9.

note: “The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record declares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 112.

“Inferences erroneously drawn from facts observed in nature have, however, led to supposed conflict between science and revelation; and in the effort to restore harmony, interpretations of Scripture have been adopted that undermine and destroy the force of the word of God. Geology has been thought to contradict the literal interpretation of the Mosaic record of the creation. Millions of years, it is claimed, were required for the evolution of the earth from chaos; and in order to accommodate the Bible to this supposed revelation of science, the days of creation are assumed to have been vast, indefinite periods, covering thousands or even millions of years.

“Such a conclusion is wholly uncalled for. The Bible record is in harmony with itself and with the teaching of nature. Of the first day employed in the work of creation is given the record, ‘The evening and the morning were the first day.’ Genesis 1:5. And the same in substance is said of each of the first six days of creation week. Each of these periods Inspiration declares to have been a day consisting of evening and morning, like every other day since that time. In regard to the work of creation itself the divine testimony is, ‘He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.’ Psalm 33:9. With Him who could thus call into existence unnumbered worlds, how long a time would be required for the evolution of the earth from chaos? In order to account for His works, must we do violence to His word?” Education, 128, 129.

3 What did God do on the seventh day of creation? Genesis 2:1, 2.

note: “The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth; He had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty and had filled it with things useful to man; He had created all the wonders of the land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had been accomplished. And God ‘rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. 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.’ [Genesis 2:2, 3.] God looked with satisfaction upon the work of His hands. All was perfect, worthy of its divine Author, and He rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased with the fruits of His wisdom and goodness and the manifestations of His glory.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

4 What does it mean when the Bible records that God sanctified the seventh day? Leviticus 20:7.

note: “Because He had rested upon the Sabbath, ‘God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it,’—set it apart to a holy use. He gave it to Adam as a day of rest. It was a memorial of the work of creation, and thus a sign of God’s power and His love. The Scripture says, ‘He hath made His wonderful works to be remembered.’ ‘The things that are made,’ declare ‘the invisible things of Him since the creation of the world,’ ‘even His everlasting power and divinity.’ Genesis 2:3; Psalm 111:4; Romans 1:20, R. V.” The Desire of Ages, 281.

“After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God’s great work of creation; and that as he should behold the evidences of God’s wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled with love and reverence for his Maker.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 47.

5 Of what was the Sabbath intended to remind us? Exodus 20:11; 31:16, 17.

note: “In Eden, God set up the memorial of His work of creation, in placing His blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was committed to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledgment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that God was their Creator and their rightful Sovereign; that they were the work of His hands and the subjects of His authority. Thus the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy or of restricted application to any people.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48.

“When God created the earth and placed man upon it, he divided time into seven periods. Six he gave to man for his own use, to employ in secular business; one he reserved for himself. Having rested on the seventh day, he blessed and sanctified it. Henceforth, the seventh day was to be regarded as the Lord’s rest-day, and to be sacredly observed as the memorial of his creative work. It was not the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth day that was sanctified, or set apart to a holy use, neither was it a seventh part of time and no day in particular; but it was the seventh day, the day upon which God had rested. We are every day to think of God and live as in his sight; but when the six days’ work is done, we are to ‘remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy,’ [Exodus 20:8]—to cease from labor and devote the day exclusively to meditation and worship.” The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

6 In reminding us of creation, how does the Sabbath point to redemption? Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:12.

note: “All things were created by the Son of God. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. . . . All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:1–3. And since the Sabbath is a memorial of the work of creation, it is a token of the love and power of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 281.

7 What work was given to Adam and Eve in the garden? Genesis 2:15.

note: “To Adam and Eve was committed the care of the garden, ‘to dress it and to keep it.’ Genesis 2:15. Though rich in all that the Owner of the universe could supply, they were not to be idle. Useful occupation was appointed them as a blessing, to strengthen the body, to expand the mind, and to develop the character.” Education, 21.

8 After working six days, how can we keep the Sabbath as Adam and Eve did?

note: “I [Ellen White] was shown that the law of God would stand fast forever, and exist in the new earth to all eternity. At the creation, when the foundations of the earth were laid, the sons of God looked with admiration upon the work of the Creator, and all the heavenly host shouted for joy. It was then that the foundation of the Sabbath was laid. At the close of the six days of creation, God rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made; and He blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it He had rested from all His work. The Sabbath was instituted in Eden before the fall, and was observed by Adam and Eve, and all the heavenly host. God rested on the seventh day, and blessed and hallowed it. I saw that the Sabbath never will be done away; but that the redeemed saints, and all the angelic host, will observe it in honor of the great Creator to all eternity.” Early Writings, 217.

“The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven’s work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds.” The Desire of Ages, 207.

9 When Adam and Eve sinned against the Lord, what sentence was pronounced upon them? Were they still to be engaged in labor? Genesis 3:23, 24.

note: “When the Lord placed our first parents in the garden of Eden, it was with the injunction that they ‘dress it’ and ‘keep it.’ [Genesis 2:15.] God had finished His work of creation, and had pronounced all things very good. Everything was adapted to the end for which it was made. While Adam and Eve obeyed God, their labors in the garden were a pleasure; the earth yielded of its abundance for their wants. But when man departed from his obedience to God, he was doomed to wrestle with the seeds of Satan’s sowing, and to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. Henceforth he must battle in toil and hardship against the power to which he had yielded his will.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 512, 513.

10 As a token of God’s love and care for Adam and Eve and all mankind, what remained for them to know Him? Ezekiel 20:20.

note: “The Sabbath was instituted in Eden and observed by our first parents before the fall. Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, and ate of the forbidden fruit, they were expelled from Eden; but they observed the Sabbath after their fall. They had experienced the bitter fruits of disobedience, and learned what every one who tramples upon God’s commands will sooner or later learn, that God means just what he says, and that he will surely punish the transgressor. Those who venture to lightly esteem the day upon which Jehovah rested, the day which he sanctified and blessed, the day which he has commanded to be kept holy, will yet know that all the precepts of his law are alike sacred, and that death is the penalty of the transgression.” The Signs of the Times, February 6, 1879.

Personal Review

A Memorial of Creation—“But when the claims of the Sabbath are presented, there are many who ask, What difference does it make what day we keep as the Sabbath, so long as we observe one day in seven? We answer, It makes all possible difference whether we obey or disregard the word of God. God has given us the Sabbath as a memorial of the great work of creation. He says: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work; . . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.’ [Exodus 20:8–11.] He declares through Moses, ‘It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever.’ [Exodus 31:17.] And the children of Israel include all who believe in Christ. For ‘if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed.’ [Galatians 3:29.] Again, by the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord says, ‘Hallow my Sabbaths; for they shall be a sign between me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’ [Ezekiel 20:20.] The Sabbath is a sign of God’s creative power; it shows him to be supreme, the Maker and Upholder of the universe, the One from whom we receive ‘life and breath and all things,’ [Acts 17:25] and hence the One to whom our allegiance is due.” The Signs of the Times, June 12, 1893.

Reconciled to God—“ ‘Wherefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.’ [Mark 2:28.] These words are full of instruction and comfort. Because the Sabbath was made for man, it is the Lord’s day. It belongs to Christ. For ‘all things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.’ John 1:3. Since He made all things, He made the Sabbath. By Him it was set apart as a memorial of the work of creation. It points to Him as both the Creator and the Sanctifier. It declares that He who created all things in heaven and in earth, and by whom all things hold together, is the head of the church, and that by His power we are reconciled to God.” The Desire of Ages, 288.

Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia, 2003.