Did God Tell Adam and Eve to Keep the Sabbath?
So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested[a] from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT
In just the last couple of years I have heard an argument against Sabbath keeping that I have never heard before, but I have heard it three times now so I thought maybe we should take a look at it. The argument is that while God created the Sabbath at creation He never told anyone to keep it until He gave the Sabbath to the Jews only when He gave the ten commandments. The claim is that God never told Adam and Eve to keep the Sabbath and never intended for them or anyone else except the Jews to keep it until the Sabbath was done away with at the cross. Is that true? Like I said, I had never heard this argument until recently, but here are some things I think we should consider.
God declared it Holy, which means He set the day apart from secular use. When you declare something you do not declare it to yourself. Declarations are public. Adam and Eve surely were aware of this declaration.
Before the commandments were written on stone at Sinai there was documentation of a knowledge of God’s law. The purpose of the New Covenant is to restore things to their original setting before sin. With the New Covenant the law is written in our hearts. I believe it was to be written on Adam and Eve’s hearts. The Sabbath was given more as a gift than a command. When a married couple have a weekly date night is that a gift or a command? If they are in love with each other I would say its a gift. 1 John 3:4 tells us sin is break the commandments. While the commandment to not commit murder was yet to be written in stone it was to be written in the heart in the beginning. When Cain killed Abel God called it sin, which is breaking the law. See Genesis 4:17. In Genesis 26:5 God says Abraham regarded His laws and commandments. In Genesis 39:9 while there was no commandment written on stone saying not to commit adultery and Joseph was not living in the land of the Jews he still recognized even in Egypt sleeping with another man’s wife was sin. In Exodus 16 God tests the Jews to see if they would keep his Sabbath and His commandments even though they were not written on stone yet.
The Sabbath commandment in Exodus 20:8-11 starts with the word “Remember.” Many Sabbath keepers remind their friends it is the one commandment that begins with “remember” and is the one commandment most of the Christian world forgot. While this is true, I believe God was reminding them of the Sabbath they were given back at creation. Exodus 20:11 clearly links the Sabbath in the commandment with the Sabbath given at creation. I have heard it said that God only gave the Jews the Sabbath to celebrate their deliverance from Egyptian bondage and was only a rest from their slavery days. If that is so then why does Exodus 20:11 link it to creation?
In Mark 2:27 Jesus says the Sabbath was made for man, meaning mankind. He did not single out the Jews. He never used the term “Jewish Sabbath.” At creation before there was ever a Jew God declared the Sabbath Holy. In Isaiah 66:23 in the new earth all flesh will continue keeping the Sabbath. This tells me the weekly Sabbath is an eternal gift of rest.
In the universe we have the sun to mark a year. We have the moon to mark a month and the earth’s rotation to mark a day. But what in the universe do we have to mark a literal 7 day week? Only one place. The creation story in Genesis ending with a literal 24 hour 7th -day Sabbath. Since it is not recorded saying “The evening and the morning were the 7th day” like it does the other days of creation that some have supposed that it was just a symbolic Sabbath rest that was to rest for all eternity. This idea contradicts the Sabbath command to work six days and rest the seventh. This idea would also do away with the weekly Sabbath. If the Sabbath never ended then we don’t have a cycle for a literal seven day week ending with a literal 7th-day Sabbath. If the creation Sabbath had never been forgotten atheism and evolution’s idea of millions of years of creation would never have stood a chance of acceptance.
If the Sabbath was never given to Adam and Eve and was only intended for the Jews up until the cross, then why did Constantine think to change the Sabbath to Sunday in March of 321? How do you change something that no longer exists? If the Sabbath was only for the Jews and done away with at the cross why was this not common knowledge to the Catholic universal church 300 years after the cross? If God never gave Adam and Eve the Sabbath as a gift, why am I just now hearing of this in the last couple of years 6,000 years after creation?
Those are a few of my thoughts on the argument claiming God never told Adam and Eve to keep the Sabbath and that it was only given to Jews at Mt. Sinai. What are your thoughts?
You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here.