The phrase “evening and morning” in Genesis chapter 1

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Sometimes we’re asked the following question:

“In Genesis 1 all the days are concluded with the following words: “and it was evening and morning the first day… and it was evening and the morning the second day…etc.” This statement was omitted following the seventh day in Genesis 2. Doesn’t this prove that the seventh day rest was meant to continue on forever?”

Before answering the question as to “why” this phrase is missing, let us first consider the following facts:

First: The word Sabbath means “rest” from works, and before his fall, Adam had plenty of work to do in the garden (Genesis 1:28; 2:15; 2:19-20). So the Sabbath day couldn’t of have been made to continue on forever, since Adam had work that needed to be done. Note that this “work” which Adam needed to perform was continuals. Not because he had to work without resting (since God had the Sabbath instituted before he gave Adam work to do -Genesis 2:1-3) but because when God told Adam to work in Genesis 2:15, he says to “dress” it, which in Hebrew means to serve, till and work, and he also said to “keep” it, in Hebrew meaning to guard, protect and attend to. These jobs are works that need to be done continually, not because the Garden of Eden would spoil, but because God commanded him to perform these duties.

Second: The word “day” used for the previous six days, meaning “morning and evening” or “sunset to sunset,” is the same hebrew word used for the seventh day Sabbath (Genesis 2:2, 3). This Hebrew word is “yom” and since this word is also used for the days before, and they have an ending point, then the seventh day which uses the same word must logically also have an ending point.

Third: Besides the Hebrew word yom, the words, “and God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” also teaches that the seventh day had an ending point. The word “sanctified” means to be “clean” and “set apart for holy use” as indicated in your dictionary and Hebrew concordance. The phrase “evening and morning” indicates that that perticular day is “set apart” from the following day, otherwise they would both be the same. Therefore the word “sanctified” can parallel the phrase “evening and morning” and offer up more evidance that the seventh day was also a 24 hour period as were the previous days.

Fourth: Notice this verse in the first chapter of Genesis…

Genesis 1:14
(14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

The “lights of the firmament,” the sun, moon and stars, were created so that man can be able to read “days.” This was done on the “fourth” day. After man sinned, these time-telling elements did not cease to exist. If therefore they were established to tell “time” and “days,” and their existence continued on through the creation of man until today, then obviously the bible does not really have to mention “days” after man sinned, for the existence of “days” is already implied through the testimony of these elements. This shows that the seventh day could not possibly have been created to be an unending day of rest, and that therefore it must have always been a 24-hour day, for these heavenly elements, which were created to read “days,” existed even while Adam was in perfect harmony with his creator.

Fifth: If this idea were true, then we must allow it to lead us to its logical conclusion. If the seventh day were in fact an eternal rest, then that would logically mean that there were no more “days” after the creation of the seventh day. And if there were no days, then there was no “weekly” cycle either. But if this were true, why then do we find the mention of “days” in the Garden before they sinned?

Genesis 2:17
(17) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 3:5
(5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

If adam and Eve did not experience a weekly cycle, but rather an eternal day of rest, why did God bother telling them that “in the day in which thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die?” They would not have even understood what God meant!

You might argue, “well, whats eternal is the rest, not the day.” No no, let’s read the verse carefully, it specifically says that the seventh day is a day!

Genesis 2:3
(3) 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.

The “rest” is to intimately connected with the “day.” It is a “day of rest” not a “day with rest.” It is because he rested that he sanctified the day! This argument simply just does not work.

Sixth: Every passage in the bible, which speaks about the creation-seventh day, regards it as an original day. Here are some examples: Exodus 20:11, Mark 2:27 and Hebrews 4:4. We realize that these are post-fall passages, but if the seventh day was originally meant to continue forever, we feel there would have at least be one passage in all the bible that could make this notion clear to us. Unfortunatly, all one can do is read into a verse something that is not really there.

In light of the above facts, let the reader understand that the simple reason why this phrase is missing, is because the focus is not on man, but on God:

Genesis 1:1-31
(1) In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth…
(3) And God said
(4) And God saw
(5) And God called
(6) And God said
(7) And God made
(8) And God called
(9) And God said
(10) And God called
(11) And God said
(14) And God said
(28) And God blessed them…
(31) And God saw everything…

Genesis 2:2-3
(2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made, and rested from all his work which he has made.
(3) And God blessed the seventh day, and God blessed it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which he has created and made.

When God entered into the sabbath rest, he did not afterwards proceed with his work of creating things. He’s still rested from creating. Hence the reason for the missing phrase “evening and morning.” The emphesis is on God, and not man. The commandment is to work six days and rest the seventh, not just to rest the seventh. Adam and Eve did not work the first six days because they were created on the sixth day. God was the one who work, therefore God is the one who must rest the seventh day. As soon as man was created he was given work to do (Genesis 2:15). The seventh day that he was to keep therefore was the following one.

We must understand that God is not in the sphere of time. He is outside of time, living far above the “time telling elements.” Therefore he is constantly in his rest. Man, however, is subject to “time.” Adam and Eve were, as we are, living through a seven day cycle. Although the Sabbath was made “for man,” the first Sabbath… was God’s.

-For more on this, see:

Sabbath in Genesis
Who Kept the Sabbath?
Hebrews 3 and 4: Does today replace the Seventh day?


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About The Author

Edwin Cotto

With over 13 years of experience in apologetics, evangelism and youth directing, Edwin has worked with various ministries both in English and Spanish. Having had the opportunity to travel to various states in the USA, and also to Venezuela and Mexico, he has enjoyed the privilege of conducting evangelistic meetings and apologetics seminars. His education includes training in the Medical Field, Adult Education at Valencia College, Biblical Hebrew with the Israel Institute of Biblical Studies, and Evangelism with Amazing Facts Center of Evangelism. He is furthering his academic studies in theology while also working as a bible worker for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. Ordained as an elder, Edwin's passion for ministry begins first at home with his wife and kids.

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