Studies in Genesis 2
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. (Genesis 2:1-3 ESV)
God has accomplished the unimaginable. Finite minds cannot comprehend the eternal work of God, who surrounds the universe and has intimate knowledge of every atom and molecule contained therein.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 ESV). He began his work of creation. Nothing existed except God prior to creation. There was no universe. Then there was. He created matter, ex nihilo, out of nothing. Every atom and particle of matter came into existence at the direction and authority of God. Our universe is a closed system. Nothing inside of it can get out of it and nothing outside of it can get in. Except for God, the Creator.
What God begins He finishes. God uses the word “finished” twice in these verses.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished.”
“God finished his work that he had done.”
“Finished” is a verb and is used 223 times. It is translated using a variety of English words in the King James version. It is also translated “consumed” or “consume” and “end” “fail” “done” “accomplished” “spent” “determined” and many other words. It can mean “consummated” “accomplished” “fulfilled” and “wasted away,” “exhausted,” “to come to an end,” “to perish” or “be destroyed.” What does God mean by describing what He has done with this word?
These are the first two instances of this word in the Scripture. Our tendency is to use all of the instances of the word to determine its meaning, with order and placement holding little account. Yet, this is the first time the word is used and God is using the word, twice, to describe what He has done. Perhaps we should give placement in Scripture more emphasis when seeking to understand the meaning of a word. Especially when the word is used by God in His description of Creation. He has not failed in His work but accomplished all He determined to do. He has not consumed anything but has brought all things into existence. His energy and resources are not spent because He cannot exhaust Himself. Does He finish creation to then simply destroy it?
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35 ESV). Jesus explicitly states there is an end to creation. That which has a physical beginning also has a physical ending. Yet, God did not created Man in His image for any to cease to exist.
Jesus also finished His work in tortured agony on the cross. “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished,’ and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30 ESV). “Finished” is an echo of what God has done in creation. There is no more to do because all He has determined to do has been accomplished.
There is a physical end to the physical universe. There is a physical death to that which lives in the physical universe. Jesus was raised from physical death to spiritual life. So, those who are His, when they physically die are raised to eternal spiritual life. A physical end to the physical universe does not mean the end of existence.
God finishes that which He begins and that which He accomplishes carries the eternal, unmistakably vibrant mark of God.