August 14, 2006

And On the Eighth Day…

I’ve been reading through the Catholic Catechism lately and have found little nuggets of value scattered throughout. Here’s an example.

Under the section about the creation of the visible world the catechism speaks about how God created the world in six days. It goes on to describe the Sabbath rest that God instituted on the seventh day.

So far so good with the Protestant theology I was raised on. But then it goes on to talk about the eighth day! Here’s the quote:

“349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.”

This idea does fit quite nicely with the creation account in Genesis 1. Prior to God’s creation our lives are “formless and empty” with “darkness over the surface” of our hearts. But even in the midst of that hopelessness, the Spirit of God hovers around us.

What a beautiful way to think of the redemption – that God’s creative work has begun over again in the redemption of Jesus. Paul says as much when he tells us that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation ; the old has gone, the new has come!” Sunday represents the beginning of the new creation!

Perhaps this is what the writer of Hebrews was also hinting at when he said that “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience.”

Not only do we find on the eighth day a new creation for those who are in Christ, but we look forward to a final Sabbath rest together with God. But if the first creation started in the simplicity of ‘light vs. darkness’ and culminated in the complexity that is man and woman – body, soul, heart, spirit, mind, emotion, not to mention the relational aspects – then what do we have to look forward to on that day when we will all finally rest with God for eternity…?

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