Genesis 2:2 ESV

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.

ויכל אלהים ביום השביעי מלאכתו אשר עשה וישבת ביום השביעי מכל־מלאכתו אשר עשה

The phrase from all His work begins with the preposition מ which is translated, "from." Since works is מלאכת, a noun, God rested from all His work suggests on the seventh day God was separated from His works.

מ is sometimes translated as "among" or "with." In that case, God's rest on the seventh day would be among, or with His works. Since the period of creation was seven days and everything was very good, it strikes me His rest would more likely have been with, rather than separated from His works.

Is God's rest on the seventh day better understood as being with His works?

  • 1
    The New Testament references make it clear that the rest is from works. He 'ceased from' his work'. Hebrews 4:10. And those of faith are advised to do so also, ceasing from works and believing, in faith, in God himself.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 10:59
  • @NigelJ 1) The NT also instructs the redeemed to enter into God's rest and to draw near to Him. 2) The preposition ἀπὸ is used in describing genealogy (eg. Matthew 1:17). The generations are from Abraham, the source. Despite his physical death, subsequent generations are considered to be from Abraham. So my question is, is the Living God separated from His creation during the time of creation? Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 15:36
  • The Living God is not a part of his own creation. Therefore he is not 'separated' from it, for his dwelling place is in the heaven of heavens, not the heavens themselves. And certainly not the earth. He is the eternal, the uncreated. Having made it all, he rested. He 'ceased from his works'. It is the works he rests from, not the substance created by those works.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 5, 2022 at 18:04
  • @NigelJ The question is whether God would rest with His creation for the final 24 hours of the week, not whether He had a permanent change of address. Perhaps a foretaste of Exodus 29:46, Numbers 35:34, Revelation 21:3? Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 3:03

3 Answers 3


To start, two ways in which God is involved with his creation:

Colossians 1:16 ESV

"all things were created through him and for him".

On the 7th day creation existed "for him", and so God has a relationship with his creation.

Hebrews 1:3

"and he upholds the universe by the word of his power".

On the 7th day God upholds the universe and so, again, has a relationship with his creation.

But Creator and creation are separate from each other.

Hebrews 1:1-2

"God spoke to our fathers...he created the world".

"Creator" and "creation" are separate from each other. The Creator is the reason for the existence of all else. [The Creator is holy/eternal. Creation is fallen/temporal.]

So, both the Creator is involved with and separate from his creation.

The relationship between Creator and his creation is intense. Without a creation the title "Creator" is empty, and without a Creator there is no "creation".

Saying that Genesis 2:2 means that God rested from his work in no way contradicts that at the same time, he was resting with a relationship with his creation. Neither contradicts the other.

"rest" and "work" are in contrast with each other. [e.g. High/low; fast/slow; rest/work]. In Genesis 2:2 "rest" and "work" are in contrast. One being different "from" the other. Thus I think the general sense of the verse is God resting from his work.


The work that rested on the seventh day of Creation is specifically referring to the work of creation only.

Genesis 2:3 NIV

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

If God did rest from all His works from the seventh day onward, then Hebrews 1:3 is wrong

Hebrews 1:3a NIV

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

In fact, I deeply believe that the seven days of creation are not literal. God created a world sustained in generations. God took a rest, so as the humans, and animals and so did the land. In His command, He said;

Exodus 23:10-12 NIV

10 “For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, 11 but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

12 “Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

So God took a rest on the seventh day of creation aimed at setting an example to humans that all creations need to rest periodically, and on the day of rest, honor the Lord His creation and the blessing He gives us.


This is one of those places where knowing the ancient literary type is helpful. John Walton of Wheaton has made a case that is widely accepted now that the opening Creation account in Genesis is a temple inauguration story, and this particular statement about God resting is integral to that argument: in short, in ancient near eastern accounts of temples being established, once everything was built (in Genesis 1, the first three days) and furnished (in Genesis 1, the second three days) the final step was that the deity whose temple it was would "rest" or "take up his/her rest" in the temple. Though the Genesis account is somewhat unique in that we have God building and filling His own temple, it still fits this literary form.

That said, your explanation seems to be taking the first letter of מְלַאכְתּ֖וֹ as a prepositional prefix but it is actually part of the word. But the phrase, which most texts have hyphenated, does start with מ as a prefix: מִכָּל־ , which generally is translated "from all". This is actually a truncated form of מִן‎ which has a partitive or source sense, thus "from", "out of", "because of", "on the basis of" are good renditions depending on context. I'm not coming up with any uses where it can be rendered as either "among" or "with", though, so I don't know where you're getting that. So it's definitely "from His work", but not in the sense that God left them but that He's no longer doing them.

Now back to the temple inauguration context: in the sense of the last statement above, God isn't said to be apart from His work, rather He is taking up His place in the temple He just made, which happens to be the entire Earth. We tend to take this metaphorically since God is spirit and spirit can't sit in a chair or elsewhere, but it should be kept in mind that later in the Old Testament we find Yahweh showing up in the form of a man, and in the Garden stories that immediately follow we are told that God walked in the Garden, so this could very well indicate that here we have the very first instance of Yahweh walking on the Earth in the form of a man -- and thus He would definitely be "among" or "with" His work. We should also keep in mind that the Apostle tells us that Yahweh sustains all things, which also indicates that He is never actually apart from Creation, and so He never actually leaves it -- and in that sense He is definitely "among" or "with" His work even though the Hebrew word by itself doesn't really support that.

In short, God stopped doing any work -- "from" -- but He rested "with" and "among" that work.

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