The Sixth Day: Animals and Man
I think it is significant that the sixth day includes the creation of both animals and man. I have been tying the old creation account to the growth of the new creation (us) in 2 Peter 1:5-7, and the sixth trait mentioned there is brotherly kindness.
Notice that the first five traits, and thus my interpretation of days one through five, all have to do with ourselves. We do good; we learn; we control ourselves; we persevere; and we become godly.
But now we approach something new. Now we come to brotherly kindness. Now the focus is on others.
There is a long foundation given before the focus is on others. Our soul is separated from our spirit. Our spirit is joined to God, but our soul becomes a place of creation. The Word of God separates the waters of our soul to form a place to plant his seeds, which grow to produce fruit. He teaches us to receive the lights of heaven: Christ through his Spirit, Christ through his church, and Christ through his individual saints, our brothers and sisters in him, the sun, moon, and stars.
The fruit of this is godliness, and godliness causes our soul to abound with life and noise.
All of this is meant to be shared. All of this is meaningless if there is no one to enjoy it!
But we must also remember that we cannot share if we have nothing to give. The first five days of creation, of transformation, must happen before the sharing of it.
So many people want to rush out the first day and become ministers of God’s word, a word they have, as yet, no way to contain. They have no place to put it. God’s word is not kept in a mere container. It is planted, and it grows. It flourishes in earthen containers, not just pots, but in flowering hearts and fleshly bodies.
Preparing those earthen vessels is not a small task. Paul warns us not to appoint novices as leaders (1 Tim. 3:6). Let us teach them to grow into mature believers, cultivated not just by knowledge, but by long perseverance in self-control and virtue. Our Bible schools can impart knowledge, but that is the bare beginning of the equipping of a man of God. No man will become “thoroughly equipped for every good work” without the teaching that is according to godliness, much correction, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
But when that doctrine, reproof, rebuke, and instruction in righteousness has accomplished its purpose, and a man begins to manifest godliness, his ministry has already begun.
Those are days one through five. On day six, all the animals of the land and man himself is created. The sixth trait of 2 Pet. 1:5-7 is brotherly kindness.
On the sixth day, our soul becomes a place where others can tread. Our kindness extends to all. It is called brotherly kindness, but a mature Christian can call all men brothers for “he has made of one blood all nations that dwell upon the earth” (Acts 17:26).
This is true even of men who are not worthy to be called men, but whom Jesus and the apostles describe as pigs and dogs (Matt. 7:6; Php. 3:2; Rev. 22:15). Brotherly kindness brings animals and men to the godliness that has been cultivated in us over the first five days.
The Seventh Day: Rest and Love, the Culmination of Creation
There is a goal to the creation.
The seventh day never ends, at least during the first creation. The new creation brings in an eighth day. It is the day on which Jesus rose. It was not by accident that Jesus rose on the first day of the week. Jesus rose to bring a new creation, putting an end to the old creation and to Adam, the mere man.
Jesus is said by Paul to be the last Adam and the second man (1 Cor. 15:45,47).
That is not an accident nor casual use of words. When Jesus died, we who believe in him died with him. Adam was put to death. Jesus was the last Adam, and the man Adam is done with. There is a new man, a new creation … an eighth day, which is a new first day, the beginning of a new creation.
The seventh day of the old creation extended until the beginning of the new creation. It was a perpetual rest. It was never said to end. Fleshly Adam could only celebrate this once per week. He could not enter into a perpetual rest as God did, so he honored his Creator with a Sabbath rest, ceasing from manual labor on each seventh day.
But the new man is a spiritual man. Our lives are not measured by the flesh, but by the spirit. We can enter into God’s perpetual rest, and the Holy Spirit commands us to labor to enter into it! (Heb. 4:9-11).
Rest is a wonderful thing. We are new creations. The labor of the Spirit of God to shape our souls into godliness ends in a wonderful rest.
But beyond even rest, the new creation heads toward love. This is the final goal because while God entered into his rest, he is not rest. He is, however, Love (1 Jn. 4:8).
Many of us quote the verse that says that love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8). Unfortunately, if we want to understand that verse accurately, we need to either live in a previous century, or we need to translate the verse differently. While it may be true that love never fails, Paul didn’t say that. He said that love never ends. Prophecies will end, tongues will cease, and knowledge will vanish away, but love will never end. Like the rest of the seventh day, it goes on and on forever.
This is the creation that matters. The earth and the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll. They will perish in fervent heat. Those, however, who are of the new creation will live forever in rest and love.
We are not there. Our work on this earth is not to “preach the Gospel” with an outline and mere earthly words and carnal understandings of Scripture (cf. Rom. 10:15; 1 Tim. 3:6). The kingdom of God does not consist of words, but of power (1 Cor. 4:20), and that power must be created in you.
You are being created. The Word of God is dividing soul from spirit, then transforming your soul into a habitable and lively place so that it can house and bless both man and beast. But in all that there is a labor to enter the rest of God, where the very life of Christ can pour out the one eternal thing in this universe: love.
That is the new creation, of which this temporary old creation, even with all its majesty, size, and beauty, is a mere shadow.
Let us long together, as the old creation does, for the “glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).