2:1 finished. The strong emphasis in these verses on the completion of all of God’s creating and making activity is a clear refutation of both ancient evolutionary pantheism and modern evolutionary materialism, which seek to explain the origin and development of all things in terms of natural processes and laws innate to the universe. Creation is complete, not continuing (except in miracles, of course; if evolution takes place at all, it would require continuing miraculous intervention in the present laws of nature).
2:2 ended His work. This statement of completed creation anticipates the modern scientific laws of thermodynamics. The First Law states essentially the same truth: the universe is not now being created but is being conserved, with neither matter nor energy being created or destroyed. On the Second Law (the universal law of increasing disorder) see notes on Genesis 3:17 and Genesis 1:1.
2:3 sanctified it. God’s “rest” on the seventh day is not continuing; the verb is in the past tense–“rested,” not “is resting.” His blessing and hallowing of the seventh day could not apply to this present age of sin and death, but only to the “very good” world He had just completed.
Nevertheless, this “hallowing” of every seventh day was for man’s benefit (Mark 2:27), and was obviously intended as a permanent human institution, not controlled by the heavenly bodies which mark days, months, seasons and years, but by the physical and spiritual need of all men for a weekly day of rest and worship, in thankfulness for God’s great gift of creation and (later) for His even greater gift of salvation. The Sabbath (literally “rest”) day was incorporated in the Mosaic covenant with Israel in a special way, but its use preceded Israel and will continue eternally (Isaiah 66:23). However, the emphasis is on a “seventh” day, not necessarily Saturday. Since Christ’s resurrection, in fact, most Christians have identified their weekly cycle as centering on the first day of the week. The age-long, worldwide observance of the “week” is not contingent on the movements of the sun and moon (like the day, the month and the year) but rather is mute testimony to its primeval establishment as a memorial of God’s literal seven-day creation week.