Has God hardwired us for a 7-day week?

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I am currently preaching through the Ten Commandments, and last weekend we reached commandment number four. God tells his people to work hard for six days and then take one day of Sabbath rest (Ex 20:8–11). In this, we see a seven-day week patterned after God’s creation rhythm of working for six days and resting for one (Gen 2:2).

This got me thinking on a curious question: Is there anything other than a seven-day week? In my research, I stumbled on some information in the Old Farmers Almanac:

No more logic supports seven days than, say eight or five, yet the seven-day week has resisted any and all attempt at change.

Unlike the year and the month, which correspond to the movements of the earth around the sun and the moon around the earth, the week has no astronomical analogue. Seven days is roughly the same length of a phase of the moon (seven days, nine hours) but any system of timekeeping quickly falls apart due to the extra hours piling up.

In an effort to build a society not based upon the Bible, we also read that:

Atheistic revolutionaries tried, unsuccessfully, to get rid of the seven-day week. In 1793 the leaders of the French Revolution produced a new calendar divided into three ten-day “decades.” It never caught on, and Napoleon abandoned it in 1805.

In 1929, the Soviet Union tried a five-day week, with one day of rest.

  • Instead of the traditional day names, the days were given colors: yellow, orange, red, purple, and green.
  • In order to keep mass production going, each Soviet citizen was assigned a different day of rest, so that a husband might have a yellow day off, while his wife took her leisure on green.
  • Due to mass confusion, the plan was revised in 1932 to a six-day week, with numbers replacing the colors.
  • By 1940, the Russians were back on the familiar seven-day cycle!

So it seems that even having a seven-day week reveals something of God’s creation design imprinted on our souls as we tend to fall into the very rhythm he created us for, whether we know him or not.