Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, MA

First Advisor

Denis Fortin

Second Advisor

John C. Peckham

Third Advisor

Martin F. Hanna



This study takes Fernando Canale's work as a starting point, which has demonstrated that unbiblical philosophical presuppositions have undergirded many forms of Christian theology. Of specific interest to this thesis is the presupposition of divine timelessness or temporality, which may have consequences on various doctrines. This study examines the possible influence of these presuppositions on the meaning of the Sabbath, as seen in the writings of Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Andreas Carlstadt, Oswald Glaidt, Andreas Fischer, Nicholas Bownd, and Theophilus Brabourne. The problem this thesis addresses is whether an observable connection can be made between one's view of divine time and one's view of Sabbath time, as seen in the writings of these authors.


This study examines the writings of selected authors that address the theology of Sabbath (regardless of which day they espouse) and attempt to identify concepts that come as a result of their presuppositions. Four historical segments are examined: (1) medieval Christianity, (2) the Magisterial Reformation, (3) the Radical Reformation, and (4) the English Reformation. Authors were selected based on whether they had substantial writings on the theology of the Sabbath. To provide background and context to their view of Sabbath time, key relevant areas of Sabbath theology will be examined, namely: creation, the Decalogue, the nature of rest, and any relevant theological positions that may be unique to these individuals. The positions of each author will be described in turn, followed by a comparison and analysis at the end of each section. Some observations will also be made as to the progression of ideas, and the possible influence of one theologian to another. All observations from these Sabbath theologies are synthesized and some implications in the divine time-Sabbath relationship are proposed.


This study concludes that a correlation between divine time and Sabbath time is observable in the writings of these authors. Those who appear to subscribe to a timeless view of God tend to view the Sabbath atemporally, minimizing the need for a specific temporal observance. On the other hand, there is an apparent openness to the temporal view of God's time on the part of those who view the Sabbath temporally, emphasizing a specific day of observance based on creation and the fourth commandment. The relationship between divine time and Sabbath time is observably more of correlation than causation.

Subject Area

Sabbath; Time--Religious aspects; Theology--History