[August 3]--In the Beginning. . .The Spirit Was At Work

Gen 1:1-2, 26-27; 2:4-7

Now that we've done a quick overview on the nature of the Spirit, let's spend some time on his work, both in history and in our lives today. Quite frankly, there’s a lot more information in Scripture about his work than about his nature. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is because the Spirit has the same essence as the rest of the Godhead, so whatever we can say about another Person of the Trinity (as far as their essence is concerned), you can say about the Spirit. The second reason is more subtle, but you can discern it from a pattern you’ll notice as you go through the Scriptures. The Spirit usually works behind the scenes. His purpose in the world is not to call attention to himself. This is especially true as we get into the N.T. period.

However, his work is ubiquitous throughout the Bible’s narrative. That’s what we’re going to examine over the next few days. Once you take the time to look, you’ll see that the Spirit has been at work, accomplishing the divine plan since before the beginning of time. In fact, he’s usually the agent of God on the earth to carry out the divine will.

Let’s start at the creation. The Bible has one main purpose in the first two chapters of Genesis. That purpose is to reveal to us that God created everything, and the lessons which flow from that premise. At the beginning of creation, the Holy Spirit was there. The Hebrew verb in verse 1:2 has the connotation of “brooding.” Why? The earth was “formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep.” The point here is that the world was not what God intended it to be. He fully intended to populate it and fill it with light. Right after this verse, the all-powerful voice split the darkness and called forth light where there was none a moment before.

Exactly which parts did the Persons of the Trinity have in the creation as narrated in chapter one? We’re not told, so I’m not going to speculate. But it’s undeniably true that the Spirit had a role to play in this.

But then we come to the crown of the physical creation: Humanity. This is very important for you to know—Hebrew and Greek have at least one thing in common. The English words “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit” all come from the same word in both languages: Ruah in Hebrew and Pneuma in Greek. The only way we know which meaning to assign in a certain passage is by context.

That’s why 1:26-27 and 2:4-7 are so important. We’re not like the animals and plants, or at least there are biiiiiig differences between us. Yes, physically we’re very similar to the animals. But they weren’t made in God’s image, and we are. And all the Persons of the Trinity are involved in this (note the “Us” and “our”).

This is especially true in 2:4-7, the more detailed version of our creation. All the plants and animals and everything else came into existence from just a word of command. Not us. God himself stooped down, so to speak, and “breathed” life into us. Again, remember the connection between “breath” and “spirit.” When people say that there’s a “spark of divinity” in each person, there’s more than a kernel of truth in that. Just to be clear, it's not saying we're divine. But we’re not just made in God’s image, like a painting or a sculpture is made in the image of a person. We have the breath of life intimately placed within us by means of the Spirit himself. I wish I could've seen it. Maybe I will, someday, if God offers “rewind” in glory.

By the way, this is a wonderful image of what happens at the moment of salvation. We’re lifeless, completely dead to God and what he has planned for us. Then God comes and breathes himself into us, and we come to life like Pinocchio. In a real sense, he's "re-creating" us.

Jesus said that "the Spirit gives life," and this is true in the physical sense (at our creation) and in the spiritual sense of what happens when we receive Christ. And only the Spirit can do this. I could go to a corpse or a mannequin and talk to it, try to reason with it, threaten it, cajole it, or anything else I’d like. But only the Spirit can actually breathe life into a dead lump of dirt and make it alive. Pretty amazing when you think about it, huh?

Holy Spirit, you gave me life when I came into the Kingdom, and you are the Source of life to me each day. Give me a breath of fresh air, please.

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