"Did God breathe the Holy Spirit into Adam?" A conversation with a friend.
Good Morning David,
Hope all is well with you. I have a question, In the beginning when God breathed the breath of life into man, was that the Holy Spirit? I have been struggling with a series of sermons based on “God’s Invasion of Earth/Man”. Perhaps it’s the word invasion that unsettles me, it seems negative. There is an interim pastor at the church I attend . . . Several weeks now the sermons have seemed to point to saying that man was in the beginning filled with the Holy Spirit and the Spirit left when man sinned, Jesus came to bring back the Spirit, and Jesus has invaded earth and man to reconcile us back to God. Which, I do see the theology that Jesus is our way to God, but something in this keeps bothering me. I have to say, after reading your blog, I have said several times, that this man (who is a lawyer, called to be a pastor, not theologically educated) needs to learn how to preach to make his points clearer and precise, he seems to be all over the place and I am having a very hard time following what the messages are even about. I could be wrong in my understanding of what he is trying to say, but I do know that he specifically said what I mentioned above. What do you think?
I do not concur with several things this guy’s saying.
In Genesis (and throughout the Old Testament) it is assumed that the part of humans that is “alive” is alive because of God. The Jewish belief is that in the very beginning, God breathed His Spirit into humans to make them alive. Once His Spirit stayed in the first humans, Jews called this “nephesh” (translated “soul” or “spirit” depending on a few things). (In common Jewish belief now, a human hasn't become human until his/her first breath after birth.)
So, Jews believe that our ability to be alive right now is because God gave us the “spark” or “life force” or “energy” to be alive. That is to say, our ability to be living is not from anything in creation. It is supernatural. It is from God. It is like a fire spreading a fire.
On the other hand, the expression of the Holy Spirit “filling a person” is something different. That expression means that God’s Spirit inspires a person to do something or preach something. In the Old Testament, this role of the Spirit is there, but it comes and goes from time to time. In the New Testament, after Pentecost, the idea is that the Holy Spirit stays within believers, especially within communities of believers, inspiring them to do “mighty acts” and have the “fruit of the Spirit.”
So, this preacher is just a bit confused. (I don’t mean that meanly). On the one hand, humans have the “nephesh” - that living part of themselves - because God’s Spirit breathed into us life. On the other hand, God’s Spirit “comes upon” or inspires certain prophets and kings (in the Old Testament) and the Christian community (in the New Testament) in order to have them do particular things from time to time.
That’s the way I see it, at least. :)
I hope you’re well!