I just wanted to drop a quick note about a cool connection between the creation of humanity and the salvation of humanity.
In Genesis 2—when God created Adam—scripture says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (v. 7). When God placed Adam (and Eve) into the garden of Eden, he warned them, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (v. 17).
When Adam and Eve ate from the tree, they did not immediately die—physically speaking, anyway. Adam lived for 930 years, at least 800 years of which were after the fall (Genesis 5:4-5). I contend that Adam and Eve died a spiritual death: by sinning, they had become separated from God and cut off from the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24).
Now this is where things get interesting. Genesis 2:7 says that God “breathed on” Adam; in the LXX, the Greek term is ἐνεφύσησεν (enephusesen). Adam became a living soul because God ἐνεφύσησεν on him. The New Testament uses this same word to describe something Jesus did to his disciples.
After his resurrection, during the 40 days Jesus taught his disciples before his ascension, John 20:22-23 says that Jesus “breathed on them (ἐνεφύσησεν), and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost (πνεῦμα ἅγιον) : whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
Jesus is performing the same action twice: first as Creator, when he made Adam a living soul—and second as resurrected Savior, when he prepared his disciples for the Holy Spirit. Notice that there is a connection between the act of “breathing on / ἐμφυσάω” and receiving the Holy Ghost (πνεῦμα ἅγιον). But there’s more.
In the LXX, the Greek word for “breath” in Genesis 2:7 is πνοή. This word also shows up again in the New Testament. On the Day of Pentecost, when God poured out the Holy Ghost (πνεῦμα ἅγιον, Acts 2:4)—scripture says, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). The Greek word for “wind” in this verse is πνοή, the same word for “breath” in Genesis 2:7.
Adam and Eve died a spiritual death when they ate from the tree. I argue that the gift God’s Spirit in Acts 2 remedied this problem: God was giving humanity his Spirit, to make them alive again.
Notice the connection: God “breathed / ἐνεφήσησεν ” into Adam the “breath / πνοή” of life—and he became a living soul; God “breathed / ἐνεφύσησεν” onto his disciples, and later the “wind / πνοή” filled the upper room and they were filled with the Holy Ghost.
Let me note one more detail. When Jesus breathed on his disciples preparing them for the Holy Ghost, he was re-enacting God’s life-giving act with Adam. The very next thing that Jesus talked in John 20 was remitting sins. When Peter preached his Pentecost sermon in Acts 2, right after the Holy Ghost was given, Peter also mentions remission; I don’t think this is an accident at all.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38). In this short verse, the message of salvation finds its clearest statement—especially against the backdrop of Genesis which I have been laying out here.
Humanity sinned; this caused spiritual death; consequently, we need to repent for our sins. The remission of those sins is necessary; and so Jesus has given us baptism in his name to remit those sins. And humanity, dead in sin, needs God to breath spiritual life into us; God does this by giving us his Holy Ghost, which is the New Testament (spiritual) equivalent to the breath of life.
God’s word is amazing! There are so many connections which illustrate God’s wonderful grace and our marvelous salvation.
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