Man was created in Genesis with a void that had yet to be filled. Genesis 2:7 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.” We see by examining the verse that the creation of man was a two-part process: first, man was formed, and then God breathed the breath of life and man became a living soul. From this, we can deduce that God formed Adam perfectly, but Adam was still lacking the breath that was so absolutely vital for him to live. Adam was a facade. On the outside, he looked perfect. Simple observation would have quickly concluded that man was the pinnacle of God’s creation. Adam was the only creation that was not spoken by God but was formed. He was perfect, but he was lacking. Deep within the hidden confines of Adam’s chest his lungs were empty. He was perfect on the outside but vacant, uninhabited on the inside.
Then we come to the second part of the verse, “…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Notice that the earth supplied the materials needed to form man (dust), but the earth could not supply life. In order for man to become a sentient being, something had to be supplied from something that was already alive. (This “law” if you will, is still around today. Life begets life.) The beauty of Adam’s creation is manifested in only a few words. God breathed the breath of life, and suddenly the vacancy within Adam was filled. Oxygen bolted into his lungs where it was infused with blood. Suddenly, the sealed doors hiding Adam’s eyes shot open, and he exhaled the carbon dioxide trapped in his lungs. Adam was alive.
The entire chapter of Ezekiel 37 is one of those places in the Bible where you really wish there was video back around 500-600 B.C. The author does a pretty good job painting a mental picture. Verses 1-2 say, “…and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones… behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.” Just the mere fact that Ezekiel makes a point in letting us know that these bones were dry is almost comical and exposes the deprivation of the situation. Ezekiel has found himself amongst a vast arid shallow grave where life had fled long ago. And then, starting in verse five we read this,
“5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. 7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.”
The earth shook and fought as it gave the bones it had reclaimed back to the bodies of which they belonged. In a mind bottling feat, this puzzle of collagen once again met their partners comprising the skeletal remains of what us to be. A long forgotten image began to emerge as skin wrapped muscle. The process of decomposition seemed to be played in reverse. Ezekiel no longer found himself in a valley of dry bones, but this valley was now littered with human bodies. However, despite the process of time being rewound this was still a valley of death. Because just like Adam, these men could not live without breath. These bodies had to be filled from an outside source.
An interesting lesson is derived here when we discover that life does not stem from within but is supplied from without. One cannot find the purpose or meaning of their life by looking within themselves, but they must look at the world beyond themselves. (For more information of this topic read my previous blog post: Finding Meaning). Now we can see why sin and selfishness are so dangerous. In short, sin is selfish because it says “I want this, right now, despite the hurt or damage it might cause.” Sin is inwardly focused.
Despite what you may be concluding at this present moment, this article is not an advocacy to raise awareness for breathing. There is a profound theological theme that is woven throughout the Bible regarding breath, and its culmination is quite spectacular. Acts 2:2, “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
At the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3), in essence, man spiritually become a walking zombie. Both Adam and Eve spiritually died but physically lived. The powerful fact of Jesus’ resurrection is that he reclaimed death and on the day of Pentecost the sound of wind was heard, that sound was the breath of God rushing back into man bringing spiritual life once again. The infilling of the Holy Ghost is not just God’s indwelling in a person; it is also their spiritual resurrection.
I love that Luke notes “…and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” We know that they were gathered in an upper room, but the outpouring of the Holy Ghost fell it was not confined to that room alone, it filled the whole house. The application comes into play when we look at the breath of man; oxygen is not just confined to one’s lungs, but it is carried throughout the entirety of the body. Likewise, the Holy Ghost is not confined to Sunday mornings at 10am but is intended to permeate the whole of one’s life.
It is imperative that this article is concluded with a simple Biblical truth. Every individual living on planet earth must receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26, 39:29; Joel 2:28-29; Matthew 3:11, 28:20; Mark 1:8, 15:17-18; Luke 3:16, 11:13, 24:49; John 1:33, 3:5, 4:14, 7:38-39, 14:16-18, 14:26, 15:26, 16:7, 13, 20:22; Acts 1:4-8, 2:16-18, 38-39; II Corinthians 3:3-6; Hebrews 10:15-16; I Peter 1:10-12). We have seen that man cannot live without the breath of God. While each of us are physically living as sentient beings, we are spiritually dead because of the fall of Adam in the garden. Though this is true, we have seen that all is not lost. The infilling of the Holy Ghost is both God now residing in man, and it is also the moment in which man once again becomes spiritually alive.