Word “Voiced” by the Spirit

Word “Voiced” by the Spirit November 28, 2004

The Son became flesh through the work of the Spirit. Once this pattern is fixed in our minds, we can see foreshadowings of this throughout the OT: God works through His Word, but it is a “voiced” Word, a Word empowered and given authority by God’s “breath.”

Creation: Jesus, according to John, is the eternal Word of the Father, by whom all things were made. But the Word that speaks the world into existence comes with the Spirit or ?breath?Eof the Father. In fact, the Spirit hovers over the waters of creation BEFORE the Word is spoken, and the Word is made effective through the Spirit.

Creation of Man: Adam is formed from the dust of the ground, and God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and so becomes the human son of God, God?s image and likeness. God creates man by Word (“let us make man”), but this Word is accompanied by breath.

Redemption of Israel: When Israel is a field of dry bones in the days of the exile, in the days of Ezekiel, the prophet prophesies to the bones, and the wind or breath of God comes to bring life. Israel, God?s Son, is raised from the grave of exile through the power of the Spirit and the Word, through the power of God’s “voiced” Word.

The church fathers recognized that the eternal Word comes to be Word through the ?breath?Eor ?Spirit?Eof the Father. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, ?it would not be right that God?s Word should be more defective than our own, which would be the case if, since our word is associated with bread (spirit), we were to believe he lacked a Spirit . . . . In the same way, when we learn that God has a Spirit, which accompanies His word and manifests His activity, we do not thing of it as an emission of breath . . . . On the contrary, we think of it as a power really existing by itself and in its own special subsistence.?E John of Damascus said more succinctly: ?When we speak a word, this movement of the air produces the voice, which alone makes the meaning of the word accessible to others.?EIn the same way, God the Spirit ?accompanies the word and reveals its efficacy.?E

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