Monday, April 4, 2005

Created to Know and Speak the Mind of God

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 being. (Genesis 2:7)
Man is a unique creature in all the universe. He alone has the breath of God in him. Literally, God puffed the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils, then man became a nephesh chayyim, a “living being.” He was not just living, as the animals of Genesis 1 were said to be living. No, he was living solely and especially because of the breath of life from God’s own mouth was at work in him.

In other Bible passages, the word nephesh is often translated as “mind,” for example, at Genesis 23:8 and Deuteronomy 18:6. So in the context of God and man, it refers to more than mere existence. It involves the capacity for thought.

There are a couple of other words translated as “mind” in the Old Testament which help us understand this connection even more. The Hebrew word for “spirit,” ruach, is often used to refer to “wind” and even “breath.” But it also is used as a word for “mind” (Genesis 26:35). The breath that God breathed into Adam’s nostrils was actually the Holy Spirit, giving life to Adam’s body. But we can also say that what God breathed into Adam was the mind of God.

Another interesting word in this regard is the Hebrew word peh. In Leviticus 24:12, it is translated as “mind.” But it literally refers to the mouth as a means of blowing. God, with His mouth, blew the breath of life into Adam’s nostrils. It gives a new meaning to the term “mind-blowing.”

God says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways, My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). But that does not mean that we cannot know God’s thoughts. Indeed, we were created with the capacity to know the mind of God, to understand His ways and walk in them. Though Adam fell, we still have this capacity to think the thoughts of God, if we have experienced the new birth by the Holy Spirit. For Paul says:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-11)
An ancient Hebrew commentary, the Targum Onkelos, has something very interesting to say about Genesis 2:7. The commentator concludes that God blew into Adam’s nostrils a speaking spirit, and thus Adam himself became a speaking spirit. So not only did Adam bear the image of God, and the authority of God, but he was also a speaking spirit, to breathe forth words, even as God did.

We were created, not only to have the mind of God, to think His thoughts after Him, but also to speak forth the mind of God — our mouths breathing forth His words. His words are never idle or spoken in vain, but they accomplish everything He sends them out to do. As we speak them into our life and the world around us, they will bring forth the purposes of God.

God has created you and me with tremendous capacity, world-changing potential. Do not limit yourself by your own thoughts when you can know the mind of God. Why use your mouth to speak your own feeble words, when you can breathe out the powerful Word of God into the world.