Week Two: The Holy Spirit Across the Bible
Verse to memorize
“In the beginning… God created the heavens and the earth.”
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (NRSV)
1) Q: In the Book of Genesis, there are not one, but two Creation narratives: the one above in Ch. 1 in which God creates the world and humankind in six days, “and on the seventh day God rested” and chapters 2-3, the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Two different stories of Creation! Q: What does this tell us? A: It tells us that the ancient Israelites, God’s chosen people, had two different ways of understanding Creation and humankind’s relationship to their Creator. And they told it in a vivid, creative way that could be passed on orally and understood by both children and adults. But encapsulated in both “stories” are deep and enduring theological lessons about God, our world, and us creatures, created in God’s image. For now, we will focus on the first creation story, and on the very first “day” of creation.
2) Q: Reread the passage from Genesis above. Q: Can you find the Holy Spirit present at Creation? A: So there’s a “void” or emptiness. There’s the “deep”, a poetic word for vast waters. And there’s a “wind from God” blowing across the waters. And it’s dark. The Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) was written in Hebrew; we have to depend on translations. The word for “wind” is ruah. But ruah also means “breath” or “spirit”. So another good translation would be “God’s Spirit swept over the face of the waters”. Yes, the Holy Spirit was present at the very beginning of Creation!
3) Q: What is the next thing God did after the Spirit swept over the dark waters? A: God said, “Let there be light; and there was light.” Q: Did God work hard to make the light and everything else in the six days? A: No. He just spoke creation: Let there be light; let there be a “dome” (sky); let there be “dry land” (earth); let there be plants; let there be lights in the dome (sun, moon, stars); let there be fish and birds; let there be animals; and let there be humans “in our image”. And there were. God spoke Creation!
4) Q: Because of Genesis Ch. 1, St. John in his Gospel, calls Jesus, “The Word” of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… and the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.” (Jn 1:1,14) Q: So who else was present at Creation? A: Jesus was present. Q: What does this mean? A: Hidden in the first creation story is the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son Jesus, and Holy Spirit.
Courtesy of The Bible Project