breath of God

We all know the story of creation, and how it is told in seven days. On the sixth day, God is depicted as breathing life into mankind. The writer, in Genesis, with imagery so prophetic, has life itself being breathed into man. And yet, the other animals living in the sea, in the air and on the ground are simply made. Something special is being depicted here with the creation of mankind. God is breathing life into this human animal. Why?

Whenever reference is made to the spirit of God, in both the old and new testaments of the Bible, it seems to always be being depicted as wind, breath or even a sigh. It is never described as something physical. It is not something that can be touched. The writer shows God as “breathing” life into man. There is something special, something unique about this creature, mankind. It has rationality, yes. It can think and plan, yes. But it can also contemplate concepts, non-physical realities. To do this, there must be, has to be, something non-physical in mankind’s makeup.

We speak of human mankind as being made up of body and soul. We know the body. We can see it, cut it, and look inside it. It is very physical, very apparent. But what of the soul, where is it? We can speak of its characteristics, its spirit, its goodness, but these are all byproducts, if you will, of the soul. What is the soul?

When God breathed into mankind, He imparted part of Himself into each one of us. He did not lose anything of Himself, but rather He shared something of Himself with us. This something, this spiritual aspect of ourselves, we call our soul. We have been entrusted with this goodness. Through this process of breathing into us, our animal nature has been elevated to a sublime condition. We are not god. But something, what it is we don’t know, is within us, craving for that re-union, once again. St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee”.-1

But here is the rub. Each one of us has this craving within. However, we don’t always recognize that it is for closeness to God. We feel the craving, but try to fill it with other things. This is where we get confused and mixed up. We try to satisfy this craving with material things of this world, with wealth, with possessions, with power over people, with prestige, with food, and drink, and drugs and sex. We judge others that don’t measure up to our standards. We set ourselves as the measuring stick, having nothing to do with God. We console ourselves that everyone else is pursuing these goals, so it must be alright. In the process, we ignore God. He is shoved to the back of our minds. He is no longer the center of our pursuit.

I know it is anthropomorphic (ascribing human characteristics to God), but I almost wonder if God feels sadness, or disappointment when He sees us (mankind) pursuing worldly glitters as substitutes for Himself. He sends His son to show us how to live, how to pray, how to love our God. And mankind nails Jesus to a cross. Forget it. No thank you. We will take our golden calves, our pleasures of the world. We will seek out the glitter of temporal things and shove the Christ to the back of our minds… or out of them completely.

Oh God. What are we doing? You created this entire universe, not for yourself, to see if you could. You did not create it for the mindless animals, but for a mankind that can think, and love and laugh. You have put some aspect of yourself into each of us, so that we all could experience the joy of meshing with each other and ultimately with You. In seeking out the goodness of sharing, the goodness of helping, and the goodness of loving we would learn the highest form of life possible, namely, one of caressing creature with creature, creature with creator. We have forgotten how to deny ourselves for the good of others. We have chosen rather to seek out only that which will advance ourselves, make us happy, or fulfill our needs. How many times we have said, “We are sorry”. And yet, we don’t change our ways. We still seek out only those things which reward ourselves.

Help us learn to realize the beauty of Jesus’ words, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.” -2 The re-union of man’s soul and God is the only reward that should be before us. We wonder what Heaven will be like. Heaven will be the re-uniting of creature with Creator. The sublime joy of once again being caressed by God, our heavenly Father.

-1 The Confessions
-2 John 14:6