Recall from the previous ministudy that God offered His Holy Spirit to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Had they eaten of the fruit of the tree of life, they would have received God's Spirit. Instead, the first humans listened to the devil and ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They partook of the tree of death. Thus they cut themselves off from God, and God cut them off from His Spirit.
But why did God offer His Spirit to Adam and Eve in the first place? Why was it so vital? What would it have done for them had they received it? And what can it do for you? It is extremely important that you understand the truth about this subject.
The Bible reveals that we were born for a tremendous purpose. But few really grasp the magnitude of the awesome future God offers mankind.
To understand God's incredible purpose for humanity, and what God's Holy Spirit has to do with it, let's start this study in the first chapter of Genesis.
1. What do the very first words of the Bible tell us about God? Genesis 1:1.
The original Hebrew word translated "God" in verse 1 is Elohim. Elohim is a plural noun. Like the words church, family and kingdom, Elohim stands for two or more individuals. Elohim actually is the God Kingdom or Family!
2. Who are the divine beings now composing the God Family? John 1:1-2. Was it the Word who created all things? Verse 3. What did the Word later become? Verse 14. Who, then, is the Word? Ephesians 3:9. And who is the other divine member of the God Family? I Corinthians 8:6.
The verses we have studied thus far show that God is now in the process of expanding His universe-ruling Family. And you can become a member of that eternal, spirit-composed Family! See how this marvelous truth unfolds in your Bible.
3. After whose "image" and "likeness" was man created? Genesis 1:26-27.
In God's pattern for all life, kind reproduces like kind. Just as each form of plant or animal life reproduces after its own kind, so humans reproduce humans. But unlike any of the animals, man was created in God's own image and likeness. God made man like Himself — same form and shape. The astounding truth is that God's purpose is to create mankind after the God kind!
Notice again in Genesis 1:26 what God said: "Let Us make man in Our image." The original Hebrew indicates far more than merely God's outward appearance. "Image" also refers to mind and character. God intended for man to develop the very mind and character of God. God has purposed that we develop His character during this mortal life.
Simply stated, God is reproducing Himself. All human beings have the awesome potential of becoming God's literal children — members of God's own divine Family.
4. Does God plainly show it is His purpose to increase His divine Family by bringing many sons into it? Hebrews 2:9-10, Revelation 21:7. Isn't Jesus Christ actually the first of many sons of God? Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:18.
To be conformed to the image of Christ means to become like Him — to be glorified as He is glorified — to be part of the divine Family of God as much as Christ now is.
5. But what must happen to flesh-and-blood human beings before they can enter God's Family? I Corinthians 15:49-53, John 3:3-8.
Jesus said we must be "born again" — changed into spirit. Yes, born again — this time born of the Spirit of God as divine children in the Family of God!
6. However, are true Christians already, during this mortal life, God's children? I John 3:1-2. Are they inheritors of God's Kingdom, or only "heirs" to it? Romans 8:14-17.
Although they are now the children of God, Christians are only heirs — ones who shall, in the future, inherit the glory of God's Family with Jesus Christ. Why only heirs? Because they are now only Spirit-begotten children (I Peter 1:3). They are unborn children of God. It is when they are born of God that they become inheritors of God's Kingdom — divine members of the Family of God.
7. Must the Spirit-begotten children of God grow spiritually before being born of God, much like a newly begotten human must grow physically in its mother's womb until it is born? II Peter 3:18, I Peter 2:1-2.
Human reproduction pictures the process by which God is reproducing Himself. Recall that Jesus told Nicodemus we must be "born again" to enter the Kingdom of God as actual members of God's Family.
Before the second phase of our creation "our spiritual creation — can begin, God the Father must first beget each of us by placing His Holy Spirit within our minds. Thus our minds can be compared to an egg or ovum, and the Holy Spirit to an impregnating seed or germ of eternal life.
Receiving God's Spirit is the begettal of the spiritual life of God within our minds. And much as a newly begotten physical embryo begins to grow in its mother's womb, we must begin to grow in God's spiritual character after we are begotten by His Spirit (Ephesians 4:11-15). This growth comes through Bible study, prayer and walking with God in obedience to Him as we are empowered by His Holy Spirit within us.
Had Adam and Eve eaten of the fruit of the tree of life, they would have been similarly begotten by God's Holy Spirit, and they would have been taught directly by their Creator.
8. Are the Spirit-begotten children of God clearly being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Ephesians 2:10.
"We" in New Testament language usually refers to God's Spirit-begotten children, as Paul intended in verse 10. God's begotten children are His workmanship. They are being "created in Christ Jesus for good works."
God, through the power of the Holy Spirit He has put into His children (after their repentance and baptism), is forming in His people His holy, righteous character. With their obedient cooperation, He is creating in them His own character-image. He is creating them to be the supreme masterpiece of all His creation — individuals who will be capable of exercising the awesome powers of the God Family.
And so man, the material creation, is only the first phase of this creative process. The clay model has to be fashioned by experience, with the aid of God's Holy Spirit, into the finished spiritual masterpiece possessing the very character of God.
9. When will the spiritual birth of Christians take place? I Corinthians 15:52. When will the resurrection occur? I Thessalonians 4:15-17. Will they be changed to spirit at the resurrection? I Corinthians 15:42-49. Will those who are thus resurrected be like God? Philippians 3:20-21, I John 3:2. Of what is God composed? John 4:24. By what power will this miraculous change be accomplished? Romans 8:11.
When Jesus Christ returns to earth, the Spirit-begotten children of God who have died through the ages will be resurrected to spirit life by the Spirit of God, and those still alive will be instantly changed into spirit beings. At that moment, they will be "born again," this time as members of God's own Family.
And God's own offspring will then have eternal life inherent within themselves — just like Jesus Christ their elder brother.
10. Was Jesus "glorified" again after His resurrection? John 17:4-5, Hebrews 2:9. Had He previously given three of His disciples a fleeting glimpse of this glorified condition? Matthew 17:1-2. How does Christ's glorified spirit body appear today? Revelation 1:13-16.
To be "glorified" means to be given great power and brightness.
Before He became a human being, Jesus Christ had a glorious, powerful spirit body like His Father's. After His resurrection, He was restored to the same power and glory. Christ's face and powerful spirit body now radiate light as the sun in full strength, with eyes blazing like flames of fire.
11. Will God also glorify all of His Spirit-begotten children at the resurrection by giving them this same great power and glory? Romans 8:17, Colossians 3:4, Daniel 12:2-3.
This is the incredible human potential! This is the awe-inspiring future God has in store for those who are begotten by His Holy Spirit and draw upon its power to grow in His character during this mortal life.
Do you have God's Spirit? Are you a Spirit-begotten child of God? How can you know? Our next ministudy on the Holy Spirit will answer these questions.
In the meantime, be sure to read our free book The Incredible Human Potential and our free booklet Just What Do You Mean...Born Again?