Origin: How Did I Come into Being?
“The God who made the world and everything in it…gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men…‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’…‘We are his offspring.’ ’’
The apostle Paul is on a roll. The city of Athens was a junkyard of idols (Acts 17:16, MSG), befitting the myriad of gods they represented. Add to that this detail: “The Athenians had a foolish notion that they were self-produced, and were the aboriginals of all mankind…that the first men sprung up in Attica like radishes.”* Laugh not, ladies. One wonders if our culture has taken a step back in time—oh, not graven images, but idols of fame, fortune, and self; not radishes per se, but persistent theories of evolution.
To counteract such nonsense Paul identifies the one true God, the “UNKNOWN GOD” (17:23), who made it all, the world and everything in it! He formed the first man, Adam, "from the dust of the ground” admittedly. Make no mistake though, Adam did not spring up evolutionally like a radish. God lovingly fashioned him by hand as a potter molds clay; and then He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). With that breath of life, all of us became God’s offspring.
I let Paul’s words percolate inside: ‘in him we live and move and have our being’. The breath of life began with God at the beginning of time: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). It will crescendo at the end of time: “For you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11). The energy of our zoe life, and our being from the Greek root eimi, are sacred things.
Yet, Adam and Eve chose to sin and lose their sonship status: For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die (Romans 8:13). The corollary is this: but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:13-14). Spiritual rebirth restores your sonship. It goes like this: natural birth makes you a child of your parents, still an offspring of God but without the status of sonship; spiritual birth makes you a child of God and a co-heir with Christ (Romans 8:15-17).
Chances are, if you ask someone the critical question of origin (How did I come into being?) the first thing out of his or her mouth will not be: I came into being as a child of God when the Spirit breathed real life into me. Pity!
*Adam Clarke, online commentary