In the beginning, God created the universe (Gen 1:1). He spoke, and it came into being. Apart from the Word of God, nothing would be made that was made (John 1:3). God speaks his Word, and creation comes into being. When he speaks, he spirates, and his breath animates what has come into being (Gen 2:7). When God speaks, things happen. His word creates and still does.
Where does God speak today? The answer is Scripture. The Bible’s words thus entail real creative acts. God’s words communicate the Word of God so that by the Spirit new creations come into being. Citing Genesis 1:3, Paul says, “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). We are new creations produced by the proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord (2 Cor 4:5; 5:17).
Like the first creation, the new creation occurs when God speaks and spirates. And this is everything. As Paul writes, “For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation” (Gal 6:15). Old creation signs like circumcision mean very little when it comes to salvation in the new creation. It is a new thing. It is not merely new wine in an old wineskin. It is new wine and new wineskin. The old has passed away; the new is come.
When darkness covered the land and Jesus’ Passion came to end, the end of all old things arrived. An earthquake broke up the ground. The sky became dark. The dead rose. And yet not everything did in fact end. It only started to end. And it only began to be recreated. We are the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (Rom 8:23). We are the earnest of the fullness.
Scripture is not a mere sign or just words splayed upon a page. These words spirate from the Father to create by the Word of God. Every word of God does what it intends to do. All his words point to and find their essence in what they truly are: the Word. Scripture cannot be thrust into the mouths of men alone. We confess that these words come through images of the Word—that truest Image of God (Col 1:15). As image bearers, the scriptural authors wrote the words of the Image who is the Word.
When heard, God invisibly spirates his Spirit to recreate those who accept the Word with gladness, implanting it into not just their heart but recreating the hearer into the image of what the Image reflects: the creator (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24). The imitatio Dei really means to be recreated according to the likeness of God.
And this new nature that the creative Word bestows finds its fulfillment when our flesh becomes transfigured into what Paul calls “a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:45). By this he means not a wisp of a body but a more substantial body, one which our newly created nature longs for and one in which our restless souls find repose.
So let us put away notions of Scripture unfitting to the dignity of its divine character. Scripture speaks truly and authoritatively because when God speaks, Scripture speaks.