“Therefore laying aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisies and envyings, and all evil speakings, desire the sincere milk of the Word, as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; if truly you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” I Peter 2:1-3
I remember, since it was only 15 months ago, holding my firstborn, a daughter, for the first time and I hope never to be able to forget it. In my arms was a piece of me, sharing obvious genetic traits, probably predisposed to certain desirable and undesirable personality wiring as well. Yet, for all that, she was pure, untainted, more so than she ever would be again. I marveled as I beheld and studied her.
There was no possibility of malice. She couldn’t conceive of hate. She was unable to deceive or act in a false manner that hid her true character. She was incapable of jealousy, being already wired by the Lord to crave the pure things she really needed. There was no chance of her slandering others or causing any hurt with her tongue. She will, sad as it is, be taught these things by the world. But back then, my daughter was everything I should strive to be–blameless. As Jesus said regarding little children, “…of such is the kingdom of Heaven.” Matt.19:14
It is a wonder, no doubt, to take your firstborn into your arms. And then you begin thinking about all that goes into the making and you see a type, or shadow, that is so obvious it goes unsaid–at least I’ve never heard it commented on that I recall.
In God’s family planning a man’s seed unites with his wife’s egg and a new creation is conceived, brought into being, and that child is half-father and half-mother. It is a living soul per that expression in Gen.2:7. As the Hebrew language has it there, certain animals and humans have the breath of life so that they are living souls. Basically, they are animate, vibrant beings or entities. Science calls these organisms and although the Bible’s living soul seems narrower to me in reading the Flood narrative, it’s good enough for the purpose here. This happens at conception, when the child becomes, genetically speaking, what it will remain for the rest of it’s life. God is involved and has more to do.
God tells Israel that He ‘formed them in the womb’ in Isaiah 44. He is The Father of Life. So it should surprise us not at all that God does the forming in the womb. In Isaiah 44 its usage is metaphorical, but it’s easily deduced that He does so in reality too. More obviously though is Jeremiah 1:5 where God says quite explicitly that “I formed you in the belly”.
In the creation of man, God took raw material–dirt–and formed it into a living soul, after breathing into it the breath (spirit) of Life. At conception, God takes raw material–donated by a father and mother–and does the same thing. It is His work and only He can do it. Yet, there’s more.
Ecc. 11:5 “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”
Zec.12:1 “…Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him…”
We are tripartite beings: Body, Soul and Spirit (I Thes.5:23). And while we, as proud, young parents, might like to take a lot of credit for our children, the real work was done by God. We only supplied parts, but His contribution was all the labor. So God truly is the Father of Life. All life originates with Him and is impossible without Him.
A new life also begins at baptism as we are told in Romans 6. A new spirit is given by God, but this time it’s His own Spirit. God does the work in the womb and He also does the work in baptism. Col.2:12 calls it the powerful working of God! So, in spite of what many might have you believe, immersion is not a human work. After all, we are just getting dunked in water–hardly work. God does the heavy lifting through His son Jesus Christ.
Is this any different from our physical births? I donated sperm and my wife an egg…that is all. God made a child. He does the exact same thing in the new birth. A willing sinner is dipped in water…that is all. God makes him or her a child of faith–renewed, a new creation as guiltless as…
A Newborn Babe.