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Were Jesus and the Holy Spirit present at creation?


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Philip Kosloski - published on 05/25/24

While Jesus isn't named in the Bible in the book of Genesis, the doctrine of the Trinity teaches that Father, Son and Spirit were all present in the beginning.

When reading the Old Testament, it can be easy to forget that the Holy Trinity is present through all the events of salvation history.

This means that Jesus and the Holy Spirit were present, though not fully revealed to us, in every event mentioned in the Bible.

The Word at creation

St. John begins his gospel by proclaiming that the truth that Jesus was present at creation, referred to as “the Word”:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:1-5

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that creation was a work of the Holy Trinity, including Jesus:

The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him “all things were created, in heaven and on earth.. . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

CCC 291

In the tradition of Eastern Orthodox Christians, it is Jesus who is visually represented in icons of the Creation. It is a helpful reminder that creation was indeed an act of the Trinity.

The Breath of God

The Holy Spirit can be more clearly seen in the book of Genesis, as the Bible begins by stating how the “Spirit of God” hovered over creation:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:1-2

The Hebrew word used by the biblical writer wasruah, and Christian theologians have repeatedly pointed to it as the first reference to the Holy Spirit. Lea Sestieri wrote in her article “The Jewish Roots of the Holy Spirit”: “Although in Jewish scripture the Holy Spirit is never presented as a person but rather as a divine power capable of transforming the human being and the world, the fact remains that Christian pneumatological terminology is rooted in that of the Jewish religion.”

She continues, “The term ‘Spirit’ translates the Hebrew word ‘Ruah,’ which in its primary sense means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God’s breath the divine Spirit’ (CCC 691).”

The Trinity may not be specifically named in the book of Genesis, but it is clear that they are there, present throughout all time and for all eternity.

BibleHoly SpiritJesus Christ
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