Jerry C. Brewer
Whether physical or spiritual, all life, and that which sustains and brings it to fruition, springs from seed, The material creation in which all men live was begun by miracle and is propagated by the germ of life implanted in the seed of all living things by the Holy Spirit. Moses described the creation in this way: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:1-2). The three Persons of the Godhead—Elohim (plural) in the Hebrew—all functioned in the creation. That is evident from Genesis 1:1-2, John 1:3, and Hebrews 1:1-2. The Holy Spirit’s work in the Genesis account is described as bringing life from the primal elements of creation and placing the germ of life in the seed of all living things. When Moses wrote that, “the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters,” he did not mean mere “motion.” The word “moved” was given to him to indicate a specific action to accomplish the generation of life.
In his comments on this passage, Adam Clarke wrote, “Moved (‘merachepheth’) was brooding over; for the word expresses that tremulous motion made by the hen while either hatching her eggs or fostering her young. It here probably signifies the communicating a vital or prolific principle to the waters” (Old Testament Commentary, Genesis, p. 17).
The germ of life, or what Clarke terms the “vital or prolific principle,” was directly implanted in all living things by the Holy Spirit. Having completed that work, the Holy Spirit ceased His production of life and the fruit thereof through direct means and continued its propagation through seed. “And God said, let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself upon the earth: and it was so” (Gen. 1:11).
God’s spiritual creation was begun, and continues, in the same fashion, and John’s language regarding Christ’s work of redemption is analogous to that of Moses’ account of material creation (cf Gen 1:1; John 1:1). The church was begun by miracle (Acts 2:1-4) and continues to be propagated through seed and that seed is the word of God in which the Spirit implanted life. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).
Jesus did not mean that the Holy Spirit is the word of God, or that the word of God is the Holy Spirit. The medium through which all physical life is perpetuated is seed and the medium through which the church is perpetuated is seed. Jesus used metaphorical language, indicating that spiritual life is in words which the Holy Spirit revealed and said, “the seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11). The germ of spiritual life inheres in the word of God, placed there by the same Omnipotent hand that placed physical life in the seed of all living things. Upon this premise, we affirm that every action that the Holy Spirit exerts upon the alien sinner or the child of God is begun, carried on, and consummated only through the word of God.
In Matthew’s account of the parable of the sower, Jesus called the seed, “the word of the kingdom” (Matt. 13:19). He used the universally recognized, and understood, natural process of sowing and reaping to illustrate how the Holy Spirit works in the spiritual realm—through seed—but in none of the soils did the Holy Spirit directly implant life, or produce fruit. The Holy Spirit infused life into the seed “in the beginning” and, in every case in the parable, the germination and fruition of that seed depended upon the soil, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has completed His work.
That which fell upon “the wayside” failed to develop because the soil would not receive it, not because there was no life in the seed. There was some development of that which fell upon the rocky ground, but it did not come to fruition. Why? The soil received the seed, but did not have sufficient depth to retain and nourish it. That which fell among thorns partook of the same soil which nourished the thorns, but was choked out by them because the soil nourished the thorns to the neglect of the good seed. But that which fell of good soil sprang up and, “bare fruit a hundredfold” (Luke 8:8). It was the same seed from the same source that came to fruition in the good soil, but found unfavorable conditions in the others. The deficiency of some soils did not negate the sufficiency of the seed, nor did the seed need additional help from the Holy Spirit “in conjunction with” it.
Now, to hear some preachers today—particularly Mac Deaver and his followers— one would think the Holy Spirit Himself was in that good soil “in conjunction with the word of God.” From whence sprang that hundredfold fruit? From the Holy Spirit working “in conjunction with” the seed? Did that seed need additional, direct, help in bearing germinating and bearing fruit?
Did the Holy Spirit reside in, and operate upon, western Oklahoma soil when my grandfather produced a cotton crop? Certainly not! During the Dust Bowl in 1935, Grandpa produced only one bale of cotton. Where was the direct help of the Holy Spirit then? All of Grandpa’s cotton was produced by seed in which the Holy Spirit had placed the germ of life. That single bale of cotton in 1935 was the fault of the dry soil, not the Holy Spirit. Life was in that cotton seed and it would have produced abundantly, but for the condition of the soil. If I believed the Holy Spirit exerts a direct influence upon the alien sinner or the child of God today, then I would argue that the Holy Spirit exerted a direct influence upon the soil in which Grandpa planted cotton. In the physical and spiritual realms, the two cases are parallel.
This silly notion that the Holy Spirit operates in a “supra-literary” fashion upon the child of God “in conjunction with, but never separate and apart from the word” is like saying, “We went to different schools together.” “In conjunction with” is not through the word of God, and if it is not through the word of God, it is separate and apart from it. That’s an “un-get-aroundable” truth.
Men need to spend more time studying and applying the word of life—the seed of the kingdom—rather than propagating their own philosophical theories they have borrowed from the Calvinists and Pentecostals. The Holy Spirit has never effected salvation for the alien sinner, or fruit in the heart of a Christian except through the word of God. Period!