For more context read my previous interactions with this book which can be found here.

The third chapter of John R. Levison’s Filled with the Spirit is titled “Spirit and New Creation in the Shadow of Death”. In many ways it is commentary on the Pneumatology of Ezekiel. He deals with the interface between Ezekiel’s call for Israel to recreate their own spirit in repentance in chapter eighteen and how that fails to occur to the point where the vision of the dry bones in the valley in chapter thirty-seven show that only the spirit of God can renew dead (exiled) Israel.

What is interesting about this transition in the Book of Ezekiel is that according to Levison it appears Ezekiel’s vision ends up much closer to Jeremiah’s (31.27-34) argument that only God can write Torah on Israel’s heart. For Ezekiel it becomes evident that exile has happened and this is a form of death that only God can overcome by his spirit (see pp. 88-94).

What is most evident is that life is not possible without spirit. Furthermore, life is not possible without God’s spirit. It seems that Levison sees Ez. 37 as functioning as more than just a prophecy about political Israel. I agree. It seems to be the ground upon which our modern doctrine of resurrection is built.

As I read through this chapter two things came to mind that I hope to see Levison address at some point: (1) Is Ezekiel’s valley of dry bones the Scriptural foundation for later thought on the resurrection of dead? and (2) As concerns Pneumatology does this signify a transition away from any idea that humans can renew their spirit without the Spirit of God? In other words, in Ezekiel have we seen this transition take place to the point where by the time Pneumatology reaches the Apostle Paul it is a work of God’s Spirit and God alone that can revive dead flesh.