Consider a possible echo of Scripture in a letter of Paul, namely, Ezekiel 37:1-14 in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49. This connection occurred to me in my recent wrestling with Troels Engberg-Pedersen’s Cosmology and Self in Paul, which prompted me to ask, “If it’s not principally for Stoic reasons, why does Paul describe the resurrection body as a ‘σῶμα πνευματικόν’?” The answer that eventually occurred to me is that Paul’s description of the resurrection body is an allusion to Ezekiel 37:1-14, which is the subtext for the whole of 1 Cor 15:35-49. However, to my surprise, and despite no little effort, I’ve yet to track down any exegesis of this section which explicitly flags that dependence.
The link between these passages seems straightforward enough: Ezekiel 37 is the OT text par excellence for the trope of resurrection, which of course occurs there through the Spirit’s working in and through humanity: “δώσω πνεῦμά μου εἰς ὑμᾶς καὶ ζήσεσθε” (Ezek. 37:6, cf. also 37:10, 14). It’s no surprise that when Paul describes the resurrected body, he chooses “πνευματικός” as a summary term for the human being as revived, reordered, and reoriented by the LORD’s Spirit. (Cf. also Rom 8:11 for the same thought, if not under the same description, and cf. 1 Thess 4:8 for an allusion to Ezekiel 37:5 in reference to the gift of the Spirit to the baptized.) And his having Ezekiel 37 in mind would make sense of Paul’s use of “πνευματικόν” to denote, not composition out of “spirit” (pace Engberg-Pedersen) but rather transformation or direction by the Spirit, since that’s just what Ezekiel 37 describes (or so it seems to me).
Now, I know that Paul’s most explicit engagement with the OT in this section is with Genesis 2:7 (1 Cor 15:45) — my suggestion is that he’s reading Genesis 2 through Ezekiel 37. (The noisy echo of Genesis 2:7 (LXX) in Ezekiel 37:5 (LXX) perhaps creates some exegetical pressure in that direction quite apart from Paul’s own interests.) Genesis 2:7 tells Paul that “ὁ θεὸς…ἐνεφύσησεν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ πνοὴν ζωῆς καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν”; the last phrase is clearly on Paul’s mind in 1 Cor 15:45. But if Genesis 2 is all that Paul has in view in 1 Cor 15:45ff., then a couple of things are still puzzling:
1) Since the πνοὴν ζωῆς (which might be in part the basis for Paul’s saying of the second Adam, “[ἐγένετο] εἰς πνεῦμα ζῳοποιοῦν”) is logically and temporally prior to the “ψυχὴν ζῶσαν,” why does he immediately insist that the “ψυχικόν” comes first, and then the “πνευματικόν”? (1 Cor 15:46) Perhaps it’s because he has in mind Ezekiel’s vision of Israel as “dead” in exile, already east of Eden (so to speak), to whom God promises, “ἐγὼ φέρω εἰς ὑμᾶς πνεῦμα ζωῆς” (Ezek 37:5). (Additionally, this verse, while still echoing Genesis 2:7, is verbally closer than Genesis to Paul’s formulation in 1 Cor 15:45.)
And 2) Genesis 2 alone doesn’t explain why it’s only at the resurrection that the second Adam becomes “πνευματικός.” Just before his discussion of Genesis 2:7, Paul writes, “σπείρεται σῶμα ψυχικόν ἐγείρεται σῶμα πνευματικόν εἰ ἔστιν σῶμα ψυχικόν ἔστιν καὶ πνευματικόν” (1 Cor 15:44), and it seems to me that he intends this same logic to apply in the following verse (“οὕτως καὶ”). Genesis 2:7 doesn’t include any indications of either death or resurrection, for the obvious reason that death is still in Adam’s future. But if Ezekiel 37 is on Paul’s mind as a kind of post-lapsum recapitulation of the creation narrative from Genesis 2, then Paul’s reasoning clear and cogent. (I’m beginning to wonder if Paul’s “γέγραπται” doesn’t encompass Genesis 2 and Ezekiel 37 (esp. v. 5) at once…)