Jim Hamilton

Professor of Biblical Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Regeneration and Indwelling from Garden to Glory

I was just asked a question about God’s Indwelling Presence that prompted me to write the following, which I post here for general consumption. Here’s how I think regeneration and indwelling fit in the big story of the whole Bible:

Adam was in a different state than we’re in. He was innocent and spiritually “alive” in a way that only he and Eve experienced. Once they sinned, the ydied spiritually, became deadened to God, and needed to be regenerated/made alive to be re-sensitized to the things of the Spirit.

So I’m inclined to think that regeneration re-awakens sensitivities in us that were killed when Adam sinned.

I don’t see regeneration and indwelling as the same thing: regeneration is enabling, indwelling has to do with God’s covenant presence with us.

In the garden, Adam and Eve didn’t need to be indwelt by the Spirit because they were already in God’s presence. They lost access to God’s presence when they were driven out of the garden, and God renewed his ongoing presence with his people in the tabernacle and later the temple, which experience of God’s presence is replaced by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

In the new heaven and new earth, God will have restored his people to his presence in a way that is like, and better than, what Adam and Eve enjoyed in the garden. The regeneration at that point will be completed as the redeemed inhabit glorified bodies.


About Jim Hamilton

James Hamilton serves as associate professor of biblical theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written Revelation: The Spirit Speaks to the Churches (Crossway, 2012) God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (Crossway, 2010) and God's Indwelling Presence: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Old and New Testaments (B&H, 2006). He blogs regularly at For His Renown. You can follow Dr. Hamilton on Twitter @DrJimHamilton.

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