The Creation Formula (Genesis 2:7)
In taking up the statement as to man's constitution in Genesis 2:7, we would recall you to what has been said about the progressiveness of revelation. For here we have a precise instance of things being but in germ form in the first reference, needing the reflex of the later and fuller light. We would not say that this passage is a positive assertion, but more an implication. Later Scriptures bear out the implication. It will be noticed that we are not dealing with the account of man in Genesis 1:26, which rather describes God's intention for him than what actually is the case; that is, his place and office more than his being. Here is Genesis 2:7:
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives; and man became a living soul."
On the face of it, the statement appears to contradict all that we are saying, and to support the contention that man is dual or bipartite.
If we pass over to Paul's exact quotation of this passage in 1 Corinthians 15:45, we find that it is used to describe a difference between the first Adam and the last Adam. The former was made a "living soul," the latter "a life-giving spirit." This will help us. But first let us note the synthesis. There are three things:
1. The material elements: "the dust of the ground."
2. The formative factor: "the breath of lives."
3. The final issue: "man became a living soul."
We need not discuss the first; most people will accept the material side of man's being. "Adam," from "adamah", means "of the earth." (It also includes a color element: red earth.)
The second point brings us immediately to our present object. Here we have two sides or aspects.
a. "The Lord God" - the One Who effects.
b. "The breath of lives" - the means He uses.
Creation and emanation are not to be confused. When the animal part of man is in view there is nothing said which would support the idea that there is a oneness of nature between the created and the Creator. But when we are considering that part of man's being in which he is the image and likeness of God, we have a higher nature, and this is communicated, not created; the method is different. The spirit of man is not an act of creation, but rather in the nature of procreation. This breath of lives is not man's soul, but his spirit. We shall see later that this is not merely the abstract animating element which marks the difference between man as a living organism and inanimate matter, but something which, being out from God, is an organ, or faculty, as well as a function. From the general teaching of Scripture we conclude that it was the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of life, Who breathed into man, and by this breathing not only made him animate, i.e. put the body-soul, physio-psychical life, into him, but formed the link with God, for ultimate Divine purposes.
In Zechariah 12:1, we have the phrase "... the Lord... formed the spirit of man within him." The word "formeth" is the Hebrew word "yatsar", which means "to mold into form." God formed man's body out of the dust of the ground. He also formed man's spirit within him. Along with this must go the words of Hebrews 12:9, "The Father of our spirits." It is here that we are the offspring of God.
We must remember that the "pneuma," or spirit, is vested with the powers of a definite and independent entity. Look at the following instances.
"Jesus perceiving in His Spirit." (Mark 2:8).
"He sighed deeply in His Spirit." (Mark 8:12).
"My spirit hath rejoiced." (Luke 1:47).
"Jesus rejoiced in spirit." (Luke 10:21).
"worship the Father in spirit." (John 4:23).
"He groaned in the spirit." (John 11:33).
"Troubled in the spirit." (John 13:21).
"Paul was pressed in the spirit." (Acts 18:5).
"Whom I serve in my spirit." (Romans 1:9).
"Serve in newness of the spirit." (Romans 7:6).
"The spirit of the man which is in him." (1 Corinthians 2:11).
"Absent in body, present in spirit." (1 Corinthians 5:3).
"I will pray with the spirit." (1 Corinthians 14:15).
"spirits of just men made perfect." (Hebrews 12:23).
There are those who contend that spirit, or "pneuma," is just the life of the soul and body, the animating factor. We are aware that 'breath,' 'wind,' etc., are sometimes used of the same original word as 'spirit,' but so they are of 'soul.' The usage in that case is because of the invisible power and action which is represented. No one will substitute 'wind' or 'breath' for any of the above usages of 'spirit;' it would at once be meaningless and absurd.
The relationship between soul and body is one which is well beyond our power to explain. The Bible makes many definite statements on the matter, but never explains it. For instance, soul and life are often interchangeable terms, and these are repeatedly said to be in the blood. "The life is in the blood ... The blood ... is ... the life thereof" (Lev. 17:11, 14). Science has not helped us at all to understand this, but, of course, the fact is irrefutable. One thing is established - that while life properties and qualities are in the blood, after a given time they cease to be there, although the blood may still be retained. But, when we come to the matter of soul and spirit, not only are two so distinctly different words used, but these are said to be separable without either perishing, and each is vested with its own responsibility, set of faculties and destiny.
At least by inference, as the marrow is deeper than the joints, the spirit is more inward than the soul (Hebrews 4:12). As it is easier to reach the bone through the body, or flesh, so it is easier to reach the soul through the body than it is to reach the spirit through the soul. Much soul-piercing and cleaving has to be done before the spirit is really reached and dealt with. In other words, the physical senses are an easy way to the soul, but it requires the mighty energy of the Spirit of God to reach the spirit. But note, the difference between soul and spirit is only made manifest when the Word of God is driven in by the Holy Spirit's energy and might.
(continued with # 5)