Creation of the earth and man #16 Formation of man #8 Dust, flesh, blood,breathing and life

Flesh, be-nephesh-u, with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”

This teaches that blood is the nephesh, or life of the flesh; hence it continues,

“and surely your blood, lah-nephesh-tikam, for your lives will I require”. {1. Gen. 9:5.}

We often find life put for blood, and blood for life, as elsewhere in the context.

“Be sure that thou eat not the blood, for the blood is the nephesh or life; and thou mayest not eat the life, nephesh, with the flesh.” {2  Deut. 12:23.}

File:Grafik blutkreislauf.jpg
The human circulatory system. Red indicates oxygenated blood, blue indicates deoxygenated.
File:Example of a pig carcass in the dry decay stage of decomposition.jpg
Example of a pig carcass (Sus scrofa) in the dry/remains stage of decomposition. All that remains is skin and bone and the surrounding vegetation is beginning to grow over the carcass.

But, to this it might be objected, that if the blood be the life, then so long as it is in the body it ought to live; on the contrary it dies with the blood in it. True. Moses, however, does not teach the dogma of an abstract vital principle; but life, the result and consequence of the decomposition and re-combination of the elements of certain compounds. The blood abstractly considered is not life; yet relatively, it is “the life of the flesh”. The following testimony will show the sense in which the phrase “the blood is the life” is used.

“I will set my face against that soul that eateth blood. For the life of the flesh is IN the blood itself. I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for nephesh-tikem, your lives: for it is the blood that atones, be-nephesh, for the soul” or life.

“Whosoever catcheth any fowl that may be eaten, he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof. Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh; for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof.” {3.  Lev. 17:11–14.}

Nothing can be plainer than this.

There are three kinds of living manifestations, which are characterized by the nature of the organization, or being, through which they occur. Hence, we have vegetable life, animal life, and incorruptible life. The last is immortality: because the body through which the life is manifested, being incorruptible, never wears out; so that being once put into motion by the spirit of God, it lives for ever. Vegetable and animal life, on the contrary, is terrainable or mortal; because the materials through which it is revealed are perishably organized. Mortality, then, is life manifested through a corruptible body; and immortality, life manifested through an incorruptible body. Hence, the necessity laid down in the saying of the apostle,

“This corruptible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal put on immortality”,

before death can be

“swallowed up in victory”. {4 . 1 Cor. 15:53, 54.}

This doctrine of “life and incorruptibility” (ζωὴ χαὶ ὰδθαρσία) was new to the Greeks and Romans; and brought to light only through the gospel of the kingdom and name of Jesus Christ. It was to them foolishness; and is to the moderns incredible, because they understand not the glad tidings of the age to come.

Incorruptible life might with equal propriety be styled spiritual life, as indicative of that with which spiritual bodies are endowed. But here I use not the word spiritual, lest it should be confounded with that intellectual and moral life a man possesses when the “incorruptible seed” of the kingdom takes root in his heart; and when, in “obedience of faith”, he passes from under the sentence of death to the sentence of justification unto life eternal. But, at present, we have to do with animal or natural life, which is all the life the fleshly sons of the first Adam can boast of. Enough, however, I think has been advanced to show the scriptural import of the text already quoted, that

“the Lord God formed man, the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives, and man became a living soul”.

The simple, obvious, and undogmatic meaning of this, is, that the dust was first formed into “clay”, which was then modelled by Jehovah Elohim into the form of the soul called “man”, as a potter shapes the substance of his vessels. Thus, Elihu said to Job,

“I also am formed out of the clay” {5 Job. 33:6.}

and again,

“We are the clay, and thou our potter; and we are all the work of thy hand”. {6Isaiah 64:8.}

 

The fashioning of the clay being accomplished in all its component parts, which in the aggregate constitute man; that is, the dust being animalized, and then organized, the next thing was to set all the parts of this exquisite mechanism into motion. This was effected by the inrush of the air through his nostrils into his lungs according to the natural laws. This phenomenon was the neshemet el, or “breath of God”, breathing into him; and as it was the pabulum of life to all creatures formed from the dust, it is very expressively styled “the breath of lives” in the plural number. Some imagine that Jehovah Elohim placed His mouth to the nostrils of the as yet clay-cold man-soul prostrate before Him, and so breathed into them. Be this as it may; of this, however, we are without doubt, that God breathes into every man at his birth the breath of lives to this day; and I see no scriptural reason why we should deny that He breathed it into Adam as He hath done into the nostrils of his posterity, namely, by the operation of the natural, or pneumatic, laws. Hitherto, man, though a soul formed from the ground, had been inanimate; but, as soon as he began to respire, like the embryo passing from foetal to infant life, he “became a living soul”, not an everliving, but simply nephesh chayiah, a living breathing frame, or body of life.

– Thomas, D. J. Elpis Israel: an exposition of the Kingdom of God (electronic ed., pp. 35–37). Birmingham, UK: The Christadelphian.

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Notes and Bible quotes:

1. Genesis 9:5 (ESV): And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

2. Deuteronomy 12:23 (ESV): 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.

3. Leviticus 17:11–14 (ESV): 11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. 12 Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, No person among you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger who sojourns among you eat blood.

13 “Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. 14 For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off.

4. 1 Corinthians 15:53–55 (ESV): 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

5. Job 33:6 (ESV): Behold, I am toward God as you are; I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.

6. Isaiah 64:8 (ESV): But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

 

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Preceding:

Creation of the earth and man #12 Formation of man #4 Constitution of man

Creation of the earth and man #13 Formation of man #5 Living soul

Creation of the earth and man #14 Formation of man #6 The Uncreated One, neshemet ruach chayim and nephesh

Creation of the earth and man #15 Formation of man #7 Living creatures of the natural world

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Additional reading:

  1. Two states of existence before God
  2. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  3. What is life?
  4. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  5. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  6. Is there an Immortal soul
  7. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  8. Dying or not
  9. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  10. The Soul not a ghost
  11. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

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Further reading

  1. Life-form
  2. Mortality
  3. Causes of Mortality over Time
  4. Heartless Immortal
  5. Uneasy Feelings
  6. Death demands a reality
  7. You are Gods
  8. We are all sinners and will always be sinners
  9. Look Up And Shout!!
  10. Memento Mori
  11. Its not the end..-mortal..immortal
  12. Christian Confusion: Two Degrees of Sin
  13. Beauty and eternity
  14. Living Life
  15. Meditation 12: Remember Death (memento mori)
  16. Fully Alive
  17. Freckled Jack O’Lantern
  18. into the darkness
  19. Incorruptibility
  20. on incorruptibility
  21. John Chrysostom: “For verily in this we groan, longing to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven”
  22. Athanasius of Alexandria: God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption
  23. Irenaeus of Lyons: What other visible fruit is there of the invisible Spirit than the rendering of the flesh mature and capable of incorruption?
  24. Irenaeus of Lyons: The breath of life rendered man an animated being, and the vivifying Spirit caused him to become spiritual

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