In The Beginning, Temptation and the Fall of God's Perfect Order

A daily devotion for April 11th

What Is Man?

...the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7

Here is a wonderfully condensed account of some tremendously significant things. I do not think we need to quibble over just how God formed the body of man. Did He pile dirt together, wet it with water to make a kind of a mud statue, and then breathe life into it? No one knows. Certainly when we consider the miracle of conception and birth, we need not ask about the ability of God to make man in His own remarkable way. Perhaps the event occurred along the line of the development of birth. I do not think we need to be concerned over some of the questions that people in the past have beat each other over the head with. Whether Adam had a navel is of little significance. What we are told here is that there are three divisions of man.

God first made the body of man, and He made it of the dust of the earth. Certainly it is true that the same elements that are found in the dust of the ground are found also in the body of humans. It is shown to be a fact, because it is to dust that we return.

We may not fully understand all that is involved in these pregnant sentences about the formation of man's body, but it is important to notice that though the body of man was evidently formed first, the text does not say the body but rather God formed man from the dust of the ground (italics added). I think that has significance. Man is more than a body. He is not merely an animated piece of beef steak, a hunk of meat with a nervous system. He is more than body; he is soul as well as body. The functions of the soul are wonderfully linked to those of the body in ways that we have not even begun to fathom.

For instance, the functions of the soul (largely reason, emotion, and will), are also functions of our physical life. Reason is related to the brain, for it is only as the brain operates that reason occurs. Glands have great power over our emotional life. Thus, the functions of the soul are tied most remarkably to the body, and no one fully understands the mystery of it. In the forming of man, God made body and soul together, with the capacities for function of the soul lying dormant within the body of man.

Then, into this body with an inactive soul, He breathed a living spirit through the nostrils. The phrase breath of life in the Hebrew means a spirit of life. The word for breath and spirit are the same, so that this is more than simply a picture of God's breathing into man's nostrils. This is not face-to-face resuscitation; it is the impartation of a spirit into man. The spirit is our essential nature. It is this that distinguishes man so remarkably from the animal creation. Thus, as man comes into being, he comes full-orbed, as a threefold being, existing in body, soul, and spirit.

I praise you, Lord, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made!

Life Application

Much like a light bulb requires electricity to function, so our threefold humanity is designed to use the living Spirit of Christ to function properly. How's our Light output?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Making of Man

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