Other Details of Creation Part 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on Genesis)
by John Lowe
Now here is something truly worthy of noting; the Lord God formed man. All the other creatures were said to be created and made; but of man is unique in that he was formed, which signifies a gradual process carried out with great accuracy. To express the creation of this new thing, he uses a new word, a word (some think) borrowed from the potter’s forming his vessel upon the wheel; for we are the clay, and God the potter—“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand” (Isaiah 64:8; KJV). Observe:
1. The body of man is curiously wrought—“My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalms 139:15-16; KJV).
2. Let us present our bodies to God as living sacrifices—“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1; KJV).
3. Let us present our bodies to God as living temples—“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Cor 6:19; KJV).
4. And then these vile bodies shall shortly be new-formed like Christ’s glorious body—“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself” (Phil 3:21; KJV).
This is the method God used to create man, and He has not told us much about it. Physically, man was taken out of the ground. It is quite interesting that our bodies are made up of about fifteen or sixteen chemical elements. Those same chemical elements are found in the ground. The physical part of man was taken out of the dust of the ground. If we were to be boiled down into the separate chemical elements of which we are made, we would be worth very little in terms of money. I used to say $2.98, but inflation has increased that figure a little. That is the extent of our bodily worth because we were made out of the dust of the ground.
The Hebrew words for man is adam, and ground, is adamah.
DUST — loose earth. God fashioned Adam out of the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7). Because he led people to sin, the serpent was cursed to eat dust as he crawled on his belly (Gen. 3:14). Dust was poured upon the head as a sign of mourning. Dust is also used as a symbol for a numberless multitude (Gen. 13:16), for death (Gen. 3:19; Job 10:9; Eccl. 12:7), and the grave (Dan. 12:2).
GROUND. Man made from, Gen. 2:7; 3:19, 23; Job 4:19; 33:6. Animals from, Gen. 2:19. Vegetables from, Gen. 2:9. Cursed, Gen. 3:17; 5:29.
FORMED. GOD FORMED MAN OUT OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND. Science has proved that the substance of his flesh, sinews, and bones, consists of the very same elements as the soil which forms the crust of the earth and the limestone that lies embedded in its bowels. But from that common material what an admirable structure has been erected in the human body (Ps 139:14).
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
Man’s life came from the breath of God—“and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” God had previously breathed the heavens into existence by His omnipotent word—“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Ps 33:6; KJV). Later, He would breathe out the Holy Scriptures—“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16; KJV). But here He breathes the breath of life into the lifeless body of the first man, the non-physical, non-material part of man. Such a breath could only come from God, the Giver of life.
Man is made from dust, but he is more than dust. Physically, he is made from dust and he will turn into dust when he dies, but his spirit is going to God. Why? Because God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” God breathed into him “the breath of life.” God gave man life which is physical and psychological, and then He gave him life which is spiritual. In other words, man now is brought into a marvelous relationship with his Creator. He has in his being a capacity for God. This is what separates man from all other creatures that are found in God’s universe, as far as we know. Of course, there are the angels, but we know very little about them.
The theistic evolutionists say that mankind evolved up to this point, and then God began to work with this product of evolution. However, no form of evolutionary theory can account for human speech, it cannot account for human conscience, and it cannot account for human individuality. These are three things with which evolution has a little difficulty. It is mighty easy to take the bones of a man and compare them to the bones of some anthropoid, probably an ape, or to a horse. There is a striking similarity, I am sure, and yet there is a wide divergence also. I would expect that there would be a certain similarity because these creatures are to move in the same environment in which we move as human beings—naturally, the framework would have to be the same. For example, there is a very striking similarity between the chassis of a Ford automobile and that of a Chevrolet automobile, but you had better not say that to the Ford Motor Company or to General Motors! They will tell you that there is a wide difference between the two. But there is a very striking similarity when you see the chassis. You must begin with something fixed on which you can put four wheels, one on each corner, and it must be rectangular to a certain extent. Why? Because the Ford and the Chevrolet are both going to get stuck on the freeway at five o’clock in the afternoon. A car must be able to balance, and it must have a motor to move it. So you would have a similarity, but that does not mean they came out of the same factory. I feel that such an exaggeration has been made of the similarity between man and these other creatures. Man is a different creature. God breathed into his breathing places the breath of life, and man became a living soul. Man is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that is something which we need to keep in mind.
BREATH — air drawn into the body to sustain life. Since breathing is the most obvious sign of life, the phrase “breath of life” is used frequently in the Bible to mean “alive” or “living” (Gen. 2:7; 6:17). Breath is recognized as the gift of God to His creatures (Job 12:10). But since breath is usually invisible, it also may symbolize something without substance or a temporary state of existence (Ps. 144:4).
In a different sense, the “breath of God” (Job 37:10) signifies God’s power. This stands in striking contrast to heathen gods, which have neither power nor life. The word “breath” may be used figuratively, as when Jesus “breathed” the Holy Spirit upon His disciples (John 20:22).
and man became a living soul.
A better translation for this phrase would be “and man became a living creature or person,” Here, “soul” is not a reference to the concept of body, soul/spirit, but rather to the fact that man became a “living” being. Man is distinguished from animals by being created in the image of God, and also by possessing a soul/spirit. The soul itself is a creation of God, and every human body comes with a soul. It has as its origin, the breath of heaven. It was not made from the earth, as the body was; it is a pity then when a soul mixes with the earth, and is mindful of earthly things. It came directly from God and He gave it to be put into the body—“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:7; KJV). Therefore, God is not only the former but the Father of spirits. Let the soul which God has breathed into us breathe after him; and let it be for him, since it is from him. Into his hands let us commit our spirits, since we received them from his hands.
In this distinct manner God shows us that man is a compound being, having a body and soul distinct from each other and created separately; the body from the dust of the earth, the soul from the breath of God. This is proof that the soul and body is not the same thing? The body derives its origin from the earth and due to its organic nature, it is decomposable and perishable. It is said of the soul, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life or the breath of LIVES, i.e., animal and intellectual. While this breath of God expanded the lungs and put them in operation, His inspiration gave both spirit and understanding.
The soul lives in a house of clay, and is the life and support of it. It is what makes man a living soul, that is, a living man; for the reason that the soul is the man. The body would be a worthless, useless, disgusting carcass, if the soul did not animate it. To God that gave us these souls we must shortly give an account of them, how we have employed them, used them, and disposed of them; and if it should be found that we have lost them, though we were to gain the whole world, we shall be more miserable than any other. Since the origin of the soul is so noble, and its nature and abilities are so excellent, let us not be like those fools that despise their own souls, by preferring their bodies over their souls—“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul…” (Prov 15:32; KJV).