The question posed by the Psalmist, What is man that thou art mindful of him? (Ps 8:4), is one of the most fundamental questions that anyone could consider. It is fundamental because its answer determines the way we view ourselves, this world, redemption, and our ultimate destiny.
No age knows so much and so many things about human nature as does ours, yet no age knows less about what man really is. Having lost their awareness of God, many people today are concerned primarily with their present existence. The loss of awareness of God makes many people uncertain about the meaning of life, because it is only in reference to God and His revelation that the nature and destiny of human life can be truly understood.
The question of human nature has been a consistent concern in the history of Western thought. In chapter 1 we noted that, historically, most Christians have defined human nature dualistically, that it consists of a material, mortal body and an immaterial, immortal soul which survives the body at death. Beginning with the Enlightenment (a philosophic movement of the 18th century), attempts have been made to define man as a machine that is part of a giant cosmic machine. Human beings hopelessly are trapped within a deterministic universe and their behavior is determined by such impersonal and involuntary forces as genetic factors, chemical secretions, education, upbringing, and societal conditioning. People do not have an immaterial, immortal soul, only a mortal, material body that is conditioned by the determinism of the cosmic machine.
This depressing materialistic view that reduces human beings to the status of a machine or an animal negates the Biblical view of man created in the image of God. Instead of being like God, human beings are reduced to being like an animal. Perhaps as a response to this pessimistic view, various modern pseudo-pagan cults and ideologies (like the New Age) deify human beings. Man is neither like an animal or like God, he is god. He has inner divine power and resources that await to be unleashed. This new humanistic gospel is popular today because it challenges people to seek salvation within themselves by tapping into and releasing the powers and resources that slumber within.
What we are experiencing today is a violent swing of the pendulum from an extreme materialistic view of human nature to an extreme mystic, deification view. In this context, people are confronted with two choices: Either human beings are nothing but preprogrammed machines, or they are divine with unlimited potential. The Christian response to this challenge is to be sought in the Holy Scriptures which provide the basis for defining our beliefs and practices. Our study shows that Scripture teaches we are neither preprogrammed machines nor divine beings with unlimited potential. We are creatures created in the image of God, and dependent upon Him for our existence in this world and in the world to come.
Objectives of the Chapter. This chapter seeks to understand the Old Testament view of human nature by examining four prominent anthropological terms, namely, soul, body, heart, and spirit. The various meanings and usages of these terms are analyzed to determine if any of them is ever used to denote an immaterial substance which functions independently of the body.
Our study indicates that the Old Testament does not distinguish between physical and spiritual organs, because the entire range of higher human functions such as feeling, thinking, knowing, loving, keeping God 's commandments, praising, and praying is attributed not only to the spiritual organs of the soul and spirit but also to the physical organs of the heart and, occasionally, to the kidneys and viscera. The soul (nephesh) and the spirit (ruach) are used in the Old Testament to denote, not immaterial entities capable of surviving the body at death, but a whole spectrum of physical and psychological functions.
In undertaking this investigation we must keep in mind that Bible writers were not familiar with modern physiology or psychology. They did not necessarily know, for example, that the sensation we experience when our hand touches an object is caused by nerves that transmit the information to the brain. The word brain does not occur in the English Bible. Bible writers knew nothing of the nervous system or respiratory system. For the most part, they defined human nature in terms of what they saw and felt.
This chapter is divided into five major parts. The first part examines what the creation story tells us about the original make-up of human nature. The subsequent four parts analyze the four fundamental terms of human nature that we find in the Old Testament, namely, soul, body, heart, and the spirit. Our investigation indicates that all these terms describe not wholly different substances each with its own distinct functions, but the interrelated and integrated capacities and functions of the same person. The fact that a person consists of various parts which are integrated, interrelated, and functionally united, leaves no room for the notion of the soul being distinct from the body and thus removing the basis for the belief in the survival of the soul at the death of the body.
PART I: HUMAN NATURE AT CREATION
Creation, Fall, and Redemption. In seeking to understand the Biblical view of human nature, we must recognize first that the meaning of human life is defined in Scripture in terms of creation, the fall into sin, and God 's plan of redemption. These three basic truths are fundamental for understanding the Biblical view of human nature and destiny. Chronologically, these are the first three truths we encounter in Genesis 1 through 3, where we find the first account of creation, the Fall, and redemption. Thematically, everything else in Scripture is a development of these three concepts. They provide the prism through which human existence, with all its problems, is viewed and defined.
When Jesus addressed the question of marriage and divorce, He approached it first in terms of what marriage was meant to be at creation. Then He looked at it from the perspective of the Fall, because sin explains why allowance was made for divorce (Matt 19:1-8). Similarly, Paul appeals to creation, the Fall, and redemption to explain the role distinctions between men and women (1 Cor 11:3-12; 1 Tim 2:12-14) as well as their equality in Christ (Gal 3:28).
When we view human nature from the Biblical perspective of creation, the Fall, and redemption, we immediately see that creation tells us about the original make up of human nature, the Fall about its present condition, and redemption about the restoration being accomplished in the present and consummated in the future. Thus a comprehensive Biblical definition of human nature must take into consideration what human nature was at creation, what it became after the Fall, and what it is now and will become in the future as a result of redemption.
The Creation of Man. The logical starting point for the study of the Biblical view of human nature is the account of the creation of man. We use here the term man as used in Scripture, namely, including both man and woman. The first important Biblical statement is found in Genesis 1:26-27: Then God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. ' So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
This first account of man's creation tells us that human life began not as a result of fortuitous natural forces or of a chance mutation in the animal world, but as a result of a personal creative act of God. It was after the Lord had called into existence the earth with all its vegetation and animals that He announced the making of man. It is as if people were the specific focus of God's creation. The impression conveyed by the narrative is that when God came to the creation of man, He entered into something different and distinctive.
At the end of each stage of the world's creation, God stopped to contemplate what He had wrought and to pronounce it good (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). Then God set out to create a being that could have lordship over His creation; a being with whom he could walk and talk. The adverb then at the beginning of verse 26 (RSV) suggests that the creation of man was something special. All the previous creative acts of God are presented as a continuous series linked together by the conjunction and (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24). But when the cosmic order of creation was finished and the earth was ready to sustain human life, then the Lord uttered His intention of making man. Then God said, 'Let us make man (Gen 1:26). After creating man, God pronounced His whole creation very good (Gen 1:31).
A Special Creation of God. This original, divine declaration suggests two fundamental truths: First, man is a special creation of God whose life depends upon Him. His life derives from God and continues only because of God 's mercy. This sense of continual human dependence on the Most High is basic to the Biblical understanding of human nature. God is the Creator and human beings are creatures dependent upon Him for the origin and continuance of their existence.
Second, man is distinct from God. Human beings have a temporal beginning, but God is eternal. The Lord is not man that He should die. Scripture emphasizes the contrast between the infinite attributes of God as Creator and the finite limitation of man as creature. This is an important consideration to keep in mind when defining the Biblical view of human nature. The whole divine revelation presents human beings as creatures dependent upon, but distinct from God (Is 45:11; 57:15; Job 10:8-10). Yet, despite the emphasis of man 's creaturely dependence upon God, he remains in a position of special relationship with the Creator. The distinctive character of his humanness sets him apart not only from God 's other creatures but also to and for the loving and thankful service of his Creator. 1
In the Image of God. The distinctive characteristic of man 's relation to God is expressed in the declaration of his creation in the image of God. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Gen 1:26; cf. 5:1-3; 9:6). Elaborate attempts have been made to define what the image of God is in which man was created.2 Some contend that it is a physical resemblance between God and man.3 The problem with this view is that it presupposes that God has a corporeal nature similar to that of human beings. This idea is discredited by Christ 's statement that God is Spirit (John 4:24), which suggests that He is not bound by space or matter as we are. Moreover, the Biblical terms for the physical aspect of human nature (bashar, sarx flesh, body) are never applied to God.
Others think the image of God is the non-material aspect of human nature, namely his spiritual soul. Thus R. Laird-Harris declares: Man alone in the world is a spiritual, moral, and rational being. He has a God-given soul and the inference is that this soul, being made in the image of God, is not subject to the limits of time and space. 4 In a similar vein, Calvin affirms: It cannot be doubted that the proper seat of the image is the soul, though he adds that there is no part of man, not even his body, which is not adorned with some rays of its glory. 5 This view presupposes a dualism between body and soul which is not warranted by the Genesis account of creation. Man did not receive a soul from God; he was made a living soul. Moreover, in the creation story the animals also are spoken of as having within them a living soul, yet, they were not created in the image of God.
Some interpret the image of God in man as being the combination of human maleness and femaleness.6 The basis for this interpretation is primarily the proximity of the expression male and female he created them to the phrase in the image of God he created him (Gen 1:27). Undoubtedly, there is some theological truth in the notion that the image of God is reflected in the male-female fellowship as equals. But the problem with this interpretation is that it makes too much of too little by reducing the image of God exclusively to the male-female fellowship as equals.
The interpretation of the image of God as being the combination of human maleness and femaleness has led some to make God into an androgynous Being, half male and half female. This view is foreign to the Bible since God does not need a female counterpart to complete his identity. An action of God is sometimes compared to that of a compassionate mother (Is 49:15), but the person of God is revealed, especially through Jesus Christ, as that of our Father.
Image as Capacity to Reflect God. In our view, the image of God is associated not with man as male and female, or with an immortal soul given to our species, but rather with humankind 's capacity to be and to do on a finite level what God is and does on an infinite level. The creation account seems to be saying that while the sun rules the day, the moon the night, and the fishes the sea, mankind images God by having dominion over all theese realms (Gen 1:28-30).
In the New Testament, the image of God in humanity is never associated with male-female fellowship, or physical resemblance, or a nonmaterial, spiritual soul, but rather with moral and rational capacities: Put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator (Col 3:10; cf. Eph 4:24). Similarly, conformity to the image of Christ (Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 15:49) is generally understood in terms of righteousness and holiness. None of these qualities is possessed by animals. What distinguishes people from animals is the fact that human nature inherently has godlike possibilities. By virtue of being created in the image of God, human beings are capable of reflecting His character in their own life.
Being created in the image of God means that we must view ourselves as intrinsically valuable and richly invested with meaning, potential, and responsibilities. It means that we have been created to reflect God in our thinking and actions. We are to be and to do on a finite scale what God is and does on an infinite scale.
The Bible never mentions immortality in connection with the image of God in man. The tree of life represented immortality in fellowship with the Creator, but as a result of sin, Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, thus being deprived of access to the source of continuous life in His presence of God.
Why should the image be found in immortality any more than in omniscience, omnipotence, or omnipresence? None of these other divine attributes have been ascribed to man as part of the image of God, even before the Fall. Nothing in Scripture suggests that man images God by possessing divine attributes, like immortality. No valid reasons exist for singling out immortality as the one divine attribute intended by the phrase image of God. On the contrary, much in Scripture denies it, as we shall see.
Genesis 2:7: A Living Soul. The second important Biblical statement for understanding human nature is found in Genesis 2:7. It is not surprising that this text forms the basis of much of the discussion regarding human nature, since it provides the only Biblical account of how God created man. The text reads: Then God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Historically, this text has been read through the lenses of classical dualism. It has been assumed that the breath of life God breathed into man 's nostrils was simply an immaterial, immortal soul that God implanted into the material body. And just as earthly life began with the implantation of an immortal soul into a physical body, so it ends when the soul departs from the body. Thus Genesis 2:27 has been historically interpreted on the basis of the traditional body-soul dualism.
What has led to this mistaken and misleading interpretation is the fact that the Hebrew word nephesh, translated soul in Genesis 2:7, has been understood according to the standard Webster 's definition for soul: The immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life. Or The spiritual principle embodied in human beings. 7 This standard definition reflects the Platonic view of the soul psyche as being an immaterial, immortal essence that abides in the body, though it is not part of it.
This prevailing view causes people to read the Old Testament references to the soul nephesh in the light of Platonic dualism rather than of Biblical wholism. As Claude Tresmontant puts it, By applying to the Hebrew nephesh [soul] the characteristics of the Platonic psyche [soul], . . . we let the real meaning of nephesh [soul] escape us and furthermore, we are left with innumerable pseudo-problems. 8
People who read the Old Testament references to nephesh (which in the King James version are translated 472 times as soul ) with a dualistic mind-set, will have great difficulty in understanding the Biblical wholistic view of human nature. According to this, the body and the soul are the same person seen from different perspectives. They will experience problems with accepting the Biblical meaning of the soul as the animating principle of both human and animal life. Furthermore, they will be at a loss to explain those passages that speak of a dead person as a dead soul nephesh (Lev 19:28; 21:1, 11; 22:4; Num 5:2; 6:6,11; 9:6, 7, 10; 19:11, 13; Hag 2:13). For them it is inconceivable that an immortal soul could die with the body.
The Meaning of Living Soul. The prevailing assumption that the human soul is immortal has led many to interpret the phrase man became a living soul (Gen 2:7 KJV) to mean that man obtained a living soul. This interpretation has been challenged by numerous scholars who are sensitive to the confusion regarding the difference between the Greek-dualistic and the Biblical-wholistic conception of human nature.
Audrey Johnson, for example, explains that nephesh soul in Genesis 2:7 denotes the whole man, with an emphasis on his consciousness and vitality.9 Similarly, Johannes Pedersen speaking of the creation of man in his classic study Israel, writes: The basis of his essence was the fragile corporeal substance, but by the breath of God it was transformed and became a nephesh, a soul. It is not said that man was supplied with a nephesh, and so the relation between body and soul is quite different from what it is to us. Such as he is, man in his total essence is a soul. 10
Pedersen continues by noting that in the Old Testament we are constantly confronted with the fact that man, as such, is a soul. Abraham started for Canaan with his property and all the souls he had gotten (Gen 12:5), and when Abraham had taken booty on his warlike expedition against the great kings, the King of Sodom exhorted him to yield the souls and keep the goods (Gen 14:21). Seventy souls of the house of Jacob came to Egypt (Gen 46:27; Ex 1:5). Whenever a census is taken, the question always is: How many souls are there? In these and in numerous other places we may substitute persons for souls. 11
Commenting on Genesis 2:7, Hans Walter Wolff asks: What does nephesh [soul] mean here? Certainly not soul [in the traditional dualistic sense]. Nephesh was designed to be seen together with the whole form of man, and especially with his breath; moreover man does not have nephesh [soul], he is nephesh [soul], he lives as nephesh [soul]. 12 The fact that the soul in the Bible stands for the whole living person is recognized even by Catholic scholar Dom Wulstan Mork who expresses himself in similar terms: It is nephesh [soul] that gives life to the bashar [body], but not as a distinct substance. Adam doesn 't have nephesh [soul]; he is nephesh [soul], just as he is bashar [body]. The body, far from being divided from its animating principle, is the visible nephesh [soul]. 13
From a Biblical perspective, the body and the soul are not two different substances (one mortal and the other immortal) abiding together within one human being, but two characteristics of the same person. Johannes Pedersen admirably sums up this point by a statement that has become proverbial: The body is the soul in its outward form. 14 The same view is expressed by H. Wheeler Robinson in an equally famous statement: The Hebrew idea of personality is that of an animated body, not (like the Greek) that of an incarnate soul. 15
Summing up, we can say that the expression man became a living soul (nephesh hayyah) does not mean that at creation his body was endowed with an immortal soul, a separate entity, distinct from the body. Rather, it means that as a result of the divine inbreathing of the breath of life into the lifeless body, man became a living, breathing being, no more, no less. The heart began to beat, the blood to circulate, the brain to think, and all the vital signs of life were activated. Simply stated, a living soul means a living being.
The practical implications of this definition are brought out in a suggestive way by Dom Wulstan Mork: Man as nephesh [soul] means that it is his nephesh [soul] that goes to dinner, that tackles a steak and eats it. When I see another person, what I see is not merely his body, but his visible nephesh [soul], because, in the terms of Genesis 2:7, that is what man is a living nephesh. The eyes have been called 'the window of the soul. ' This is actually dichotomy. The eyes, as long as they belong to the living person, are in themselves the revelation of the soul. 16
Animals as Living Souls. The meaning of living soul as simply living being is supported by the use of the same phrase living soul (nephesh hayyah) for animals. In our KJV Bible, this phrase appears for the first time in Genesis 2:7 when the creation of Adam is described. But we should note that this is not the first time that phrase occurs in the Hebrew Bible. We also find it in Genesis 1:20, 21, 24, and 30. In all four of these verses living soul (nephesh hayyah) refers to animals, but translators of most English versions have chosen to translate it living creature rather than living soul. The same is true in several other passages after Genesis 2:7, where animals are referred to as living creatures rather than living souls (Gen 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15, 16; Lev 11:46).
Why do the translators of most English versions render the same Hebrew phrase nephesh hayyah as living soul when it refers to man and living creatures when it refers to animals? The reason is simple. They are conditioned by the belief that human beings have an immaterial, immortal soul which animals do not have. Consequently, they use the word soul for man and creature for animal to translate the same Hebrew nephesh. Norman Snaith finds this most reprehensible and says . . . it is a grave reflection on the Revisers [translators of the Authorized version] that they retained this misleading difference in translation. . . . The Hebrew phrase should be translated exactly the same way in both cases. To do otherwise is to mislead all those who do not read Hebrew. There is no excuse and no proper defense. The tendency to read 'immortal soul ' into Hebrew nephesh and to translate accordingly is very ancient, and can be seen in the Septuagint . . . 17
Basil Atkinson, a former Librarian at Cambridge University, offers the same explanation. Our translators [of the Authorized Version] have concealed this fact from us, presumably because they were so bound by current theological notions of the meaning of the word 'soul, ' that they dared not translate by it a Hebrew word that referred to animals, although they have used it in the margin [of the Authorized Version] at verses 20 and 30. In these verses we find 'the moving creature, even living soul ' (Heb.) (ver. 20); 'every living soul (Heb. nephesh) that moveth ' (ver. 21); 'Let the earth bring forth the living soul (Heb. nephesh) after his kind ' (ver. 24); 'and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is living soul ' (Heb. nephesh) (ver. 30). 18
The use of nephesh-soul in these verses to refer to all sorts of animals clearly shows that nephesh is not an immortal soul given to man, but the animating principle of life or the life-breath which is present in both man and animals. Both are characterized as souls in contradistinction to the plants. The reason plants are not souls is presumably because they do not have organs that allow them to breathe, to feel pain and joy, or to move about in search of food. What distinguishes the human soul from that of animals is the fact that humans were created in God 's image, that is, with godlike possibilities unavailable to animals.
The important point to note at this juncture is that both man and animal are souls. As Atkinson puts it, They [man and animals] are not bipartite creatures consisting of a soul and a body which can separate and go on subsisting. Their soul is the whole of them and comprises their body as well as their mental powers. They are spoken of as having soul, that is, conscious being, to distinguish them from inanimate objects that have no life. In the same way we can say in English that a man or an animal is a conscious being and has conscious being. 19 The term soul nephesh is used for both people and animals because both are conscious beings. They both share the same animating life-principle or life-breath.
Soul and Blood. In addition to the four passages we have considered in Genesis 1, there are 19 others in the Old Testament where the word nephesh is applied to animals. We want to look at two of them because they help to clarify further the meaning of living soul in Genesis 2:7. These passages are of special interest because they associate nephesh with blood. In Leviticus 17:11, we read: For the life of the flesh is in the blood. Life is a translation of the Hebrew nephesh, so the passage reads: The soul of the flesh is in the blood.
In verse 14 of the same chapter, we read: For the life of every creature is the blood of it; 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. Here the word life is used in each instance to translate the Hebrew nephesh, so the passage should actually read, For the soul of every creature is the blood of it; . . . for the soul of every creature is its blood (See also Deut 12:23). The phrase every creature suggests that the references to blood apply to both man and animals. Thus, as Atkinson points out, We have here a most important insight revealed into the essence of human nature. Soul and blood are identical. 20
The reason the soul-nephesh is equated with blood is presumably because the vitality of life nephesh resides in the blood. In the sacrificial system, blood atoned for sin because of its association with nephesh life. The sacrificial killing of an animal meant that a nephesh life was sacrificed to atone for the sins of another nephesh life.
Tory Hoff aptly observes that The Hebrews relation between nephesh [life] and blood reveals that nephesh [life] conveyed a 'sacred ' aspect to human living. Nephesh [life] was a work of God (Gen 2:7), was in God 's care (Prov 24:12), was in His hands (Job 12:10), and belonged to Him (Ez 18:4, 20). The Hebrews believed that they were forbidden to meddle or interfere with existence as nephesh [life] since it was a received existence beyond man. . . . The Hebrews were forbidden to eat meat still containing blood because the act meddled with nephesh [life] and therefore became offensive to God. The equation between blood and nephesh [life] meant consuming blood was a form of murder. One was sustaining one 's own nephesh [life] with the sacred nephesh [life] of another. 21
The preceding discussion of the association of nephesh soul with animals and blood has served to clarify further the meaning of living soul (Gen 2:7) as applied to Adam. We have found that this phrase does not mean that at creation God endowed the human body with an immortal soul, but simply that man became a living being as a result of God 's breathing His breath of life into the lifeless body. This conclusion is supported by the fact that nephesh is also used to describe animals and blood. The latter was equated with nephesh soul because it was seen as the tangible manifestation of the vitality of life. Before exploring further the meaning of nephesh soul in the Old Testament, we need to look at the meaning of the breath of life in Genesis 2:7.
The Breath of Life. What is the breath [neshamah] of life that God breathed into Adam 's nostrils? Some assume that the breath of life is the immortal soul that God implanted into Adam 's material body. This interpretation cannot legitimately be supported by the Biblical meaning and usage of the breath of life, because nowhere in the Bible is the breath of life identified with an immortal soul.
In Scripture, the breath [neshamah] of life is the life-giving power that is associated with the breath of God. Thus we read in Job 33:4: The spirit [ruach] of God has made me, and the breath [neshamah] of the Almighty gives me life. The parallelism between the spirit of God and the breath of the Almighty suggests that the two are used interchangeably because they both refer to the gift of life imparted by God to His creatures. Another clear example is found in Isaiah 42:5: Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, . . . who gives breath [neshamah] to the people upon it, and spirit [ruach] to those who walk in it. Here, again, the parallelism shows that breath and spirit denote the same animating principle of life that God gives to His creatures.
The imagery of the breath of life describes in a suggestive way God 's gift of life to His creatures, because breathing is a vital sign of life. A person who no longer breathes is dead. Thus, it is not surprising that in Scripture the life-giving Spirit of God is characterized as the breath of life. After all, breathing is a tangible manifestation of life. Job says: As long as my breath [neshamah] is in me, and the spirit [ruach] of God is in my nostrils; my lips will not speak falsehood (Job 27:3). Here the human breath and the divine spirit are equated, because breathing is seen as a manifestation of the sustaining power of God 's spirit.
Possession of the breath of life does not in itself confer immortality, because the Bible tells us that at death the breath of life returns to God. Life derives from God, is sustained by God, and returns to God. In describing death, Job says: If he [God] should take back his spirit [ruach] to himself, and gather to himself his breath [neshamah], all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust (Job 34:14-15). The same truth is expressed in Ecclesiastes 12:7: The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Of the Flood we read: And all flesh died that moved upon the earth . . . everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath [neshamah] of life died (Gen 7:21-22).
The fact that death is characterized as the withdrawal of the breath of life shows that the breath of life is not an immortal spirit or soul that God confers on His creatures, but rather the gift of life which human beings possess for the duration of their earthly existence. As long as the breath of life or spirit remains, human beings are living souls. But when the breath departs, they become dead souls.
The connection between the breath of life and the living soul becomes clear when we remember that, as Atkinsons points out, man 's soul is in his blood and indeed his blood is his soul. Thus he is kept in being [alive] as a living soul by the inhalation of oxygen out of the air, and medical science today knows, of course, a great deal about the connection between this intake of oxygen and the blood. 22 The cessation of breathing results in the death of the soul, because the blood, which is equated with the soul, no longer receives the oxygen that is so vital for life. This explains why the Bible refers about 13 times to human death as the death of the soul (Lev 19:28; 21:1, 11; 22:4; Num 5:2; 6:6,11; 9:6, 7, 10; 19:11, 13; Hag 2:13).
In the light of the preceding discussion, we conclude that man became a living soul (KJV) at creation, not through the implantation of an immaterial, immortal soul into his material, mortal body, but through the animating principle of life ( breath of life ) conferred on him by God Himself. In the creation account, the living soul denotes the life principle or power that animates the human body and reveals itself in the form of conscious life.