What is the breath of life?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
The climax of God's creative work was His extraordinary creation of 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 beca...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
The “breath of life” is something that all living people have. When God created man, He formed man from the dust of the ground, and then He breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, Genesis 2:7 (quoted in I Corinthians 15:45), Job 27:3, 33:4, Ecclesiastes 12:7, Isaiah 42:5, Zechariah 12:1. As a result, man became a living being. Actually, all living humans and animals have the breath of life, Genesis 6:17, 7:15, 22.

When a man dies, the creation process is reversed. The spirit or breath (Hebrew “ruah,” Greek “pneuma”) leaves the body, Psalm 104:29, Acts 7:59, Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46, John 19:30, Acts 7:59-60. The person literally expires, Genesis 25:8. An exception to this was when Jesus voluntarily dismissed His spirit, breathing out His last breath, Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, 39, Luke 23:46, John 19:30, and John 10:17-18. 

The body without the spirit is dead, James 2:26. The spirit returns to God, and the body returns to the earth, Psalm 104:29, 146:4. All living creatures return to the dust when they die, Genesis 3:19, but the distinction between man and animals is where the spirit goes as stated in Ecclesiastes 3:19-21. For humans, the body sleeps until the resurrection, Daniel 12:2, I Thessalonians 4:14. Some will be for ages, but they will not know, for they sleep until awakened at the resurrection.

There are cases when God interrupts the sleep of death. In Revelation 11:11, three and a half days after two prophets had been killed, the breath of life from God entered into them. It simply means their life was restored. This is also what happened with Lazarus, John 11:11-14, 12:10, who was awakened out of the sleep of death only to die again to await the resurrection. In Ezekiel’s remarkable vision of the dry bones picturing Israel being dead for centuries, God predicted that Israel would live again by Him breathing life into them. 

What this means is that a living person consists only of body and spirit, or dust plus breath. The idea of the soul is not in the Bible. The spirit is not the soul or some immaterial, immortal part of man that leaves the body at death. Always in Scripture, the word translated “soul” (Hebrew “nephesh,” Greek “psuche), is better rendered “person,” “being,” or “life.” This is also true in Genesis 2:7. When Genesis 35:18 says the soul departed Rachel, it was merely saying her life was ebbing away. 

What is usually considered the soul is, instead, some of the characteristics of the body. In the body of a person is all that is physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual. It entails all the mind, heart, and bodily functions, Job 32:8. I Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 seem to indicate there is a soul, but they speak of the completeness or unity of the person. 

The spirit, that is, the breath of life is the life or vital principle, the force that makes and keeps one alive.

October 03 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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