| || |The Berean Expositor Volume 39 - Page 43 of 234 Index | Zoom | |
(verse 20), "great whales" (verse 21), elsewhere called "serpents" (Exod. 7: 9),
"dragons" (Deut. 32: 33), and "sea-monsters" (Lam. 4: 3)--"cattle", "creeping thing",
"beast of the earth" (verse 25) and finally:
"Every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, and everything that creepeth upon the
earth, wherein there is soul life, or living soul" (verse 30).
Nephesh in Gen. 2:
"Man became a living soul" (Gen. 2: 7).
"Adam called every living creature" (Gen. 2: 19).
It is easy for us to point to this passage (2: 7) as evidence of bias on the part of our
translators and to ask why the English reader is led to believe that man differs from the
beast and creeping thing. Similarly it is easy in the blindness that pride, even of
perceiving one aspect of the truth, can bring, to fall into the equally fatal error of saying
that man is nothing more than the beasts that perish. Let us observe one or two facts that
are to be found in these two chapters.
Man is undoubtedly a living soul. Cattle and creeping things and great whales are also
undoubtedly living souls. To stay here, however, is to be content with half the truth,
which, as the poet says, is "ever the blackest of lies".
In chapter 1:, where the animals are called "living souls", man is not so called. When
man is to be made, God does not say, "Let the earth bring forth", but:--
"Let us make man in Our image after Our likeness: and let them have dominion . . . . .
so God created man in His own Image, and in the Image of God created He him; male
and female created He them" (Gen. 1: 26, 27).
Is it necessary, when repudiating the error of the immortality of the soul, to plunge
into the equal error of denying all that is implied by this deliberation of God at the
creation of man? While man and beast are alike "living souls", man alone was created in
the image of God. In Gen. 2: 7 we have the additional statement, not mentioned in
Gen. 1: 27, concerning the "breath of life":
This word n'shamah is generally translated "breath" or "breathe" in the A.V., its other
renderings being "blast", "inspiration", "soul" and "spirit". The word occurs 24 times,
and we believe in 23 of the occurrences man only is the subject. The one passage which
demands a more lengthy analysis is Gen. 7: 21, 22.
Appendix 16 of The Companion Bible gives the 23 references to n'shamah in the
O.T. For easy reference we number each occurrence selected from it.
1. "And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul"
(Gen. 2: 7). It may be queried who it is that is said to breathe, God or Adam, for the