“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
Have you ever gotten a glimpse of an insight that is hardly more than a passing thought, but yet it seemed to require more intentional thought than you were willing to give at that moment? Such was the case this morning as I was listening to a lecture on Youtube while I was exercising. I do not even know if the thought was stimulated by something the speaker said – but it doesn’t seem to be so, because he was not speaking on any topic near to this specific thought traversing my mind. It was as if I was concentrating on his topic and this intruding intuition totally ignored the right-of-way of my cognitive attention. This could have caused a cerebral wreck if I had not had such a firm grip on my intentionality to arrive at the lecturer’s destination. I did manage to slow down enough to let that cross-traffic thought pass in front of me, fully noticing what kind of vehicle it portended. Albeit that I have subsequently avoided giving my attention to that intruder for the past several days because I did not want to exercise the discipline to think deeply, research and document such a transitory speculation. Even at this moment I still am reticent to work at finding the right words to describe that flashpoint vision.
In recent months, much of my scriptural reading has been focused in the Book of Genesis, heavily concentrating on the topics of Creation, Image of God and Abraham. My reading habits have become more intentional about carefully reading the text instead of just breezing on by things that I now notice. For instance, I had never noticed until today that all of Genesis chapter 1 refers to God by using the generic Hebrew description of “elohim”. A close study of that word indicates that there are many elohim mentioned in the Old Testament. I have always assumed that the references in this chapter do refer to THE ELOHIM -Most High. Not being a biblical scholar, I am reliant on Old Testament scholars such as Michael Heiser who explains, “While the word elohim is plural in form, its meaning can be either plural or singular (Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible 26).” This helps me process Genesis 1:26 “…Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Some who hold to a trinitarian view of God surmise that this is a reference to God-plural, three in one. Regardless, my point is that all the references in Genesis 1 use the word “elohim”. Interestingly, Genesis chapter 2:4 and following refer to the “Lord God”. This is the English translation of the Hebrew, “Yahweh Elohim”. This is very specific in using the personal name (Yahweh) in describing the identity of this “Elohim”. Why is there a difference between chapter 1 and chapter 2 when referring to the creator(s) of mankind?
Another observation comes from Genesis 2:5-7
“No shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no herb of the field had yet sprung up; for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground, but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
It is interesting to me that up to 60% of the human body is water. According to these verses, the Yahweh did not form man until after the whole earth had been watered. Just an observation, perhaps insignificant, yet interesting to me. The last part of these verses intrigue me the most, regarding the Lord God breathing the breath of life into man’s nostrils, bringing this dusty form to life. Yahweh blew a blast of life into this form, causing it to take it’s first gasp of air as a newborn infant. The qualifier, “of life”, is important because this same word for “breathe” can mean a destructive force that comes from the nostrils of God, depending on the scriptural context. Nevertheless, this is when man became a living soul. This living soul was distinctly characterized by Elohim (Gen.1:26) as an imager of elohim.
“What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou thinkest of him? Yet Thou has made him but a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under His feet: Sheep and oxen, all of them, Yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea; Whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is Thy name in all the earth!” Psalms 8:5-10
The psalmist is reiterating the high view of man as God’s imager, co-worker, manager of the works of God’s creative hands evidenced in all the life on earth. At man’s best, this was the intention of Yahweh for mankind…and it still is, but not in our current condition. Hence the ONE completed Image of God arrived in the flesh to usher in a reversal of the curse embraced by the first Adam in Eden. This brings me to the invasive metaphor crossing my mind this morning.
The glancing image was a quick comparison between the formation of the first Adam and second Adam (Jesus). The prequel (first Adam) to the culminating main event ushered in by the second was formed of the earth, composed (biologically) of all the earthly elements which included a large dose of water. While being created in the image of God, Adam was made a little lower than other created sons of God (angels); and whatever is meant by “image of God”, I doubt that it had much to do with Adam’s earthly, physical humus. But then we see Jesus, also made a little lower than the angels, yet He was also Logos; this combination becoming the perfected IMAGE OF GOD. Yahweh breathed His breath into Adam to make him a living soul, birthing a son of God from the womb of the earth. This breath came from Him who resides in Heaven. Jesus was rebirthed out of the womb of the earth (tomb), taking His first gasp of air as the resurrected, regenerated Adam making His way back to Eden.
O Giver of that breath of life, You have entrusted the work of Your hands to me. The call to step up to faithfully discharge that entrustment is constantly before me, even when I close my eyes to avoid its demands. Grace of Yahweh, forgive me. Help me to not only believe that Jesus is that second Adam, but cause me to be endued with your power to steward the work of Your hands as did He.