Exegetical Psychology

Under Construction

The Soul of Life │ Spirit of Living Ones

Genesis 2:7

Exegetical Psychology │ Christ Assembly

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1.1 Created. In the beginning Elohim created (“בָּרָ֣א“) the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Although some people like to use the Latin phrase “ex nihilo” to describe creation from nothing, the same verb “created” (“בָּרָ֣א“) is used in Genesis 1:27  to describe Elohim creating the man in His image (see also Genesis 5:1; Deuteronomy 4:32; Isaiah 40:26). Therefore, the Hebrew verb may not always mean created from nothing. Likewise in Psalm 51:10, David prayed that Elohim would create (“בָּרָ֣א“)  a clean heart (“לֵ֣ב“) in him, and renew (“חַדֵּ֥שׁ“) a steadfast spirit spirit (“ר֥וּחַ“) within him. David may have been speaking about creating something new from nothing, but maybe not. In Ezekiel 21:24, Yahweh commanded Ezekiel to create (“בָּרָ֣א“) a sign post from existing material. Therefore, postulating creation from nothing merely from the use of the verb “created” (“בָּרָ֣א“) in Genesis 1:1 seems a frail foundation for such a doctrine, without more support. More importantly, while God formed (“יִּצֶר֩“) the body of man from the dust of the earth, in Genesis 5:1 God created (“בָּרָ֣א“) man in His image.

2.1 The Three Steps of Creating Man. Yahweh Elohim created Adam, the first man (Genesis 2:7). Yahweh Elohim created Adam in several steps. First, Yahweh Elohim formed the body of Adam from the dust of the earth. Second, Yahweh Elohim blew into Adam’s nose the breath of the living ones. Third, Adam became a living soul. Those steps help us understand the basics of exegetical psychology. We can review each step in more detail. 

2.1 The Formation of Adam’s Body. Yahweh began creating the body of Adam using the dust of the earth. Elohim had already created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Yahweh Elohim took some previously created dust of the ground and formed (“יִּיצֶר֩“) the body of Adam from it. Although the text speaks only of forming Adam, the dust was formed into Adam, speaking of his body. Elohim formed the bodies of animals (“יִּצֶר֩“) in the same way (Genesis 2:19).  

3.1 The Breath. God blew into the nose of Adam. In Genesis 7:22, all the animals on dry in whose nose was the breath of spirit of living ones (“נִשְׁמַת־ר֨וּחַ חַיִּ֜ים“)  died. In Proverbs 20:27, the breath of man (“נִשְׁמַ֣ת אָדָ֑ם“) is the lamp of Yahweh, searching the all the rooms of the belly (“חֹ֝פֵ֗שׂ כָּל־חַדְרֵי־בָֽטֶן“). Therefore, the term “breath” refers to an active presence in man which searches his innermost being as the lamp of Yahweh. In Isaiah 30:33 the breath of Yahweh (“נִשְׁמַ֤ת יְהוָה֙“), like a torrent of brimstone, sets ablaze pyre. The breath of spirit of lives continues to live in the nose of man once breathed into him. Furthermore, the body of man holds the breath of the living ones, and when the body dies, the breath also leaves.

4.1 The Living Ones. The term “living ones” (“חַיִּ֜ים“) also related to the breath of spirit (“נִשְׁמַת־ר֨וּחַ“).


Flesh and Spirit of Living Ones. In Genesis 6:17 to Noah Elohim declared that the end of “all flesh” (“כָּל־בָּשָׂר֙“) on earth had come before Him. Elohim then specified that He would destroy all flesh in which spirit of living ones (“כָּל־בָּשָׂ֗ר אֲשֶׁר־בֹּו֙ ר֣וּחַ חַיִּ֔ים“) from under heaven. Because God chose each word Moses wrote, here the spirit of living ones dwells in the flesh. Notice the contrast between the “spirit of living ones” and “the breath of spirit.”  God specifically said He would end the flesh; the spirit of living ones does not necessarily perish at that time. Remember that the flesh exists independently of the spirit; the flesh dies, but the spirit continues.

Nose Breath and Spirit of Living Ones.  In Genesis 7:22, all in whose nose breath of spirit living ones (“נִשְׁמַת־ר֨וּחַ חַיִּ֜ים בְּאַפָּ֗יו“) died (“מֵֽתוּ“). Notice that the verb “died” referred to the death of the flesh.

Living Ones. In Exodus 4:18, Moses wanted to return to his brethren in Egypt to see if any of them were still living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“). In Exodus 22:4 the term living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) applied to animals. The Psalmist asked: Who is the man who delights in living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“), loving days to see good (“לִרְאֹ֥ות טֹֽוב“)? In Psalm 2:15 the king asked Yahweh for living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) and you gave it to him length of days forever and ever (“עֹולָ֥ם וָעֶֽד“). In this verse, David may have asked for “life” using the same term as living ones. In the alternative, David may have asked for offspring, so that his house would continue forever. In Deuteronomy 4:4 Moses described the destruction of the wicked at Baal-Peor, but reminded the people that because they held fast to Yahweh your Elohim, all of them remained living ones today (“הַיֹּ֖ום“).  In Deuteronomy 5:3 Moses reminded the people that Yahweh did not make the covenant with the fathers, but with all the living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) here today (“הַיֹּ֖ום“). The living ones refers to the people presently alive today. Ben-Hadad commanded his men to take hold of the living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“), referring to men who had come out to oppose him (see also 2 Kings 7:12). The text indicates they were to kept alive.  In 2 Kings 10:14 Ahab’s descendants were living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“) taken and then killed at the pit of Beth-Eked. In 2 Chronicles 25:12 the sons of Judah captured some 10,000 living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“)  and threw them down from a cliff and they were dashed to pieces. Job declared of Elohim: living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“) and lovingkindness (“וָ֭חֶסֶד“)  You have done with me and your oversight has watched my spirit (“רוּחִֽי“).

Flowing Water. The term “living ones”  (“חַיִּ֜ים“) also applied to flowing water (for example, Leviticus 15:13).

Fountain of Living Ones. In Psalm 36:9 David wrote that in Elohim is the fountain of living ones (“הַיֹּ֖ום“); in your light we see light. In the alternative, David may have been referring to the fountain of life. 

Living Ones and Sheol. In Numbers 16:30 Moses prophesied about the ground opening and the rebels as living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) descending to Sheol. In Number 16:33 the prophecy was fulfilled and the rebels and all that belonged to them descended as living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) to Sheol, as prophesied. In Psalm 55:16 David prays to Yahweh that death (“”) may come upon the evil people, that they go down as living ones (”חַיִּ֑ים“) to Sheol, for evil in their dwelling places is in their insides (“כִּֽי־רָעֹ֖ות בִּמְגוּרָ֣ם בְּקִרְבָּֽם“).

Living Ones upon the Earth. In Deuteronomy 4:10 Moses reminded the people of the day at Horeb when they heard the words of Yahweh sot that they may learn to fear Yahweh all the days which they are living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) upon the earth (“עַל־הָאֲדָמָֽה“). In Deuteronomy 12:1 the people were given the land to possess as long as they are living ones (“חַיִּ֜ים“) upon the earth (“עַל־הָאֲדָמָֽה“). In Deuteronomy 31:13 the children will learn the fear of Yahweh your Elohim as long as you are living ones on the earth (“חַיִּים֙ עַל־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה“) they were about to possess beyond the Jordan (see also 1 Kings 8:40). Some may prefer to translate the word as “land” instead of “earth” because of the context. I seek to emphasize the continuity of the terms to describe people as living ones on the earth at that time. In 2 Chronicles 6:12 Solomon prayed to Yahweh Elohai (“יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהָ֑י“). In 2 Chronicles 6:31 Solomon continued his prayer and asked that all the people walk in the ways of Yahweh Elohai as long as they are living ones upon the face of the land (“חַיִּ֖ים עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הָאֲדָמָ֑ה“) which Yahweh Eloai gave to our fathers. 

Land of Living Ones. In Psalm 27:12-13 David observed: I would have despaired unless I caused to believe (“הֶ֭אֱמַנְתִּי“) that I would see the goodness of Yahweh in the land of living (“בְּאֶ֣רֶץ חַיִּֽים“). In Psalm 52:5 El will uproot Doeg the Edomite from the land of the living ones (“וְשֵֽׁרֶשְׁךָ֙ מֵאֶ֖רֶץ חַיִּ֣ים“). 

Elohim Living Ones. In Deuteronomy 5:26 Moses described Elohim Living Ones (“אֱלֹהִ֨ים חַיִּ֜ים“) speaking from the midst of the fire and marveled that he and they lived (“וַיֶּֽחִי“). Therefore, the term living ones also applies to Elohim, often translated as the Living God (singulars). In 1 Samuel 17:26 David referred to the ranks of Elohim Living Ones (“מַעַרְכֹ֖ות אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּֽים“), referring the army of Israel (see the same construction in 1 Samuel 17:36). 

Path of Living Ones. In Psalm 16:9 David declared that Yahweh would also make my flesh (“אַף־בְּ֝שָׂרִ֗י“) dwell in security (“יִשְׁכֹּ֥ן לָבֶֽטַח“). David continued that Yahweh would not forsake my soul (“לֹא־תַעֲזֹ֣ב נַפְשִׁ֣י“) to Sheol  to give your Holy One (“חֲ֝סִידְךָ֗“–see also Psalm 30:4 and the article related to holy ones) to see destruction (“לִרְאֹ֥ות שָֽׁחַת“). In Psalm 16:11, David declared that Yahweh would cause me to know “path of living ones” (“אֹ֤רַח חַ֫יִּ֥ים“), where in your face fullness of joy (“שְׂ֭מָחֹות אֶת־פָּנֶ֑יךָ“) and at Yahweh’s right hand enduring  pleasures (“נְעִמֹ֖ות בִּימִינְךָ֣ נֶֽצַח“). 

Favor of Yahweh.  In Psalm 30:5 the Psalmist observed regarding Yahweh that for a moment His nose anger (“בְּאַפֹּו֮“–see The Angers of God);  living ones in His favor in the evening will pass the night weeping, and to the morning shout of joy (“רִנָּֽה“).

Book of the Living Ones

4.1 To Soul Life. The Hebrew text raises significant alternatives for translation of the phrase “and Adam came to soul life.” Other uses of key terms may help resolve the translation. Some translations overlook the other uses of the terms at issue in the Old Testament. So, I will focus upon the uses of the term “came,” “to soul,” and “life” in other Old Testament passages.


Spoke and Came. In the creation narrative, Elohim for the Hebrew term “came” can be translated in many ways. To narrow down that meaning, the near context would provide the best understanding. How did Moses use the term יְהִ֣י in the creation narrative? In Genesis 1:3, we read that “Come light and came of light. The Hebrew phrase “Come light and came of light” (“יְהִ֣י אֹ֑ור וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור“). I provided the awkward translation to capture the force of the Hebrew construct וַֽיְהִי־אֹֽור. The jussive force of the verb poses smooth translation issues.]] In the creation narrative, we find this phrase repeated several times to describe evening and day (“וַֽיְהִי־עֶ֥רֶב וַֽיְהִי־בֹ֖קֶר“): Genesis 1:5;  Elohim also used the the term “said” (“יִּצֶר֩“)


uses a preposition “to” before the term soul. 1The  exact Hebrew phrase reads “and came Adam to soul life.” term “living soul” occurs eight times in the Old Testament, seven times in Genesis and once in Ezekiel. The term “living soul” (“נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה“) occurs in Genesis 1:24; 2:7; God commanded that the earth bring form living souls  has been very poorly translated in some English versions. They do not consistently render the same words in the same way.

4.2 Animals and Birds. Yahweh Elohim formed from the dust of the earth all living of the field and all birds of the heavens. 2Yahweh Elohim likewise formed (“יִּצֶר֩“) all living of the field (“כָּל־חַיַּ֤ת הַשָּׂדֶה֙“–notice the singular construct form) and all the birds of the heavens (“וְאֵת֙ כָּל־עֹ֣וף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם“)) (Genesis 2:19).  God then brought to Adam all of them to see what he would call them. Whatever Adam called living soul, that was its name. 3The phrase “living soul” (“נֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּ֖ה“) described both the living of the field and the birds of the heavens.

God brought all the living souls to 


Yahweh Elohim Yahweh forms the spirit of man within him (Zechariah 12:1). 4Zechariah used the term “formed” (“יֹצֵ֥ר“)–qal participle. The term “formed” described Yahweh forming man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7). 5Yahweh Elohim formed (“יִּיצֶר֩“) man from the dust of the earth. He likewise formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky (Genesis 2:19). 6Yahweh Elohim formed (“יִּצֶר֩“) the animals from the earth. Therefore, we understand that God forms the spirit in man; God creates a particular spirit for each particular person. The spirit of man does not pass down from parents to child at the moment of conception. God forms the spirit in the child, just as God formed man from the dust of the earth. Notice that God did not create the spirit out of nothing, but formed it out of something already created. 7God created (“בָּרָ֣א“) the heavens and the earth (see also Genesis 1:27; 2:3; Deuteronomy 4:3; Psalm 51:10). Compare the use of the term “formed” (“יִּיצֶר֩“) to describe making a new arrangement of existing creation into a new shape (Genesis 2:7-8). Even so, God created (“בָּרָ֣א“) man in His own image, male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, every human has a God-formed, unique spirit within them. 8Yahweh gives breath (“נְשָׁמָה֙“) to the people on earth and spirit (“ר֖וּחַ“) to those who walk in it (Isaiah 42:5). Compare the difference between breathed, the breath of life, and soul in Genesis 2:7.