…in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: 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. And 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 2:4b-7)
The second chapter of Genesis revisits the creation,especially that of plants,herbs,trees and man. The plants were not sustained by rain, not were they yet tended or cultivated by anyone, but were watered by means of a subterranean misting system. With the Lord’s provision of plants for food, shade, and for beauty, all was now in readiness for the creation of the man.
In Genesis one, we are told that God (Elohim) created man in His own image , but the account in Genesis two is more personal and intimate. Throughout the second chapter we are given the covenant personal name of the Creator…The LORD God, (YHWH Elohim) formed man of the dust of the ground… .
Furthermore, He is “hands on” in the forming of man’s body, working with the dirt that he had already created, the Master Craftsman forms for the man a perfect body, getting his hands ‘dirty’ in the process.
Finally, the Divine intimacy in the forming of the man, is expressed in the way he infused and animated Adam, breathing into his nostrils the very breath of life! Who do you ever allow to literally breath into your mouth or nostrils? How close would you have to be to someone for them to do so? The mighty God could have just as easily created man by fiat alone, but his interest in us, is such that He reveals his full name, gets His hands dirty, and literally does a form of “mouth to mouth, or nose” to bring us to life. No wonder the Psalmist pondered,
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.(Psalm 8:3-5)
Many centuries later, God would once again breathe the breath of life upon some, as an act of New Creation, after he had by himself made the way for us to be reconciled to himself and to be reborn by the Spirit of life in Christ;
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.(John 20:21-23)
Thus, by the mercy of the LORD God, man became a living soul. Man is something of the earth, because he was formed by the dust of the earth, and resonated with the earthly. But he also has a consciousness; that is a soul,which can reason, imagine, communicate, and talk. He has a will, perception, mind and emotions. He is a free moral agent, a person bearing the image of God.
We were told that God had animated the animals as well, and they have souls(Nephesh), but the animals were not formed with such Divine, and personal care as Man was.Man is different, he is earthy, but not an animal. He is something more than an animal.
By the infusion of the ‘breath of life’, man was given something else that can distinguish himself from animals, for he has been given spirituality, a capacity to know, enjoy, perceive and fellowship with the LORD God himself on a level that none other in Creation have been given. Eternity was put into his heart, according to the preacher in Ecclesiastes.
But the man would have a dependant life. The LORD God alone is self-existent, needing nothing, utterly sufficient in himself, and is himself the only source of life. Man would live, by God. Only the Father and the Son have “life in themselves”, all other life is dependant life.Should the man ever be separated from his God, he would also be separated from Life itself, for God is our life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (John 5:25-26)
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.(I John 5:11-12)