The Breath of Life

As previously discussed, Genesis 1 is a sequential summary of what God created on each day of the creation week.  Genesis 2 provides additional details about the creation week.  Likewise in Genesis 2:7-9, additional information is given about the creation of man, including the breath of life God gave him.  

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. 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:7-9)

Please notice a few things.  First, God made man from dirt.  The chemical composition of the human body is mostly oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, and nitrogen.  These elements make up about 96% of the human body.  The vast majority of the chemicals in common dirt are also these four elements.  (;  Therefore, the biblical account is consistent with what we see in scientific research.  

Second, God breathed life into the man.  Man is the only part of God’s creation which the Bible specifically records God doing this.  As is seen in Genesis 1:26-27, mankind is different from everything else God created.  

Third, the Hebrew word translated “man” in these verses is literally “Adam” and is also translated “ground” in verse 7.  English translations are consistent in this passage in usually rendering this word as “man” until Genesis 2:19 or 2:20, when the woman is introduced to him.  More on that when that passage is examined.

Fourth, God made a specific place for the man to live.  It was a garden.  As will be shown, this garden provided both food and a place to work for Adam.

Fifth, within this garden God caused trees to grow.  Most were for food.  God provided what Adam needed to survive. 

Sixth, two trees had specific purposes.  One was the tree of life, which was found in the middle of the garden.  There are a few differing views on what the purpose of this tree was.  In Revelation 2:7; 22:2, 14 we see this tree mentioned.  From this, my personal stance is that the tree of life is related to the eternal state.  The only ones permitted to eat from it are overcomers who do God’s commandments.  Since we see in Genesis 3 that God would not permit Adam and Eve to eat of the tree after sinning, it is apparent that they were not worthy to do so and if they did, they would remain in their sin forever.  This is not what God desired.

Seventh, the other tree with a special purpose was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  This was the tree used to test Adam and Eve’s faithfulness to God.  My view is that the fruit of the tree itself did not have any special powers of imparting knowledge of good and evil.  I see it as simply the tree which was used for that purpose and when Adam and Eve failed the test, they then knew evil, whereas before they had only known good.  Christians have different views on this and that’s fine.  The important part is that this tree was used to test Adam and Eve.

This brings up a good point.  There are critical doctrines in the Bible and there are also some doctrines which have lesser bearing on the overall message.  Critical doctrines include things like the divinity of Jesus, substitutionary atonement, the virgin birth of Jesus, and absolute authority of the Bible.  These are aspects of our faith that cannot be compromised or questioned.  But there are other doctrines which are not as important.  For example, the identity of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6.  That is a part of Scripture which has little bearing on our faith.  Is it important?  Certainly, because it’s part of the Bible.  However, there are at least six plausible interpretations of it that I know of.  Is it worth fighting over?  I would say not.  Christians should not bicker over such things.  Have some humility and grace and move on to more important things.