“And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostril…”. We are undeniable connected to God’s creation and the earth. Mankind is created from the earth and in part for the earth. The first creation was call Adam which is a derivative of the Hebrew word Adama, meaning earth. We are given stewardship over the earth and finally we will return from whence we came. In death we will return to the earth. The dna of the earth is imprinted all throughout ontological existence. From our healing from herbs, our food from trees, our shelter and our transportation, are all products of the earth.
We only have to study nature and it’s ways to discover tremendous insights into our own nature. Why does the moon have such powerful effects on our moods? And why does the oceans have such claiming effect on our minds. We are connected by God’s design and this is why Christ used so many nature stories and parables to communicate God’s truth.
Let us examine what scripture has to say about this. The aged old question of where do I start, can be answered with, the beginning. In Genesis we can see that the earth was designed to produce and to be fruitful. And not only was this design for the earth, but also for everything made from the earth, mankind. In Genesis1: 11 God said “let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit, according to its kind, whose seed is in itself on the earth…”
He commands the earth to be self-producing and to reproduce after itself. Everything comes with a seed of its own kind. Therefore trees can bear fruits and when the flesh of the fruit is gone the seed can bear life. While these seeds self-producing they cannot survive without the right conditions being meet. Every gardener knows that without the right combination of sun, earth, water, air and food, nothing he plants will survive. Some things that are left in too much sun will be burned up. Some things left in too much water will drown and any things left in poor soil or no air will have no chance. The right environment is paramount for success.
In Genesis 1:24 God said, “ let the earth bring forth the living creatures according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind…” It’s interesting to notice that God is not creating as he does with the heaven, earth, sea creatures and mankind; he is speaking these things to be. He is calling forth what was already built in. The Hebrew word Bara, means to create and is only used when God creates and as we can see not everything was Bara.
God saved his best creation for last. As a proud mother would prepare a room for her first born, God creates all that mankind would need before bringing them to the Garden. While there were similarities in the creation, humans were special in several ways. We are told that God made man (Adam, the Hebrew word for mankind), in His image. We are also told that He gave humans dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of the sky and all living things that creep on earth.
It is interesting to notice that he did not say we have dominion over the sea and over the earth, only over the things that dwell in the sea and earth. He gives us dominion but more importantly stewardship over. This is why Jesus was so unique he had not only power over things in the earth and sea, he has power over the earth and sea itself. This is why he can walk on water and defy the laws of nature and speak to stormy wind and sea and they obey.
Chapter two gives us more detail of mans creation. It informs us that God formed man from the dust, which is synonymously used with clay, comes from the earth. Like a potter takes a life-less, shapeless, apparently useless clay, and forms it into a beautiful useful vessel. Remember, when God created the heavens and the earth he built in a power to produce that is released by his Words, his speaking. He told the earth to bring forth and it did. Like everything else in creation nothing comes to life unless speaks over it. And so in verse 7 God blows the breath of life into the nostrils of the clay he had formed, and man became a living being.
- This is a great spiritual truth because until God breaths on us we merely exist but is not living.
It is important to realize that dust is the top layer of the earth and in nature is superficial in meaning by itself. The top layer is used in many things as a protector. The top layer of the earth protects the meaningful substance of the soil. We see this in our daily lives. The engine of our car is protected by the hood, the source of oil is protected by layers of earth, turtles are protected by their shells, our bodies are protected by clothing and our hearts are protected by flesh and bones.
Spirit, Soul and Body
It will be useful for us to examine the differences between the spirit body and soul. So often in Christian circles we interchange the words soul and spirit. We talk as though they are one in the same, but the bible is clear that there are differences. Paul writes in his salutation in 1Thess. 5:23, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blamelss at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” And we have already seen this development in Genesis 2:7 when God made man and breath into his nostril and man became a living soul.
So what are the functions of these three dimensions of our humanity? Let’s start with the dimension of the body. It is through the body that we experience our five senses, our ability to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. The body is also the seat of our organs, blood, artieries, veins, cells, bones, etc. it is everything that is physical in our make-up. It is through the complexity of our physical body that we able to interact with our physical world.
The dust is the least of the make up of man, as the flesh is the least of man. What is on the surface is generally superficial and hides what is valuable and on the inside. This can be seen in human emotion and behavior. * Psycologist will tell us that generally the imbalance emotions we witness people is often their attempt to protect what is valuable to them, there self-worth and self- esteem.
- An outer layer always protects the things that are life-giving substances.
While there are constant debates on the trinity, it is clear from the Bible that man is triune. He is triune in that he is made up of body, soul and spirit. Our flesh and bones(body), is the outer protection of that which is most valuable in man, his soul. I did not mention the spirit because the spirit is God’s, while I believe God has given us full dominion over our souls. We can save through receiving Christ or we can destroy it my rejecting God’s gift of love. On the other hand we can do no such things with our spirits.
The book of beginnings informs us of the anatomy of man. “ And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostril the breath of life; and man became a living soul”(Gen. 2:7kjv). This verse has define the anatomy of man. We have already established that the dust is just the outer layer protecting what is most valuable, and so it easy to make the connection that the dust in the creation represents the body, or flesh of man. The breath of God is always associated with his spirit. so God blow his spirit into the life-less body of man and this combination created a living soul. So the soul is the mediator between the spirit and the body.
We can see from this development that it is the spirit of God that gives life. Before God breath into man nostril he was mere formed clay without meaning or life. The breath of God gives life. The opposite is also true, the absence of the spirit of God is death.(examples) this is why Jesus said in John 6:63 it is the spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life”
- The same is like unto man, he is design to be fruitful but only under certain conditions. Genesis 2:6 says there went up a mist from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground. Before God breathed on the earth it had fruit producing capabilities, God had created this capability when he Bara the heaven and the earth. But it was only when God acted unto the earth that its capabilities were released.
1. It was the Mist of God watering the face of the ground that released it fruit producing power.
2. It was the Breath of God in the nostril of man that made come alive and a living soul. The actions of God release the power of man.
God didn’t give dominion to man until man was fashioned and God’s breath was on him. When we sit under the management of God’s hands, under his mist, the watering of the Lord, we able to BRING FORTH fruit.
When God created the firmaments he said, “let there be.” When he created the earth he said, “bring forth…” and to man he said, “ be fruitful and multiple…have dominion over the fish of the sea the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Let there be call something that is not. Bring forth call something that is, but in a dormant state. And “Be” is a wonderful command that entails not only dominion over all living thing but it gives us creative power like God only it is not Bara power.
· Genesis 2:19 lets us know that “out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air and brought them to Adam toe see what he would call them.” The right of Adam to name the animals is of tremendous importance and will be dealt with later. For now, we will examine what God has said about every beat and bird and what this means to us.
By now you have probable notice a pattern, that not only most of our ecological system from the earth but God’s ultimate creation, man, is also from the earth. And if the truth be told, the only thing that separates us from the animals is that God breath into our nostrils and we became a living soul. The soul of man separates him from all other creation. ( I do have an issue with animal lovers who will picket government building for cruelty to animals but would pass a hungry human being and not notice him.)
This connection we have with the earth have a tremendous influence and application to our lives. Most of modern medicine comes from things produced by the earth. Most of our diet comes from things produced by the earth. This connection will be discussed in detail later.
· Genesis 2:19 is clear that every beast and bird was made from the earth. This appears to be different from the account in Gen. 1:20and 24 where God said, “ Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” And in v24 he said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind:…” there is a few possible answers to this difference. One is that genesis 2 is giving more details about what occurred in genesis 1. two, 1:20 never said … and let the birds fly above the earth…” doesn’t necessarily disagrees with v2:19 that the bird came out of the ground.
 JPS Torah Commentary, Genesis 2 p17