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1st Corinthians makes a distinction between the first Adam and Jesus Christ and it also distinguishes between the soul and the spirit. What does the expression a "quickening spirit" mean here and how is a contrast from the previous expression "living soul"?

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.

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migrated from Aug 6 '13 at 18:59

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When one first reads this, perhaps they may be compelled to examine Gen. 2:7 (since Paulos quotes it), in which it is written,

English translation:

And YHVH God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.

Hebrew text (Masoretic):

וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן־הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָֽאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּֽה

Greek text (LXX):

καὶ ἔπλασεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν ἄνθρωπον χοῦν ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἐνεφύσησεν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ πνοὴν ζωῆς καὶ ἐγένετο ὁ ἄνθρωπος εἰς ψυχὴν ζῶσαν

Notice what occurs.

  • YHVH God forms man.
  • YHVH God breathes the "breath of life" into man.
  • Man becomes a "living soul."

What is interesting about the LXX is that it uses the Greek verb ἐνεφύσησεν (enephysēsen), a conjugation of the root verb ἐμφυσάω (emphysaō), "meaning "to breathe on, infuse." In the entire corpus of the Greek text of the Bible, this verb only occurs twice: Gen. 2:7 of the LXX, and John 20:22 of the NT, in which it is written,

English translation:

And when he said this, he breathed on [them] and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit!"

Greek text:

καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς Λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον

Arthur W. Pink, in his Exposition of the Gospel of John, p. 1100, wrote,

The Greek word here used is employed nowhere else in the New Testament, but is the very one used by the Septuagint translators of Gen 2:7: '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.' There, man's original creation was completed by this act of God; who, then, can fail to see that here in John 20, on the day of the Saviour's resurrection, the new creation had begun, begun by the Head of the new creation, the last Adam acting as 'a quickening spirit' (1Cr 15:45)!"

John Gill, on the phrase "quickening" or "life-making spirit," writes,

though rather I think it is to be understood of his spiritual body, of his body, not as it was made of the virgin, for that was a natural, or an animal one; it was conceived and bred, and born as animal bodies are; it grew and increased, and was nourished with meat and drink, and sleep and rest; and was subject to infirmities, and to death itself, as our bodies be; but it is to be understood of it as raised from the dead, when it was made a spiritual body, for which reason it is called a "spirit":

not that it was changed into a spirit, for it still remained flesh and blood; but because it was no more supported in an animal way; nor subject to those weaknesses that animal bodies are, but lives as spirits, or angels do; and a quickening one, not only because it has life itself, but because by virtue of the saints' union to it, as it subsists in the divine person of the Son of God, their bodies will be quickened at the last day, and made like unto it, spiritual bodies; also because he lives in his body as a spiritual one, they shall live in theirs as spiritual ones: and so the apostle shows, that there is a spiritual, as well as an animal body; that as the first man's body, even before the fall, was an animal or natural one; the last Adam's body upon his resurrection is a spiritual and life giving one, as the Syriac version renders it

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As Paul quoted from Genesis 2:7, Man became living soul which means that he is created with a animal soul - the body with a life and soul, the living principle of his body.

Quickening spirit would mean not only living soul but the soul which makes alive or the soul which has the power/authority to give life. The gospel of John has more textual evidence of quickening spirit, the one which is alive and gives life ( John 5:21 , John 6:33, John 6:39, John 6:40, John 6:54, John 6:57, John 6:62 and John 6:63).

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Tertullian, in his On the Resurrection of the Flesh 410, opined:

Now the apostle ... fairly distinguishes between the two states, in the very essentials of their difference.

And what is their difference? As I understand Tertullian's comment in the light of the OT scripture referred to by Paul (Gen. 2:7), the spirit of the first man (Adam) became alive (sentient, animated) with self-centered animal energy (vitality) and instincts.

But "the last Adam" (Jesus of Nazareth) became a supernatural energy (spirit) capable of influencing and motivating animalistic people to, among other things, willingly demonstrate continuous benevolence (unselfish, kind, and charitable acts of goodwill) toward other people.

FWIW, that's how I see the differences between a "living soul" and a "quickening spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45).

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The mistranslation of this passage is a stronghold

In order to understand this passage (and indeed, in order to understand Paul) it is necessary to tear down a "stronghold". What is a "stronghold"? It is a delusion of the mind that is, for the one deluded, so much of a "given" that they have no doubt and entertain no contradiction. Psychiatry distinguishes a "delusion" from a strongly held "belief" in that a delusion does not yield to new information. So if I believe that I have a large tumor in my chest even after exhausting medical investigation then I have a delusion. This is a feature of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.

Paul claims that the apostles had weapons capable of destroying these strongholds because they had divine power. Arguments that long imprisoned the minds of the deluded are destroyed and every enemy thought is taken into captivity for obedience to the Christ:

2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 2Co 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

So Paul is claiming that only the divine weapons are capable of ripping out the bars of some mental prisons, setting the mind free and bringing the knowledge from God. When one escapes the stronghold it is like gaining sight:

Act 9:18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; Act 9:19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. Act 9:20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." Act 9:21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, "Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?" Act 9:22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

Whenever one escapes a stronghold they become the target of persecution by those who are still deluded:

Act 9:23 When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, ... Act 9:29 And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists. But they were seeking to kill him.

The mistranslation

Here is the way the passage in question is commonly translated:

1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living soul"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

Here's a more correct translation:

1Co 15:45 Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving breath.

The difference between these two translations is Yuge because the mistranslation is a reflection of the deception of Substance Dualism, the philosophy of Rene Descarte which in turn traces all the way back to the Greek philosopher Socrates and his disciple, Plato (not to be confused with Play-Doh):

...This project led Descarte to conclude that the mind was a completely distinct substance from matter. Matter is easily described: it is measurable, has dimensions, can be touched and seen, sometimes smelt and tasted, divided, destroyed and altered. Mind, however, can almost be defined as the opposite of this – in fact, one of the difficulties with Descartes’ definition is that mind seems to have almost no positive qualities. It is invisible, without dimensions, immaterial, unchanging, indivisible and without limit.

In defining mind and matter in this way Descartes is also fulfilling a religious agenda. Mind so defined can be equated with the soul, which in turn can be proven to be distinct from the body and immortal...


...Drawing on the words of his teacher Socrates, Plato considered the psyche to be the essence of a person, being that which decides how we behave. He considered this essence to be an incorporeal, eternal occupant of our being. Socrates says that even after death, the soul exists and is able to think. He believed that as bodies die, the soul is continually reborn in subsequent bodies and Plato believed this as well, however, he thought that only one part of the soul was immortal (logos)...

Augustine was a Neo-Platonist:

The Greek philosophers influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Substance Dualism is patently false

The opposing position to Substance Dualism is Physicalism. This is the viewpoint of the scripture and is also demonstrated by scientific experimentation. For example, we can image the brain while someone solves a math problem and the parts of the brain concerned with that "light up" on the image. The mind either is indistinguishable from the brain or it "supervenes" on the brain but it is not an immateriality.

So also, in Genesis, Moses describes the introduction of life, self awareness and God awareness by the introduction of "breath":

Gen 2:7 So the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground, breathed life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.

From that time on a "living being" consists of two parts: flesh and breath. He does not "have a soul" but IS a "living being".

So the scriptures are committed physicalists. However, within physicalism there are two schools. In the one there is only one material and that is the one that we know and love which is the makeup of our world. But in the other physicalism, and for Paul, there are multiple kinds of the material, and this brings us back to the original post:

1Co 15:39 Not all flesh is the same. Humans have one kind of flesh, animals in general have another, birds have another, and fish have still another. 1Co 15:40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of those in heaven is of one kind, and that of those on earth is of another. 1Co 15:41 One kind of splendor belongs to the sun, another to the moon, and still another to the stars. In fact, one star differs from another star in splendor. 1Co 15:42 This is how it will be at the resurrection of the dead. What is planted is decaying, what is raised cannot decay. 1Co 15:43 The body is planted in a state of dishonor but is raised in a state of splendor. It is planted in weakness but is raised in power. 1Co 15:44 It is planted a physical body but is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 1Co 15:45 This, indeed, is what is written: "The first man, Adam, became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 1Co 15:46 The spiritual does not come first, but the physical does, and then comes the spiritual. 1Co 15:47 The first man came from the dust of the earth; the second man came from heaven. 1Co 15:48 Those who are made of the dust are like the man from the dust; those who are heavenly are like the man who is from heaven. 1Co 15:49 Just as we have borne the likeness of the man who was made from dust, we will also bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

Paul has set forth his case against Substance Dualism and for Physicalism (of the variety of multiple kinds of flesh).

From the Greek philosophers thru Ambrose and Augustine, Substance Dualism has dominated the West now for millennia. Note that until the KJV there was never an English word for "spirit" and all of the scriptures spoke of the "breath". The word "spirit" was coined from the Latin word "spiritus" which meant "breath". And "ghost" was from ye olde German for "breath".

So when one refuses the mental mold of "immateriality" and understands that the resurrected saint will bear the image of one who has a body (albeit a "breathly" body) one can begin to understand the scriptures in a new way. We understand that God and the angels have "spiritual bodies" and they live in a "spiritual world"; not one that is immaterial but one that has a different kind of flesh.

The importance of all this for understanding Paul cannot be overstated. This I will show in other posts. But for now let's just consider the original post.

The original post

So what does this mean?:

1Co 15:44 It [the human body] is planted a physical body but is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 1Co 15:45 This, indeed, is what is written: "The first man, Adam, became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving breath.

1 Cor 15 is "the resurrection chapter". Not that Paul actually believed in a resurrection for the saints; he did not. He believed in a reincarnation. The saints would get brand new "spiritual" bodies. He first describes the making of Adam. When the breath entered him he became a "living being". But in describing Jesus he says that he is a "life giving breath". That is, just as the breath entered the lifeless clay of Adam and made him alive, so Jesus, when he returns will raise the sleeping saints to life!:

Joh 11:25 Jesus told her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The person who believes in me, even though he dies, will live.

The image is well presaged here:

Eze 37:5 This is what the Lord GOD says to you dry bones! 'Pay attention! I'm bringing my Spirit into you right now, and you're going to live! Eze 37:6 I'm going to grow tendons on you, regenerate your flesh, cover you with skin, and make you breathe again so that you can come back to life and learn that I am the LORD.'" Eze 37:7 So I prophesied, just as I had been ordered to do so. Immediately there was a noise and a rattling—and then all of a sudden the bones came together by themselves! Each bone came together, all of them attached together! Eze 37:8 As I continued to watch, I saw tendons growing on the bones, and muscles growing and covering them, and then skin covered the flesh from above. But the bodies weren't breathing. Eze 37:9 Then he ordered me, "Prophesy to the Spirit, Son of Man. Tell the Spirit, 'This is what the Lord GOD says: "Come from the four winds, you Spirit, and breathe into these people who have been killed, so they will live."'" Eze 37:10 So I prophesied as I had been ordered, breath entered them, and they began to live. They stood on their own feet as a vast, united army. Eze 37:11 "These bones represent the entire house of Israel," the LORD explained to me. "Look how they keep saying, 'Our bones are dried up, and our future is lost. We've been completely eliminated!' Eze 37:12 "Therefore prophesy to them, and tell them, 'Watch me! I'm going to open your graves, lift you out of those graves, and bring my people back into the land of Israel. Eze 37:13 Then you'll learn that I am the LORD, when I've opened your graves and caused you to come up out of them, my people. Eze 37:14 I'm going to place my Spirit in you all, and you will live. I'll place you all into your land, and you'll learn that I, the LORD, have been speaking and doing this,' declares the LORD."

The "breath" that he causes to enter is Jesus. That is what Paul was alluding to. God will provide new bodies for the saints of new flesh and animate them, through Jesus. God animated Jesus by his own breath as well:

1Pe 3:18 For the Messiah also suffered for sins once for all, an innocent person for the guilty, so that he could bring you to God. He was put to death in a mortal body but was brought to life by the Spirit [God's breath],

This is what Paul called "the principle of the breath of life":

Rom 8:2 For the principle of "the breath of life" in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of [Mr.] Sin, even death.

This principle is the basis of so much of Paul's writings, particularly about the conflict between "flesh" and "breath":

Gal 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the breath, and the desires of the breath are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

This goes directly to the principle of the breath of life, which goes right back to Moses' account of the makeup of man.

A few supporting scriptures

Joh_6:63 It is the breath that makes alive; the flesh has no effect: the words that I speak unto you, they are breath, and they are life.

Jas 2:26 For as the body without the breath is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

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The living soul, while being spirit, it is a spirit that is tainted by our carnal nature. The soul then is made up of our spirit, which is the image of God, and our carnal nature. According to strong's lexicon, quickening of the spirit means; endued with new and greater powers of life; spiritual power to arouse and invigorate; to (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively):—make alive, give life, quicken. Paul then is describing the difference between Adam's carnal soul and Christ's pure spirit that overcame the carnal aspect of the soul. This was done by a quickening, or growth of the spirit. And this had to be done as a human to be of any significance. This is why Jesus emptied out his divinity - so he could accomplish these things in human form.

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Where do the scriptures assert that the "living soul" is "spirit"? – WoundedEgo Apr 28 at 18:06
People often make the mistake of defining the body, soul, and spirit as three separate entities. But the truth is, they are similar to the Holy Trinity in that they exist together as one. The body is the outer shell that contains both soul and spirit. Scripture even identifies the place that the soul resides is in the blood. This is why we are not to eat blood. And it is why we have the saying a persons blood cries for revenge. The inference being that the soul in the blood cries for revenge. (end Pt one) – TrustinJC Apr 28 at 21:04
Please modify your answer to include some scripture, etc. rather than simply opining. Thanks. – WoundedEgo Apr 28 at 21:14

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