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According to the book of Genesis, God created man apparently by two ingredients:

(1) dust of the ground

(2) the breath of God

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

God did not create man using only created substance (thing) but also of divine substance.

In the New Testament, the breath of God that made the body alive was actually called spirit. This spirit in man is the life of his body or rather, it is what animates his body. Without the spirit, the body is dead as explicitly written in James 2:26.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26 (ESV)

My question is about the nature of this spirit. The origin of the body is from the dust from the ground and this ground itself was a created thing. On the other hand, the spirit of man clearly comes from God himself, from his own breath. Did God literally breathe in the man to make him a living soul, a living person? If so, the spirit of man is uncreated but simply entered a new form of existence in the body, making the body have awareness.


Is the spirit of man a created thing?

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Colossians 1:16 AKJV

"for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"

all things πάντα (panta) Adjective - Nominative Neuter Plural Strong's Greek 3956: All, the whole, every kind of. Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.

Yes, Jesus created the spirit of man.

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John 17v2-3 Eternal life [zoe] is to know Jesus. So spiritual life belongs only to the Christian. Those who do not know Jesus still have biological life [bios] 1 Tim 2v2. Did Adam come to know Jesus when the dust that made him started breathing? That may have come soon after or at once but when it did happen Adam had both zoe and bios, and would have known God with his spirit, John 17v3, eternal zoe. Adam had a spirit with an eternal future, hence eternal. However if Adam had a spirit with an eternal past he would have existed before "in the beginning". In John 1v1 only God existed before the beginning. So everything to do with man, both zoe and bios, were created.

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This is a truly provocative question +1.

Unfortunately, I don't believe you can answer this by solely looking at scripture; this answer would need some deduction.

I believe the answer would lie in our definition of what constitutes personhood. If you believe that personhood came about with physical life, then the answer would need to be absolutely yes; man's spirit is a created thing since anything that exists outside of God must by definition be created.

However, (and as you rightly point out) if our concept of personhood is rooted in identity, then the answer is way more muddy. Since we believe that God is truly omniscient, then we understand that He "always" knew, ie have given identity to, every person who has ever and will ever live. If we ascribe personhood to God given identity, then wouldn't logic dictate that humanity existed from eternity past? Physical life could then be construed as just one manifestation of one's personhood.

Great question, no easy answer.

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According to Scripture the spirit of man is created, formed or made.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭

The spirit of man is in the inward parts of man.

“But it is the spirit inside man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.” ‭‭Job‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭

There are other passages with reference to the spirit of man and it’s properties but if it isn’t clear enough that the spirit is made consider,

“The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him:” ‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭12:1‬

The Hebrew word יצר used here is used elsewhere to show a formation, like a potter using clay to form a vessel. God therefore may very well have used the raw material of His own Breath but the spirit of man in its raw form is non-functional inside a biological machine until God forms the spirit.

Though the spirit of man is made/formed from God’s Breath they are distinct and separate. Man’s spirit is not equivalent to the Spirit of God.

“For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭

This verse has OT connection as a side note

“The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:27‬ ‭

Therefore given it is created it is not preexisting as is God Himself

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭

And should anyone question or require further clarification on this point about creation or formation

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” ‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:3‬ ‭

Universe in its classic sense meaning anything and everything in existence physical or otherwise. These were made of things that are invisible.

And the spirit is invisible made of the invisible but coupled with a biological machine can manifest itself

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have."” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭24:39‬ ‭

This is also pertinent to the incarnation because Jesus was given a body (Heb 10:5) but His spirit was placed inside of a body. His spirit was preexisting. So Mary did not give birth to “God”, she did not create God, nor was she required to be sinless because the body was given to Jesus and His Spirit placed inside it. She gave birth to a biological machine into which the spirit of Jesus was placed. Hence He was fully human, he had a human BODY and fully God, His Spirit was the same (minus his glory which He removed voluntarily).

Humans however do not get preexisting spirits or recycled spirits. They yes, are expected to exist in some point in time after Creation in the future because they are in a register called the book of life written prior to Creation but until they are made they don’t exist. There are also spirits that were never intended to exist and were never written in the book of life, a hybrid being/beast (Genesis 6). Much like a blueprint is not a house until it is constructed, so our spirits are not formed until conception but exists in a register.

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭

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You do not have a soul or spirit...Genesis 2:7 teaches God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man "Became a living soul." so, you do not have a soul - you are a soul...that's why Peter says - 8 souls were saved in the Ark...and Paul says 276 souls were saved in the shipwreck...1st Peter 3:18 and Acts 27.37

  • I am not sure i understand your point - yes we have bodies but we do not have a soul or a spirit....what we have and what we are is body and breath that makes a soul...and when we die the body goes back to the dust and the breath goes back to God - Eccl. 12 verse 7 – David Apr 28 '19 at 7:30

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