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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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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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Let me define the spirit of Adam by

Genesis 2:7 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.

When the divine breath of God came into contact with the dusty nostrils that were Adam's, Adam's life (soul) came on. He and his dusty body became animated.

By this definition, the spirit of Adam was the divine breath of life.

Is the spirit of Adam a created thing?

No, unless the divine breath of life itself was created.

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  • Zec 12:1 says the spirit of man is "formed" but that it is formed from an uncreated spirit (the spirit of God)? Thus, the spirit of man is actually the preexisting divine breath united to a body – Radz Brown Mar 24 at 0:17
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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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Let's start from the beginning with what we know - what we're told.

There are two spirits in play that are of interest regarding created man and his potential for (intended) eternal life.

  1. the spirit in man
  2. The holy spirit that God gives to those He chooses (the 'choosing' is not important here)

Romans 8:16 The Spirit (of God) itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

Ecclesiastes 3:21 the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?

Imparting an understanding that nothing but mankind has a life potential past the present fleshly life of death. (death for two reasons - we are physical and subject to daily decay, and spiritually dead because of Adam's sin and resultant corruption of all men)

When we die in this age, we remain dead until we are raised - no one is going to heaven. 'No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man', John 3:13

The spirit that God has placed in us returns to Him at death - Luke 23:46 Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit (Jesus dying). Eccl 3:21 again. Acts 7:59 Stephen dying. This isn't the holy spirit.

We are 'spiritual' creatures - but not possessing immortal life until resurrected out of this age. Until that change takes place, we are predominately flesh and the human spirit in us is to provide a faculty for reason and intellect etc.

Hebrews 12:23 And to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect

Now we see reference to the spirits made perfect - believers whose spirits are sanctified etc and made acceptable to God through Christ. So these human spirits were not righteous - but sinful.

And we go back to the start again...

Romans 8:16 The Spirit (of God) itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

God determines that we are perfected because there is harmony between His spirit and ours - both are of God, but only one is allowed to be (initially) subject to our corrupted will and environment - that of the devil.

This human spirit is the same as Jesus' spirit when he fought to bring his will into subjection with the Father's will when facing imminent horrific suffering and eventual death on the cross.

We see by Paul's hand the choice to commit a man to 'death' in this age, that his spirit might be saved/perfected in the next. If the man was to continue fleeing God's will he would find it harder (perhaps by Paul's thinking, impossible) to return when given the chance.

1 Corinthians 5:5 You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

Again we see man's spirit with inherent free-will component - able to rebel and sin, contrasted against the spirit of God that would transform him eventually to godliness - being saved.

So, the spirit in man is of God, but by no means divine - NOT holy by any means.

Based on this assessment, there is no immortal component to the person - they die and remain so until a resurrection - their spirit goes back to the God who gave it.

If God has been at work in us Phil 2:13, we will be raised in the 1st resurrection to eternal life - joining with Jesus.

Is the spirit in man created? The origin of each subsequent life after Adam has the 'life' imparted by the parents - God created once and set a process in motion.

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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

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  • 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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