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The Breath Of Life


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Something just occurred to me as I am sitting here tonight, watching a wonderful documentary on evolution. (Of course there is a Christian family arguing against their son for starting to believe this 'theory'.) They are now arguing about god 'breathing life' into Adam and Eve.

 

So here's my dumb question: If God had to breathe the 'breath of life' into Adam and Eve - why didn't he have to do this to all the animals and living creatures? Why could they breathe on their own?

 

Breathing is described as 'An inhalation or exhalation of air from the lungs, so did God have lungs to blow the breath?'.And if Adam and Eve were 'formed' fully, made with lungs - why didn't the lungs work without god having to breath into their nostrils?

 

It doesn't say anything about god starting up the heart........................................?

 

I know this is a dumb question..................................:shrug:I am slowly deconverting........................... Please have patience with me?

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From http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/abraham-bible/

 

"From the Jewish perspective the ability to express oneself—whether through writing or speech—personifies what human beings are all about. We learn that when God created the first human being—Adam—He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) The Hebrew phrase l’nefesh chayah, “living soul,” can also be translated as “a speaking soul.” (Targum Onkelos, Genesis 2:7)"

I understand the Adam and Eve story to be mythical, and am just relaying this from a Jewish perspective - since it is their sacred writings.

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I think the focus of the story is on the specialness of the human being, I think breathing the breath of life into Adam symbolizes his animating us as a creation and setting us apart as his special creation.

 

It's not really about mechanics. It's about whatever makes humans special. Rabbis , philosophers and Theologians all through the ages have speculated what that special relationship with god entails as opposed to other creatures.

 

But I don't think you have to go into excruciating detail. The message of the story (and it is just a symbol-laden story) is "We are special." The efforts of others since then to elucidate exactly what properties make us special have been speculative and arbitrary. The effort is fueled by the need to reinterpret myths and sacred texts and objects and make them relevant in the contemporary context.

 

Just remember three words "We are special." That's what the breath of life means in the genesis account there.

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I don't think your question is dumb, at all. In fact, your question points out a view that I had not considered before. So, well done.

 

Genesis actually contains two separate creation stories (and arguably three). But for these purposes, I'll keep it simple and say there are two creation stories. The first one is as follows:

 

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 

6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

 

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

27 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

 

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

 

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

 

 

Genesis 1 and 2:1-2

 

And the second creation story is here:

 

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the LORD God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[d] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[e] 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

 

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

 

18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

 

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

 

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

 

23 The man said,

 

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

 

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

 

Genesis 2:4-25.

 

In both versions, human beings are created "special" but exactly what constituted this specialness is different in each version of the story. In the first version of the creation story, the text tells us, "Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” Genesis 1:26. And mankind was the only living thing created in god's image [actually "our" image which tells us that there was some polytheism going on when this was written out]. It was by being made in god's image that mankind was able to rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the air, etc. And so in the first version of the creation story, the specialness of mankind is being created in god's image. "Breath of life" is mentioned in the first version [Genesis 1:30] but in that version of the creation story, it applies to all animals and not to just to mankind.

 

In the second version of the creation story, what made man, not mankind as was the case in the first version, but the specific male gender, special was that god '...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7. Compare that with how the other animals were created in this version of the story. Like man [Adam], they were made from the ground [Genesis 2:7 man formed from the dust of the ground and Genesis 2:19 animals and birds formed from the ground], but it was only Adam who received the breath of life directly from god, thus showing him to be special and being allowed to name all the animals. Genesis 2:19-20.

 

But notice something important in the second version of the creation story as contrasted with the first version. In the first version, there is no differentiation between men and women being created. Rather, it is mankind, or more correctly, humankind, that was created, both male and female. The genders were equal at least by virtue of the creation. But in the second version, we see the creation of a man, Adam, and it is Adam who is special because god breathed the breath of life into him. Eve, on the other hand, was fashioned from one of Adam's ribs. In other words, she is something less than Adam. Adam was made directly by god from scratch and even received the breath of life directly from god. But Eve was something less.

 

So, the second version of the creation story not only has man [Adam] as special over the animals, but also has him special over woman [Eve]. How's that for the beginnings of misogyny?

 

So which version of the creation story do you, as a woman, prefer?

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I So, the second version of the creation story not only has man [Adam] as special over the animals, but also has him special over woman [Eve]. How's that for the beginnings of misogyny?

 

So which version of the creation story do you, as a woman, prefer?

 

 

and my answer is................... a song by Helen Ready: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1C9jR3YLpU&feature=related

 

 

I am woman, hear me roar :sing:

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an' pretend

'cause I've heard it all before

And I've been down there on the floor

No one's ever gonna keep me down again

CHORUS

Oh yes I am wise -

But it's wisdom born of pain :sing:

Yes, I've paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can do anything

I am strong (strong)

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

 

You can bend but never break me

'cause it only serves to make me

More determined to achieve my final goal

And I come back even stronger :sing:

Not a novice any longer

'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul

 

CHORUS

 

I am woman watch me grow

See me standing toe to toe

As I spread my lovin' arms across the land

But I'm still an embryo

With a long long way to go :sing:

Until I make my brother understand

 

Oh yes I am wise

But it's wisdom born of pain

Yes, I've paid the price

But look how much I gained

If I have to, I can face anything

I am strong (strong) :sing:

I am invincible (invincible)

I am woman

Oh, I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

 

FADE

I am woman

I am invincible

I am strong

I am woman

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I don't think your question is dumb, at all. In fact, your question points out a view that I had not considered before. So, well done.

 

Genesis actually contains two separate creation stories (and arguably three). But for these purposes, I'll keep it simple and say there are two creation stories. The first one is as follows:

 

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

 

6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

 

9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

 

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

 

20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

 

24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

27 So God created mankind in his own image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

 

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

 

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

 

 

Genesis 1 and 2:1-2

 

And the second creation story is here:

 

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.

5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the LORD God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

 

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[d] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[e] 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

 

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

 

18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

 

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

 

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

 

23 The man said,

 

“This is now bone of my bones

and flesh of my flesh;

she shall be called ‘woman,’

for she was taken out of man.”

 

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

 

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

 

Genesis 2:4-25.

 

In both versions, human beings are created "special" but exactly what constituted this specialness is different in each version of the story. In the first version of the creation story, the text tells us, "Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'” Genesis 1:26. And mankind was the only living thing created in god's image [actually "our" image which tells us that there was some polytheism going on when this was written out]. It was by being made in god's image that mankind was able to rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the air, etc. And so in the first version of the creation story, the specialness of mankind is being created in god's image. "Breath of life" is mentioned in the first version [Genesis 1:30] but in that version of the creation story, it applies to all animals and not to just to mankind.

 

In the second version of the creation story, what made man, not mankind as was the case in the first version, but the specific male gender, special was that god '...breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7. Compare that with how the other animals were created in this version of the story. Like man [Adam], they were made from the ground [Genesis 2:7 man formed from the dust of the ground and Genesis 2:19 animals and birds formed from the ground], but it was only Adam who received the breath of life directly from god, thus showing him to be special and being allowed to name all the animals. Genesis 2:19-20.

 

But notice something important in the second version of the creation story as contrasted with the first version. In the first version, there is no differentiation between men and women being created. Rather, it is mankind, or more correctly, humankind, that was created, both male and female. The genders were equal at least by virtue of the creation. But in the second version, we see the creation of a man, Adam, and it is Adam who is special because god breathed the breath of life into him. Eve, on the other hand, was fashioned from one of Adam's ribs. In other words, she is something less than Adam. Adam was made directly by god from scratch and even received the breath of life directly from god. But Eve was something less.

 

So, the second version of the creation story not only has man [Adam] as special over the animals, but also has him special over woman [Eve]. How's that for the beginnings of misogyny?

 

So which version of the creation story do you, as a woman, prefer?

 

 

You always make sense to me!

You must be a rational man.................................... and I must be an irrational, emotional woman! :wacko:

 

Thanks again for answering not really dumb questions!

 

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I think the focus of the story is on the specialness of the human being, I think breathing the breath of life into Adam symbolizes his animating us as a creation and setting us apart as his special creation.

 

It's not really about mechanics. It's about whatever makes humans special. Rabbis , philosophers and Theologians all through the ages have speculated what that special relationship with god entails as opposed to other creatures.

 

But I don't think you have to go into excruciating detail. The message of the story (and it is just a symbol-laden story) is "We are special." The efforts of others since then to elucidate exactly what properties make us special have been speculative and arbitrary. The effort is fueled by the need to reinterpret myths and sacred texts and objects and make them relevant in the contemporary context.

 

Just remember three words "We are special." That's what the breath of life means in the genesis account there.

 

I like this oddbird -Thanks!

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I was certain of your answer, but was greatly pleased with the manner by which you answered. That was a great hit by Helen Reddy. I hadn't heard it in a long time, so I clicked on your linked and listened to it. Still as great as ever.

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From http://www.simpletor.../abraham-bible/

 

"From the Jewish perspective the ability to express oneself—whether through writing or speech—personifies what human beings are all about. We learn that when God created the first human being—Adam—He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7) The Hebrew phrase l’nefesh chayah, “living soul,” can also be translated as “a speaking soul.” (Targum Onkelos, Genesis 2:7)"

I understand the Adam and Eve story to be mythical, and am just relaying this from a Jewish perspective - since it is their sacred writings.

 

thanks Eugene, good stuff - I'm going to read that history story tomorrow!

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You always make sense to me!

You must be a rational man.................................... and I must be an irrational, emotional woman! :wacko:

 

Thanks again for answering not really dumb questions!

 

 

You've been sounding pretty rational to me since you showed up on this site.

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You always make sense to me!

You must be a rational man.................................... and I must be an irrational, emotional woman! :wacko:

 

Thanks again for answering not really dumb questions!

 

 

You've been sounding pretty rational to me since you showed up on this site.

 

 

OH MY GOD MONK- I BELIEVE THAT IS A COMPLIMENT? :kiss:

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and my answer is................... a song by Helen Ready: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1C9jR3YLpU&feature=related

 

 

I am woman, hear me roar :sing:

In numbers too big to ignore

And I know too much to go back an' pretend

'cause I've heard it all before

And I've been down there on the floor

No one's ever gonna keep me down again

 

 

Thanks for reminding me of this, Margee! I might just listen to this every morning now, for inspiration.

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