Who is God?

The one true God acts in a faithful manner; The Lord’s promise is reliable; He is a shield to all who take shelter in Him.

Indeed, Who is God besides The Lord? We can ask; who or what is a protector besides our God?

Psalms 18:30-31

Y’all, I smirk with mirth. Who is God? This unseen entity that spoke His Word and all came to be!

Evolutionists; are you from a microbe? If “Yes”, answer me this. Why are there still microbes? Did you not say we evolved from that?

Betterment of species? Why are the “less better” still around? Should they not be all gone? They had errors.

If we came from Apes; why are there still apes? Monkeys? Same question? Why are they still around? Is it not said that we evolved from caveMen? Where are said? Why have humans developed into a distinct species?

Head of the crop! I’d say. In Who’s likeness? Was there a blueprint?

Yes, reason! Source of reason?
The argument from reason is an argument against metaphysical naturalism and for the existence of God (or at least a supernatural being that is the source of human reason).

We can go all ways to Sunday! Another argument?

Sources of Knowledge? Reason.

Reason can be considered a source of knowledge, either by deducing truths from existing knowledge, or by learning things a priori, discovering necessary truths (such as mathematical truths) through pure reason. The view that reason is the primary source of knowledge is called rationalism.

Ok, we stroll far and wide! But in Who’s likeness are we made?

IF even it is a Force that we call Nature! Define “Nature”. Chance? This tickles on the absurd! Chance? Really?

We chanced to be here? What about all the hoopla? We came from SOMEWHERE, no?

Reason as hard as I can; let me ask the question that has behooved me.

Who am I? Why am I?

Ok, so we make a ‘living’ have an awesome name, but then what?

Technology? Can we extend life? Not one bit. Health nuts? Do we see them in their 100’s? Just asking.

Where are they?

“Dead and gone.” I hear so often. Gone where? The answers come a dime a dozen.

Ok, so if we die and are gone forever; what are memories for? I have heard “so we do not make mistakes again!” Really?

But why do we remember “the good stuff”? Life is a lesson, no? A lesson for what?

Once again we delve into the barely spoken about.

So one may observe that the definition of a nervous system must not be thought of in terms of its basic function (response to stimuli), but in terms of its makeup (specialized cells).

Did God leave His creation in a state where a scarcity of resources, natural selection, or eating of meat existed? The Scriptures suggest that there was sufficient food for all the birds, animals, and man. The Bible expressly states that God commanded the birds, animals, and man to eat only from the plant kingdom. Thus, the statements of Scripture are perfectly clear. Creation was not to eat meat of any kind, nor was resource scarcity a present reality.

The biblical text tells us the status of the finished creation. If it did not have any of these things operating when God finished His work, then the prospects of physical death before the Fall of Adam are slight indeed. No active agent would have existed to cause death. When death occurs, whether seen from the vantage point of the Scriptures or from our experience, there must be some active external force to cause death.

Some would argue to the contrary that when any creature in the garden ate a plant it would have caused the death of that plant. Those who assert this also point out that modern biologists consider plants to be “living things”. They say this would pose a serious problem for those who insist that there was no physical death before sin entered the world. This is the typical argument:

“However the absence of death would pose just as much a problem for three 24-hour days as it would for three billion years. Many species of life cannot survive for even three hours without food, and the ingestion of food requires at least the death of plants”2

It appears that a contradiction exists between what many believe, and what the Scriptures actually teach. This quotation implies that death has always existed on the earth, and therefore, God must be the one responsible for creating it.

All too often, people say they believe what the Bible teaches, but accept a popular idea without ever examining the Scriptures to see if such an idea is true. This idea of a “living thing” could be exemplified by plants and animals. One definition of life is: “taking in food, getting energy from it, growing, adapting themselves to their surroundings, and reproducing their kind.”3 This is how many differentiate between something that is living or non-living. Yet the Christian must ask: does this popular definition agree with the biblical definition of what a “living thing” might be?

The Scriptures set forth limits or boundaries on every area of our thinking. Since the Bible is the authoritative Word of God, man must place his thoughts in subjection to the thoughts of God. So, regarding the definition of life, the Bible does set limits on what possesses life. This must be the determinative source for all areas of man’s study.

The discussion of these boundaries may appear as a “slough of despond”. Although it is necessary to examine the scriptural boundaries in depth, one may lose sight of the forest because of the trees. To overcome this loss of focus, the reader must think of himself as a detective. The detective must examine all the clues that relate to the present issue. Once he has all the clues, then he can step back and see the whole picture. The reader needs to bear with the discussion and gather the clues as they surface. Once this task is complete, then it will be possible to step back and examine the whole picture of how the Bible draws the boundaries for defining a “living thing”.

A glimpse of these various boundaries may be illustrated from the books of Genesis and Leviticus. These are not the only places where the boundaries occur, but these two books clearly present them. In Genesis 2 God creates man and man becomes a “living soul”. In Genesis 7 two more limits occur: they are “flesh” and “spirit”.

The final boundary comes from Leviticus 17:11. Here the text says, “the life of all flesh is in the blood”. This English translation is from two Hebrew phrases. The parts of these phrases will be examined in the Old and New Testament statements.

The interpreter must observe the use of each of these words as they relate to humans, animals, and plants. Space constraints will prevent a full semantic treatment of these terms, so a sampling of the evidence will be given here.4–6 Upon finishing this task, it will be clear what the Bible determines to possess life. If it can be shown that plants are not “living”, in the biblical sense, then one can assert that there was no death, suffering, or scarcity in existence in the finished creation.

Soul or consciousness

The Bible associates life and “soul” together in Genesis 2:7. The “soul”, biblically speaking, provides an organism with the capacity to express desires and emotions. The entire biblical record must be studied to observe what possesses a “soul”.

Old Testament view

In the Old Testament, “soul” is a translation of the Hebrew word nepes. This is the word that occurs in Genesis 2:7 describing what man became after God blew the breath of life into him. A major difficulty one encounters with this word is its broad semantic range. The lexicons, and dictionaries, have had this problem too when attempting to circumscribe the range of this Hebrew word.7–10

Another problem is this word’s history. Some try to establish the history of nephesh by tracing it back to an Ugaritic or Akkadian word. Those who practice this method say the original meaning was “throat” or “neck”.11–13 Yet conclusions of this type of extra-biblical historical approach should be considered less authoritative than a study of the biblical context.

Nepes more often refers to humans than it does to animals. The interpreter should expect this because the biblical text focuses primarily upon the relationship of man with God. Yet according to the Scriptures animals do possess consciousness. Not only do the Scriptures claim that animals have nepes, but they also attribute desires and emotions to animals. Animals possess desires for food (Proverbs 12:10) and water (Psalm 42:1, Joel 1:20). They also show the emotions of fear and despair (Lamentations 1:6), and love (Proverbs 5:19). These verses illustrate that animals have similar desires and emotions that humans possess. The most significant references to animals occur in Genesis 1:21 and 24. Here the Bible calls these animals “living creatures”, and consist of two different groups, the land and aquatic animals. The conclusion is that animals, as nepes, possess consciousness, which allows them to express desires.

Examining nepes in terms of humans, one finds a vast amount of material. The word encompasses the entire sphere of human life. So it can be used to show “life” in its many facets. Johnson observes that the Old Testament uses it referring to conscious life:

“… The term nephesh may be used with more obvious reference to what are the comprehensive and unified manifestations of sentient life, as when it is said of the right kind of master that he understands the nephesh (i.e., the feelings) of his beast, or when the Israelites are reminded that in view of their experience in Egypt they are in a position to know the nephesh (i.e., the feelings) of a resident alien.”14

Johnson argues that both humans and animals can be classified as nepes because they have conscious life and possess feelings (emotions) plus desires. Life according to the Bible must possess the capability of being self-conscious. If something does not possess self-consciousness, then it cannot be considered “living”.

This word commonly occurs as a reference to the whole of life, not just to one specific aspect of it. Eichrodt says:

“Thus it becomes a substance which inheres the living even apart from the breath; it becomes equated with life. One can speak equally of the nephesh of animals and the nephesh of man.”15,16

Thus, man and animals can show emotions and have relationships, because they share this very same quality. Robinson observes,

nephesh is not a spiritual entity which enters the body at birth and leaves it at death; it is simply a principle of life which makes the body effective and the body is the real basis of personality.”17

Pedersen gives a good overview:

“By the breath of God it [the lump of clay] was transformed and became a nephesh, a soul. It is not said that man was supplied with a nephesh. Such as he is, man, in his total essence is a nephesh.”18

Many who have written on the nature and use of nephesh share this same view, that it is necessary for something to be considered as living.19–29 It is important to observe that the Old Testament view of life is holistic. Berkouwer summarizes the holistic idea of nepes:

“This does not of course imply that nephesh always refers to the totality of man, or that biblical usage is not deeply conscious of variation in man, of periphery and center, but it does mean that we may not see this variation and this centering as showing a localized religious part of man. On the contrary, the biblical anthropological references unmistakably appear to concern the whole man.”30

So one can conclude that the Old Testament links nepes to man, and even to animals. It then refers to the whole being or any of its parts.

One further use that illustrates man in his entirety should be considered—the pronominal use. This can be observed when one would expect a relative term, such as “he, she, his or her, etc.”. The Hebrew text uses nepes in its place. Brotzman makes this observation:

nephesh and a personal suffix (his or your) were used to parallel a simple pronoun. This requires that the exegete understands the words ‘hisnephesh’ as a circumlocution for ‘himself’.”31

This illustrates that the use of nepes may refer to the whole man, since it can replace a relative pronoun when speaking of a human being.

Although nepes refers to the whole man, the Old Testament has other words related to it. The first is the word for “heart” (Hebrew: leb). Its function is essentially that of spiritual or mental activities.32 Bowling likens it “to the inner or immaterial nature in general or to one of the three personality functions of man: emotion, thought, or will.”33–35 Pedersen notes the semantic overlap of nepes to leb:

“The relation between nephesh, soul, and leb, heart, is not that the heart is the designation of certain special functions. The heart is the totality of the soul as a character and operating power, particular stress being laid upon its capacity; nephesh is the soul in the sum of its totality, such as it appears; the heart is the soul in its inner value. One might just as well say ‘that which is in your soul’ as ‘that which is in your heart.’ But whereas it can be said that Jacob came to Egypt with seventy souls, it cannot be said that he came there with seventy hearts.”36

The point lo be gleaned is this: in many respects these words often overlap in their referential significance, so both can refer to man in his entirety. Further, leb is only once used of animals to show emotion (2 Samuel 17:10—this verse is comparing the heart of a warrior to that of the lion). One could rightly say that both animals and man possess this kind of emotion called leb. “Heart” also can be observed in colloquial English, where the same trait is given to man and animals (that is, Richard the “lionhearted’).

The second term that has a semantic field overlap with nepes is the word for “face”, panim. This occurs in the Old Testament, pointing to the emotional aspect of man, carrying with it the significance of “the identification of the person and reflects the attitude and sentiments of the person.”37 The use of “face” in the Old Testament expresses these emotions or attitudes: fierceness, determination, defiance, happiness, sadness, fear, anguish, and anger. Johnson summarizes the relationship between nepes and panim:

“Thus the fact that the various expressions for the ‘fixing “ or ‘turning’ of the face in a particular direction normally serves as an obvious indication of purpose or intention, and thus point to the concentration of the nephesh (or the personality as a whole) upon the end in view, means that in many, if not most, of these cases the use of the Hebrew term panim does not fall far short of making it a parallel to the later term.”38

There is only one reference in the Old Testament that uses panim to refer to animal emotion, 1 Chronicles 12:8. Here the author compares the fierceness of a warrior and that of a lion. So then, one can say that “face” may appear in similar contexts as “heart” or “soul”. The face according to the Old Testament does represent the whole person as an emotional being.

The Old Testament gives examples of these states of animals by comparing the emotions of animals to humans. The Old Testament uses certain animals for such comparisons: donkey or mule, bear, lion, horse, gazelle, ant, bee, leopard, fox and the wolf. The emotional states that are compared are: cunning, fierceness, irritability, stubbornness.39 So the Old Testament does illustrate the emotional or conscious part of animals by comparing their emotions to those of humans.

Therefore, one can speak of the holistic nature of man from the Old Testament, and of animals too, by the term nepes and semantic overlap with leband panim. The Old Testament also presents evidence for the application of nepes to animal life, since they too have consciousness. The terms “heart” and “face”, only used once concerning the emotional states of animals, are illustrative of the complex emotional makeup of man. The results gleaned from these words are that man and animals exist as emotional creatures made by God. Man and animals have emotional relationships, because they share the same essential makeup as nepes. Although that relationship has changed since the entrance of sin into the world, yet it is only man who can have an emotional relationship with God, because it is he alone that has the image of God.

New Testament view

The New Testament primarily uses the word psuche for nepes when quoting from the Old Testament (the Septuagint uses this word to translate the Hebrew words haya, ruah, and nepes).40 The majority of its appearances are in the Gospels and the book of Acts.41 This word has the same broad semantic range through Classical and Koine Greek that its Old Testament counterpart possesses.42,43 It is interesting that many have tried to see a Greek philosophical meaning behind the New Testament use of psuche, but such attempts have not been successful.44 It appears that there is some progress in the revelation of the immortality of the soul between the Old Testament and New Testament,45,46 but it cannot be seen in the use of psuche alone. The idea of the whole man in the New Testament is emphasized by Ridderbos:

Psuche in Paul is neither, after the Greek-Hellenistic fashion, the immortal in man as distinct from the soma, nor does it denote the spiritual as distinct from the material. Psuche stands in general for the natural life of man.”47

Guthrie shares the same thought:

“We should note the complete absence in Paul’s epistle of any suggestion of the Hellenistic notion of the soul’s pre-existence before the existence of the body. The one cannot exist without the other. Indeed Paul never links the two ideas in a description of a person, since either covers both, that is, the whole person.”48

One can observe that the New Testament view of man is that man is a unified whole. The only reference to animals as psuche is Revelation 8:9, where it says that one-third of the living (psuche) creatures in the sea died. Thus, the New Testament considers both man and animals to be living creatures.

An important point to be gleaned from this is that nowhere in the Scriptures are plants ever given these characteristics. Man is distinct from all the animals, not because he has a “soul” but because he is in the image of God. Man can enjoy animal companionship because both man and animal are “living”. Man and the plant kingdom cannot have an emotional relationship because plants do not possess this vital component of life. The relationship man can have with the plant kingdom, according to the Scriptures, is one of planter, harvester, and consumer. In terms of this one defining boundary, plants are not living and therefore cannot be subject to physical death.

Flesh or muscle

The second characteristic of life, as the Bible defines it, is the possession of “flesh”. This is both a physical characteristic and an emotional one. This section will examine what the Scriptures signify by this aspect and how it relates to the definition of “life”.

Old Testament view

The Hebrew word for flesh is basar. This word occurs throughout the Old Testament, and, like nepes, has a broad semantic range.49–53 The basic idea is some form of corporeal nature.

Basar, when used of animals, refers to the flesh of the animal (that is, the muscle tissue and skin). One can observe this in Genesis 9:3 when God first gives man His permission to eat animal flesh. The Mosaic Law also imposed restrictions on the eating of the basar of animals (Leviticus 17:13, Deuteronomy 12:16,24). Yet most of the occurrences of basar in the Old Testament discuss the use of animal flesh in the sacrificial system. Within the Old Testament one finds that the term “flesh” refers to the flesh, or the muscle and skin of the animal.

The use of “flesh” describing humans occurs 169 times out of 273, the remainder referring to animals.54 Wolff describes the significance: “This alone shows that basar is the term for something that is broadly characteristic of both man and beast.”55 The major physical characteristic that both man and animals share is that both man and animals have flesh, or muscle. This word, when referring to humans, can signify the entire physical body, or just parts of it (Numbers 8:7 and Job 4:15 appear to refer to just the head and not the entire body).

The idea of a relationship between beings, whether it is man and man or man and animals, also can be shown by the use of “flesh”. The relationship among brothers or nations can be expressed by referring to a common flesh (Genesis 37:27, Nehemiah 5:5). It can be used as a reference to all living things, as in Genesis 6:12and 17 (cf. Genesis 9:16). All things with basar are grouped together probably because they all can share in the blessings of God’s provision.

Another meaning of “flesh”, as it applies to humans, has the idea of weakness. Often in the Old Testament, to rely on one’s own strength is to rely on his basar. This functions in a contrastive sense with one trusting in God’s faithfulness (Jeremiah 17:5,7). One also might note that this weakness could have a physical connotation comparing human might with God’s (2 Chronicles 32:8). Wolff observes: “basar not only means the powerlessness of the mortal creature but also the feebleness of his faithfulness and obedience to the will of God.”56 Thus “flesh” in the Old Testament can signify either a physical or moral weakness, or the physical body.

The Old Testament refers to the physical substance of both man and animal with basar. Therefore, basar is never used to describe God. When the Old Testament calls humans “flesh” the term has a broader semantic sense, for it can signify the idea of moral weakness. When animals are referred to as “flesh” it focuses on something used either for food or for sacrificial purposes. Yet both nepes and basar are semantically related as Pedersen notes:

“When in the story of the creation it is told that God breathed the spirit of life into the man of clay he had molded, it must not be construed in the manner that the clay is the body, the spirit of God the soul, which is seated and acts within the body. The man of clay was a dead thing, but by the breath of God he was entirely changed and became a living soul. Soul and body are so intimately united that a distinction cannot be made between them. They are more than ‘united”: the body is the soul in its outward form.”57

The nepes signifies the animating principle of both man and animals, and it is the “flesh” that is animated. If the nepes were to depart, the basarwould die, yet one cannot be a nepes (other than God himself) without possessing a basar.

New Testament view

The New Testament continues and broadens the thought pattern seen in the Old Testament. It illustrates a continuity with the Old Testament in that the “flesh” refers to both the outer physical part of man and his moral weakness. Yet in the word sarx a different side for “flesh” surfaces. This term sarx translates the Hebrew word basar.58

One should note the semantic range in this word. The Classical Greek illustrates six uses of sarx,59whereas the New Testament shows eight distinct uses of this word.60 Paul provides the most interesting usage of sarx.

Most of the occurrences in the Gospels and Acts refer either to the physical body, or to some aspect of it similar to Old Testament usage. This can be illustrated by the comparison that our Lord draws between flesh and blood or between flesh and bone (Matthew 16:17 and Luke 24:39). The second chapter of Acts uses sarx concerning the body of Christ, and all humanity. Sarx may also signify the marriage union (Matthew 19:5–6 and Mark 10:8). The Old Testament idea of a physical body or a relationship among creatures is reflected in the New Testament use of sarx.

The most significant development from the Old Testament occurs in the Pauline literature. Paul refers to the “flesh” as an instrument of sin (Romans 7:18, 13:14, Galatians 5:16–19). This is similar to the Old Testament idea of weakness that exists in the flesh as unbelief, but Paul goes further, in that he establishes the root of the weakness. The weakness in the sarx is a sin principle that governs the individual.61 Schweizer supports this idea: “sarx approximates to the idea of a power which works on man and determines his destiny even beyond life on earth.”62–65 Still, one cannot separate between the principle known as sarx and the actual physical body of sarx. Man, in the unbelieving state, is who he is because he is “flesh”. The “flesh” principle is very strong and refers to the complete man.66 This use of sarx, as a principle, could be illustrated by the occurrence of the adjective “fleshly”. This signifies the actions of believers who are not living up to their “spiritual” calling in Christ. Paul, by using sarx in this manner, links the physical body and the “soul” into one unit. So although Paul adds to the semantic range of sarx, he is not in essence altering its meaning.

Finally, one other term should be alluded to at this point, the word “body” (Greek soma). This is a rare word in the Septuagint and translates se er, which refers to a specific part of the “flesh”, and nebela, the word for “corpse”, and occasionally, for basar.Soma refers to the physical body and occurs with other terms such as “blood” and “bone”.67 When it appears in the New Testament soma refers to something that will be completely transformed in the future resurrection. Whereas sarx is being transformed while living on earth, so it will not be affected by the bodily resurrection.68–70 Whensoma appears it is descriptive of the physical body, in contrast with sarx which sees man holistically.

The New Testament uses both sarx and somareferring to animals. The book of Hebrews discusses the fact that the bodies of animals were burned outside the camp (Hebrews 13:11), referring to the carcass of the sacrificial animal. John uses sarx of the flesh of horses after the great battle (Revelation 19:18). Although there is little mention of animals in the New Testament, it appears that animals do possess the same physical flesh as humans.

Clearly nowhere in the biblical record is one told that plants possess any kind of “flesh”. The New Testament declares that humans and animals possess soma and sarx. This follows the Old Testament use of basar as it relates that to plants. The only possible conclusion which can be drawn is that the Bible does not afford to plants the status of “living things”. On the second boundary of life, one can find no mention of plants in the Bible.

Spirit or breath

The third necessary aspect is that of “spirit” or “breath”. This term (and its usage) is broad, yet like the other two it functions with “life”, so that which does not possess this aspect is not living.

Old Testament view

The Hebrew word that is most applicable is ruah. The semantic range of this word is very broad.71–73 As it occurs in the Old Testament, both man and animal possess a ruah. The use of this word is very unusual as Wolff observes:

“A mere glance at the statistics shows that ruachcan


Published by Fellowship of Praise

To God be The glory. Let us praise God together for His ALL in our lives, Amen.

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