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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Hence, says Elihu, "the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life"; or, as Moses testifies, "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives; and man became a Living Soul".

Now, if it be asked, what do the scriptures define "a living soul" to be? -- the answer is, a living natural, or animal, body, whether of birds, beasts, fish or men.

The phrase living creature is the exact synonym of living soul.

The Hebrew words nephesh chayiah are the signs of the ideas expressed by Moses.

Nephesh signifies creature, also life, soul, or breathing frame, from the verb to breathe: chayiah is of life -- a noun from the verb to live.

Nephesh chayiah is the genus which includes all species of living creatures; namely, Adam, man; beme, beast of the field; chitu, wild beast; remesh, reptile; and ouph, fowl, etc. In the common version of the scriptures, it is rendered living soul; so that under this form of expression the scriptures speak of "all flesh" which breathes in air, earth, and sea.

Writing about body, the apostle says, "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body".

But, he does not content himself with simply declaring this truth; he goes further, and proves it by quoting the words of Moses, saying, "For so it is written, the first man Adam was made into a living soul -- eij" yuch;n zw`san ; and then adds, "the last Adam into a spirit giving life, eij" pneu`ma zwopoiou`n Hence, in another place, speaking of the latter, he says of him.

"Now the Lord is the spirit -- oJ de; cu;rio" to; pneu`maj ejstin And we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into his image from glory into glory, as by the Lord the Spirit -- ajpov curivou pnevumato The proof of the apostle's proposition that there is a natural body as distinct from a spiritual body, lies in the testimony, that "Adam was made into a living soul"; showing that he considered a natural, or animal body, and a living soul, as one and the same thing.

If he did not, then there was no proof in the quotation, of what he affirmed.

A man then is a body of life in the sense of his being an animal, or living creature -- nephesh chayiah adam.

As a natural man, he has no other pre-eminence over the creatures God made than what his peculiar organization confers upon him.

Moses makes no distinction between him and them; for he styles them all living souls, breathing the breath of lives.

Thus, literally rendered, he says, "The Elohim said, The waters shall produce abundantly sheretz chayiah nephesh, the reptile living soul"; and again, "kal nephesh, chayiah erameshat, every living soul creeping".

In another verse, "Let the earth bring forth nephesh chayiah, the living soul after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth," etc. ; and "lekol rumesh ol eretz asher bu nephesh chayiah, to every thing creeping upon the earth which (has) in it living breath," that is, breath of lives.

And lastly, "Whatsoever Adam called nephesh chayiah, the living soul, that was the name thereof".

Quadrupeds and men, however, are not only "living souls" but they are vivified by the same breath and spirit.

In proof of this, I remark first, that the phrase "breath of life" in the text of the common version is neshemet chayim in the Hebrew; and that, as chayim is in the plural, it should be rendered breath of lives.

Secondly, this neshemet chayim is said to be in the inferior creatures as well as in man.

Thus, God said, "I bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh wherein is ruach chayim, spirit of live".

And in another place, "They went in to Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, in which is ruach chayim, spirit of lives ".

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing, and every man; all in whose nostrils was neshemet ruach chayim, breath of spirit of lives".

Now, as I have said, it was the neshemet, chayim with which Moses testifies God inflated the nostrils of Adam; if, therefore, this were divina particula aurū, particle of the divine essence, as it is affirmed, which became the "immortal soul" in man, then all other animals have "immortal souls" likewise; for they all received "breath of spirit of lives" in common with man.