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by Dr. John Thomas
This may exist free or combined with the elementary constituents of the neshemeh.
Uncombined, it is that wonderful fluid, whose explosions are heard in the thunder, whose fiery bolts overthrow the loftiest towers, and rive the sturdy monarchs of the woods; and in less intensity gives polarity to light, the needle, and the brain.
These three together, the oxygen, nitrogen, and electricity, constitute "the breath" and "spirit" of the lives of all God's living souls.
Thus, from the centre of the earth, and extending throughout all space in every direction, is the Ruach Elohim, the existence of which is demonstrable from the phenomena of the natural system of things.
It penetrates where the neshermet el, or atmospheric air, cannot.
When speaking, however, of the motivity and sustentation of organized dust, or souls, they are co-existent within them.
In this case, the ruach Elohim becomes the ruach chayim, or "spirit of lives"; and the neshemet el, the neshemet chayim, or "breath of lives"; and both combined in the elaboration and support of life, the neshemet ruach chayim, or "breath of the spirit of lives".
Living creatures, or souls, are not animated, as physiologists and speculative "divines" erroneously imagine, by "a vital principle," capable of disembodied existence as the ghost of a man, or the transmigrating spectres of other animal species: -- ghostly things, the laws and functions of which in the animal economy physiologists are unable to discover; and theologists are nonplussed to prove the existence of from the word of God.
On the contrary, "souls" are "made living" by the coetaneous operation of the ruach chayim and neshemet chayim upon their organized tissues according to certain fixed laws.
When the as yet occult laws of the all-pervading ruach, or spirit, shall be known, this subject will be understood; and men will then be as astonished at the ignorance of the "divines" and physiologists of this "cloudy and dark day," respecting "living souls," as we are at the notion of the ancients, that their "immortal gods" resided in the stocks and stones they so stupidly adored.
This, however, is quite as reasonable a theory as that of "immortal souls" dwelling in sinners of Adam's race.
The ruach chayim and neshemet chayim are lent to the creatures of the natural world for the appointed period of their living existence.
But, though lent to them, they are still God's breath, and God's spirit; nevertheless, to distinguish them from the expanse of air and spirit in their totality, they are sometimes styled, "the spirit of man," and "the spirit of the beast"; or collectively, "the spirits of all flesh," and "their breath".
Thus, it is written, "They have all one ruach, or spirit; so that man hath no pre-eminence over a beast; for all is vanity or vapour".
"All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again".
And in the sense of supplying to every living creature, or soul, "spirit" and "breath," Jehovah is styled by Moses, "God of the spirits of all flesh".
Besides the ruach and neshemeh without, there are certain elementary principles, in a state of combination, within all living souls, which are related to them by fixed and appropriate laws, for the manifestation of living actions.
The light to the eye, and the eye to the light; so also, the breath and the spirit of God to the constituents of blood, and the blood to them.
These, acting and re-acting upon each other in the lungs of all breathing frames, cause that motion throughout their structure which is termed life.
The following testimonies will throw some light upon this part of our subject.
"Flesh, be-nephesh-u, with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat".
This teaches that blood is the nephesh, or life of the flesh; hence it continues, "and surely your blood, lah-nephesh-tikam, for your lives will I require".
We often find life put for blood, and blood for life, as elsewhere in the context.