Living Beings

The modern concepts within Biology, the study of life, are based on secular views of life which are hidden in evolutionary terminology. Evolution considers plants, animals, and man to all be alive and related to one another. The biological sciences look at functions such as movement, growth, respiration, excretion, and reproduction as signs of life. While plants could be described as having most of the functions given in biology, they do not have all of them, most notably the absence of movement.

Within Scripture, a very different view of life is given. A simple look at the differences between the body, soul, and spirit shows that life is much more than just functions of the body which act as a response to a stimulus. Furthermore, the ability to reproduce is not limited to life. Instead, life is connected to the blood, something which is not present in plants.

Body, Soul, and Spirit

Basar – The Flesh / Body

The first level of created kinds to look at deals with the body which is also translated as flesh. The body is translated from the Hebrew word ‘basar’. The body is much more than simple dirt or crystals. This is the basic level of created kinds because it is able to reproduce, a basic requirement of kinds. Yet it is not necessarily considered alive within Scripture. This term is applied to organisms including plants, animals, and man. It is not applied to dirt, rocks, water, and weather. In essence, it could be comparable to referencing things containing DNA.

Nefesh – The Soul

To find what is alive within Scripture, one must look to the next level which is the soul. The soul is translated from the Hebrew word ‘nefesh’. Nefesh is the level that distinguishes life and can be considered as an active body (a body with life – see chay below). It is associated with breathing, called alive , and is strongly connected with the blood. Animals and people are given the nefesh level. It is not immortal and it has physical needs. It is the soul which can die and which receives salvation and redemption. It is given plants to eat.

Ruach – The Spirit

The next level to examine is the Spirit. The Spirit is translated from the Hebrew word ‘Ruach’. The ruach is given to man and is the level that distinguishes man above the animals. It is conscious of good and evil and seems to imply motivation. It is the spirit that has communion with Elohim and a renewed spirit that comes with accepting the Messiah as Savior.

The Breath of Life

And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen 2:7 KJV

Nasham – The Breath

It is when man is given the ‘breath of life’ that he is considered to be a living being (Gen 2:7). This is connected with the Hebrew word ‘nasham’ which indicates breathing. Similarly, death, or the expiring of a man, comes when breathing ceases. This is also true for the animals. As breathing oxygen is a necessary part of the function of blood, this suggests that breathing is one of the best signs of physical life.

Chay – Life

The phrase ‘Breath of Life’ also includes the word Chay. Chay is basically life itself (whereas nephesh above is a body that has life). Chay is used hundreds of times in Scripture in relation to the Eternal, to man, and to animals but not in relation to plants.

Plants, Animals, and Man

According to the terms given by the Creator in Scripture, the levels become clear. Plants have a body but are not considered living because they do not have a soul. Animals have both a body and a soul and are, therefore, considered living. However, it is only man which has body, soul, and spirit which places him above all other parts of the Creation.

Last Updated: 06 / 2017
Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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