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Bible Studies/What God breathed into us


QUESTION: Hi Scott. I am writing to inquire about the phrases in the Bible, "..breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." and "..your body is the throne of the Holy spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you."
From these two quotes, I interpret them to mean that there exists within us something that once resided within God, and as we walk this Earth, we walk with God or a piece of God.  Am I interpreting this correctly?  When God 'breathed' life into us, he transferred a part of what existed within him into us.  
Are there different Christian sects that believe differently regarding this?
Peace be with you.

ANSWER: Hi Kirk,

When God breathed life into Adam, he turned an inanimate, lifeless object into a living, breathing human being with a soul. God's breath was the breath of life. It was part of the creation process--part of what God did to create man.

Does this mean that, as you say, "there exists within us something that once resided within God"? Yes. That something is life.

However, to do so did not mean that God had to transfer "a part of what existed within him into us." Nothing left God. Just as God was able to create the universe out of nothing but His spoken word, so He created life out of nothing--without having to sacrifice or surrender anything.

In I Corinthians 6:19, Pauls says, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own ...." Here, the Bible is speaking to the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity, who comes to indwell the believer at the moment of regeneration. Not every human being is indwelt by the Holy Spirit--only those who have been born again into God's family. See

So the breath God breathed into man at Creation and the Holy Spirit that indwells believers are not identical. The following excerpt from Got Questions further clarifies this distinction:

Question: Is the Holy Spirit the same as the breath of life that God breathed into man?

Answer: No. The Hebrew word, Ruwach is used to designate God’s Spirit in the Old Testament, and sometimes is also used to designate man’s spirit. However, when God breathed life into the first man Adam, a different word is used, which is nashamah. This word is used in association with giving life to a human soul.

When God created the first Adam, He breathed into him the “breath of life” and Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7).

And so it is written, the first Adam was made a living soul. The last Adam was made a quickening - (Greek, zoopoieo- life giving-) Spirit - I Corinthians 15:45.
For as the Father has life in Himself: so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself - John 5:26.

Here the Scriptures make a specific distinction between the spirit that animated the first Adam’s soul “The breath (nashamah) of life” from the Father and the “quickening” life giving Holy Spirit (Ruwach) of the Father that animated His Son’s soul.

Jesus was given life as a human by the Holy Spirit, therefore His life force as a man is God’s Spirit. The Breath of Life – (Nashamah) that we inherit from our parents was never intended to give eternal life. The longevity that was imparted to Adam and Eve was through their diet, the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22), which was denied to them after their fall. When we receive the salvation that can only be given by Jesus, (for only He has the life, the Spirit of the Father in His blood to impart to us), we receive the Holy Spirit which enables our souls to have the same life as Jesus, which is eternal - for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life - John 3:16.

I have not seen a lot of controversy over this issue, although I have come across a guy who has used the Genesis passage to argue that life starts, not at conception, but at the first breath.

So you're from Pennsylvania. What part? I'm from Lancaster, but recently moved to the Seattle area to take a new job.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Scott.  SEATTLE?!  Outstanding.  I am in Pittsburgh, but moved out from Seattle 19 years ago.  Where specifically did you move to in Seattle?  I grew up on Bainbridge Island.  I miss the fresh air!

I am trying to understand your answer, "there exists within us something that once resided within God"? Yes.
So, it is not the holy spirit, but rather life you refer to.  But I don't understand how, yes, there is something within us that once resided within God, but yet no, nothing transferred.  Can you tell me more what you mean when you say that we do have something within us that did reside in God, but yet there was no transfer?  

Thank you,



How interesting! We moved from Pennsylvania to Seattle, and you moved from Seattle to Pennsylvania. We live in Federal Way, not far from Milton and Edgewood. It is a very convenient location ... though I'd love to get out on Bainbridge Island!

Here's what I meant. When God breathed life into Adam, He did not transfer it FROM Himself. In other words, nothing tangible LEFT God or was given up. Rather, He CREATED life in Adam when He breathed into the body He had made. He created a living soul.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Of course, I have more follow-up questions. :)  I hope I don't frustrate you.  I'm a bit of an 'outside the box' thinker with things and I always seem to ask questions that other people don't typically ask.
Certainly, it was not just oxygen that he breathed into us, but as you say, nothing left God or was transferred.  He gave us life from his life through a breath.  I think what is holding me up is the use of the word breath in Genesis.  God did not say "Let there be life", but rather he breathed life into us.  To me, breath goes in and out of life, so can it be said that the breath he gave us originated within him somehow in some way?  So, even if he did not pass a piece of himself to us, the breath was touched by him and carried life with it when he breathed it into Adam.  Was the breath energized by God but did not actually carry a part of himself?? Are we like fruit from a tree that was given life by the tree although the tree did not lose or give an actual piece of itself to the fruit, but rather it's life passed through the fruit and left life.
Thanks for putting up with me!


You can ask as many questions as you like. I may not be able to give you the answers you seek, but I will not get frustrated.

Your question is very thought-provoking. Yes, you are an "outside the box" thinker, and I like that. You make the observation that, while God could have created life in man just as He created all other elements in the universe--by speaking it into existence--instead, God chose to do so by breathing life into man.

The question is, Why?

Was this merely symbolic? Is life itself different than and distinct from the physical universe? What special traits does it hold due to God's breathing it out? This is a very interesting thing to consider, and something I cannot readily answer ... other than to speculate.

I like your analogy of the fruit tree. Life is given by the tree, although the tree did not have to surrender anything for that life to come into being. It is the transfer of life from one living thing to the next.

The act of breathing. It's very personal. It makes it very clear that life, and all that makes life special and unique, is something that comes from the core of God Himself.

Here's something else to consider. God is Spirit (John 4:24). He does not have a physical body and so does not possess literal breath. And yet the Bible tells us that Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, is responsible for creation. See Colossians 1:16, I Corinthians 15:45. Jesus has a physical body.

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Scott Talbot


I have studied the Bible and Bible-related topics since the time I was very young. My education includes a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Bible, and a Master of Divinity degree. I enjoy delving into deep theological issues and always enjoy a healthy debate. But more importantly, I like working with people and helping them to find the answers that they are looking for. And I am convinced that these answers are available in the Bible.


By the grace and mercy of God, I have been saved, born again, adopted into the family of God. God has given me a love for the Bible, and for Bible-related subjects. In addition, He has blessed me with ongoing training in the Scriptures, from my youth on up. The more I learn about God through His Word, the more I want to share!

Campus Crusade for Christ, Grace Church at Willow Valley

Pillsbury Baptist Bible College - B.S. Bible & Pastorology; Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary - M.Div.

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