The human mind and mind power. The combination that characterizes and animates only human beings; this is the essence of neshama and ruach
The Human mind, neshama, and mind power, ruach are the fundamental components of each human being. They confer our consciousness and make us human. Grasping these basics is paramount to understanding the story of humankind.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 5.1)
The Explanation is elaborating on the most critical aspect of the entire universe. The epitome of the creation in Genesis 2:7. Not just the creation of the first human being. But, in particular, what differentiates a human from any other life on Earth and, indeed, the rest of the physical universe. I can affirm this because this is the specific description of the father of all humanity (Gen. 5:1).
The particularity that characterizes humans, and only humans, in the material realm, is neshama that we discussed last week. I realize that with weekly posts, spread over months, it is not easy to retain the flow of information regarding the creation of Adam and what made him and makes Eve and all their descendants unique in God’s eyes and unique amongst living beings. After finishing this section, I will publish a book combining all this information, which should make it easier to read and follow.
That said, it is essential to read and understand what makes each of us human, the neshama. It is fundamental knowledge. Get that first piece of the human puzzle wrong, and it will distort the entire rest of the human picture. And indeed, in the realm of psychology and the humanities, confusion reigns as to what the human mind is.
Neshama is the base layer, of two layers, of the human mind. Every human is born with cognition. Wikipedia introduces cognition this way. Cognition is “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” Cognition encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as attention, the formation of knowledge, memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and computation, problem-solving and decision making, comprehension and production of language. Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge.
The Explanation develops this by elaborating on what characterizes the human mind. These are the singularities of humankind: human nature, space-time management, creativity, imagination, learning, making choices, growth, challenges, and rulership.
I italicized Cognitive processes use existing knowledge and generate new knowledge for a reason. Generating new knowledge is a lifelong, ongoing, never-ending experience that only characterizes human beings and their rational mind. Animals do not accumulate knowledge. Even computers only manipulate knowledge into new patterns and spit out new results, but this is not new knowledge per se, it is merely old knowledge in a new format.
This ongoing cognitive process that characterizes humans is the result of the second layer of the human mind. The ruach. The spirit that God has given to each human being. It is this spirit working intricately with the neshama that allows the human mind to develop over its entire lifespan.
Job 34:14 If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather to himself his spirit (ruach – H7307) and his breath (neshama);
This last verse is capital in understanding these two spiritual elements that have animated every human mind of every deceased human being and all living human beings. Upon death, God gathers the neshama and the ruach, and together they represent the imprint, the memory, the life, every recorded instant of each human being. I don’t want to elaborate here, but it is the neshama and ruach at the moment of resurrection, and only at that moment, that confer the specific personalization on the resurrected being. After Christ’s resurrection, He was a Spirit, but the Apostles and others who knew Him recognized His personality and character.
It is these two interlaced God-given spiritual components, neshama and ruach, that interconnect and impart the intellect to each human being. Together they compose the mind and mind-power. Together they feed the brain as a transducer, translating the spiritual information into physical quantum energy packages that messenger all the functions of the body, which displays our emotions and actions.
If I may put it this way, the ruach motorizes the neshama. The ruach is the imaginative, creative, animate power or force that solely endows human beings. The neshama is like having an entire electrical circuit for city housing, shops, factories, public buildings, street lighting, hospitals. It’s a unique framework and channel (neshama). But without electricity (ruach) it’s useless. Likewise, electricity without the framework is futile. The circuit and electricity work together as a twosome. The neshama and the ruach work together as a twosome.
A lamp is what brings the circuit and the electricity together. The analogy breaks down when it comes to the brain because the neshama and ruach are spiritual entities. But it is in the brain where physical activity takes place. The light is the visible result of the circuit and electricity. Likewise, kicking a football, solving a math equation or driving a car are the results of the brain activity. The brain messages the related parts of the body. But the impetus to kick, solve and drive comes from the neshama and ruach.
רוּחַ rûwach roo’-akh; from H7306 (רוּחַ); wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions):
KJV – air, anger, blast, breath, ⨯ cool, courage, mind, ⨯ quarter, ⨯ side, spirit(-ual), tempest, ⨯ vain, (whirl-) wind(-y).
We’ve seen this Strong’s definition on numerous occasions for different reasons. Ruach is the basis for understanding the human mind. Notice that King James’ translators rendered ruach with mind. This mind equates to the stillness of air and the violence of a whirlwind. This mind oscillates in its intensity. It is the plasticity of the mind; this is the invisible (unsubstantiality – without material substance) spirit. It is what powers the human brain.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this most basic understanding is. This mind-body, spirit-material controversy has been going on for 400 years and rages on today. Philosophy and science cannot solve this issue. Philosophy can only speculate about the non-material; science cannot measure and rejects the non-material. Religion has been misled and stammers around, muddled and confused.
True theology and proper comprehension of Genesis 2:7 give the limpid answer. Human beings are formed dust, the body, into which God infused the neshama and ruach, the mind. These elements, the material and the non-material, the physical body and spiritual mind, are what compose a human being. The Bible alone has the right answer. Proper theology alone can unlock and reveal coherent completeness.
The above paragraph concerning who and what a human being is is the most critical in this entire book. Deforming or missing this one piece of the puzzle falsifies comprehension of the rest of the story of humankind.
King David of Israel knew he had a spirit and, as we’d say, his spirit had ups and downs, good and bad phases. Human beings are not robots; we’re subject to all sorts of positive and negative experiences and influences around us. Our spirits can be on a yoyo ride.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit (H7307 – ruach) within me.
Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel. It was a long time before she became pregnant, and that caused her some despair. She talks about how her spirit was affected.
And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord [Eli, the Priest], I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit (H7307 – ruach): I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
During Job’s troubles (he was a servant of God), there was a lengthy discussion with three of his closest friends and peers. A fourth younger individual, Elihu, was also present, but not having the same experience and stature as the three others he kept quiet. As the exchanges boiled on and each side maintained its stance, Elihu became more and more righteously upset. He knew both parties were off-subject. I won’t go into details here. But finally, he could no longer hold back and burst into the conversation.
For I [Elihu] am full of matter, the spirit (H7307 – ruach) within me constrains me.
Poetically, Elihu begins to dispense sounder wisdom to these older men. Behold, my belly is as wine which has no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer (verses 19-20). He used his mind and mind power, neshama and ruach, mind, and mind power to reason soundly. The ensuing expose is of utmost importance by its content and impact.
This chapter simply shows you what the Bible says about how the minds of all men and women function. Every day, minute-by-minute workings that take place in the mind. Not in the brain. These are activities that take place at the neshama and ruach level. Remember, human beings possess both of these components, the neshama by breathing into the first man’s nostrils (Genesis 2:7) and the ruach which God formed in humans (Zechariah 12:1).
The last post about the role of neshama and this post about the role of the spirit in man are two pieces of the puzzle that fit tightly together, like protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. They are inseparable and fundamental particles of each human. Unfortunately, you have to ask yourself, how many people, researchers, scientists, psychologists are aware of this and act accordingly?
Next, we will look at another Spirit; this is God’s Holy Spirit and how He uses that to intervene directly on the human spirit. It is the inter-relationship between God and humans. This Spirit begins to show how and why God created humans and where He’s going with His plan.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 5.1 of the book Origin of Humankind.
Check Strong’s concordance for associated Biblical Hebrew words for ruach (H7307). For instance, H7306 includes a KJV translation, quick understanding, H7304 is translated be refreshed and large. H7305 has the same notion of enlargement. The idea is the spirit can be revived; it can be enlarged for understanding. This is the power of the human mind and only the human mind.
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