Human Person. Who are you? Here’s the definitive characteristic for establishing what a human being is.
A Human person, that’s you and me. Who are we, really? Now you can know what makes humankind unique. Here’s what humans possess that no other living beings have.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 4.8)
I’ve spent some time establishing that there’s a relationship between the material and the non-material worlds; this is a vital notion because a large portion of earth’s inhabitants don’t believe there’s a non-material world. Yet, as I write and you read this post, it is the non-material part of you and me that is at the forefront of what we accomplish as human beings. It is essential to grasp their non-material or spiritual aspect, to understand the creation of humans.
Therefore, we’re staying with Genesis 2:7; this is the creation of the first man, the beginning of humankind. In 2020 science, philosophy and religion cannot definitively define what a human being is. In our modern world, when we’re considering inhabiting Mars, extending life via artificial intelligence and so many other amazing endeavors, we still can’t define what the human conscience and mind are. Amazing. That’s why we have to stay in Genesis 2:7.
If we don’t define what a human is, we cannot continue with the rest of the Bible. Why? Because the Bible is the story of humankind. Imagine telling a story, and you don’t even know who the main character is. After 6000 pages (one page for each year), and we still don’t know this individual whom we’ve examined from every angle.
The reason we don’t know who human beings are is that they possess an ingredient that is invisible and impenetrable by the naked eye and any other sophisticated measuring device ever contrived by these same human beings. And yet, this ingredient is the most important possession and the identifier of every human being that has walked the face of this Earth.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (H5397, neshama) of life; and man became a living soul.
Ask a theologian what neshama is. No answer. Ask a scientist what consciousness is. Jumbled contradictory responses. Yet, this is the first item God gave Adam. Of course, most scientists won’t accept that. Humans possess neshama, and if we are to know what a human is then, we must know what neshama is.
Let’s be clear; neshama comes from God. See the Hebrew at UnlockBibleMeaning.com.
Thus says God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he [God] that gives breath (H5397, neshama) to the people upon it, and spirit (ruach, I’ll expand the meaning next week) to them that walk therein:
Whatever neshama and ruach are, they’re some non-material quality that God endowed on humans. The reason science can’t put its hands on a definition is that it can’t see, measure, or test neshama; this is not the brain, nor is it anywhere in the brain or elsewhere in the body. It has no quantum properties. How can The Explanation assert this? Because God formed man from the dust of the Earth. The dust is the origin of everything PHYSICAL in humans. The dust is composed of the quantum energy packages. The brain and anything else in the body that are tangible come from DUST. The neshama is NOT physical; it is SPIRITUAL.
But there is a spirit (ruach) in man: and the inspiration (H5397, neshama) of the Almighty giveth them understanding (H995).
Whatever this understanding is, that’s what constitutes a human person. Note the translation of neshama, inspiration; this is the spiritual endowment conferred on each human person by God. The result of neshama is that you and I possess understanding (H995).
בִּין bîyn bene; a primitive root; to separate mentally (or distinguish), i.e.(generally) understand:
KJV – attend, consider, be cunning, diligently, direct, discern, eloquent, feel, inform, instruct, have intelligence, know, look well to, mark, perceive, be prudent, regard, (can) skill(-full), teach, think, (cause, make to, get, give, have) understand(-ing), view, (deal) wise(-ly, man).
Please pay careful attention to characteristics like discern, eloquent, intelligent, perceive, teach, think, understand wise. Neshama encompasses all of these qualities. All of these characteristics distinguish a human person from all other living creatures. Strong’s opening remark, to separate, or distinguish, mentally, summarizes a human person.
Mentally refers to the capacity of the MIND. In today’s vocabulary I’d go a step further and call this consciousness. Adam was a formed pile of dust (Genesis 2:7). ONLY when God breathed the neshama into his nostrils did he become a CONSCIOUS HUMAN PERSON.
After receiving the neshama, he alone, as the precursor of all future human beings, possessed definite unique human capabilities. At that point (his creation), he had not used or developed them. But that consciousness, with all its qualities, was present as part of his spiritual mind. It is the spiritual component of you and me, of every single human person.
I’ve elaborated on the nine primary aspects of consciousness in chapter 10 of Audit of the Universe. They are the singularities of humankind: human nature, space-time management, creativity, imagination, learning, making choices, growth, challenges, and rulership.
Think about this. No scientist, psychologist, philosopher, and practically no religion can tell you where these human singularities originate. They have no clue what the neshama is. Yet, this is the basis of every single human being no matter, their race, creed, language, nature, or nurture. How can it be that such consciousness, with all these specific characteristics, define each human person worldwide? Every baby is born endowed with this consciousness. Yes, it needs development (that’s the role of the ruach as we’ll see next week), but, from the very start of life, neshama, consciousness, is present.
The spirit (H5397, neshama) of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
I won’t get into the spiritual implication of possessing the neshama except to say that we have a responsibility as a recipient of this direct attribute from God. It is, along with the ruach, our link to God. As a human person, you and I are the sole living beings to receive the neshama. The above verse in Proverbs indicates that it’s our spiritual light within (figuratively, our belly, our physical body), that God sees and uses to measure us. Last week, we saw the compatibility of the material and spiritual worlds. The neshama is part of the spiritual world. You and I and the inward parts of our bellies are part of the material world. Do you see the interconnectivity?
Here’s a verse where we see the accountability for the neshama, which God bestowed on us.
Cease you from man, whose breath (H5397) is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Read the context before verse 22 to see the state of humanity and how it is given over to idolatry. Human beings have focused on the physical instead of on the spiritual. They’ve buried their God-given consciousness in trivialities while Rome burns.
Although the context in Isaiah is in dire times, God has a plan for each human person with the neshama; this is the story of the Bible, the story of humankind. And, yes, there is hope because, in the very long run, it will work out. Look at Psalm 150; this is a Hallelujah Psalm. Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen has become quite a well-known song. But it has nothing to do with what God has in mind for each human person whom He’s endowed with neshama. I can’t paint the full context of Psalm 150 here for lack of space. Realize that this is the final Psalm of the book of Psalms, the pinnacle climax to God’s plan for humankind.
This final verse comes full circle back to Genesis 2:7. There is the creation of humankind with the endowment of the neshama and their subsequent betrayal of God. Here, in Psalm 150, is the loyalty of all humankind endowed with neshama singing praises to God Almighty.
1 Praise you the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that has breath (H5397, neshama) praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
Today, practically nobody knows what a human person is. They don’t know who they are, not even their own human identity. Tomorrow, as the story of humankind progresses, human beings will learn about their spiritual component, the neshama. Their consciousness will focus on the spiritual God that endowed them with neshama. There will be coherent completeness between the material and the spiritual.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 4.8 of the book Origin of Humankind.
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