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What is humanity? Who are we? The definitions of human nature, consciousness, and mind. All clearly described.
Welcome to 2021 and I wish you all the best after a trying 2020. The Explanation has big plans for 2021. I’m finishing editing the last book in the seven-book series, Audit of Humankind. I wanted it completed by the end of 2020, but it took longer than expected. Just another few days and it’ll be done. One of the reasons for the delay is a chapter where I propose to define humanity, human nature, and consciousness. Upon rereading it, I was not satisfied with its clarity. Back to the drawing boards. That’s a manner of speaking because it’s back to the Bible, prayer, and meditation about the subject.
Today’s post results from the reflection and study. We are going to define:
- Human nature
To show you how complex this issue is, here’s the introduction to the mind entry in Wikipedia.
One open question regarding the nature of the mind is the mind–body problem, which investigates the relation of the mind to the physical brain and nervous system. Older viewpoints included dualism and idealism, which considered the mind somehow non-physical. Modern views often center around physicalism and functionalism, which hold that the mind is roughly identical with the brain or reducible to physical phenomena such as neuronal activity, though dualism and idealism continue to have many supporters.
Another question concerns which types of beings are capable of having minds. For example, whether mind is exclusive to humans, possessed also by some or all animals, by all living things, whether it is a strictly definable characteristic at all, or whether mind can also be a property of some types of human-made machines.
A lot of interrogations, particularly for such a fundamental subject. After all, what is it to be human? That question is basic and humankind, science, philosophy, and I’ll add religion, can’t furnish a clear, valid answer.
Let’s do it. Let’s start 2021 on the right foot.
Genesis 1 sounds like a good place to start. We’re at the second part of day six of creation. On that day, God accomplished the initial part of His primary project. The creation of man and woman. Four key verses revealing God’s plan for Himself and for humankind. Let’s study.
26 And God said, Let us make (H6213) man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
27 So God created (H1254) man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
We’re doing a Godview; a worldview through the eyes of God. Theology is what it’s all about, what does God say, not human interpretations.
In one short verse 26, God gives His entire plan. Make humans in His image and give them rulership over everything on Earth. The Biblical Hebrew meaning of make is below. Following the KJV are all the English translations of this word. In the Strong’s entry below, H6213 is a very common word used abundantly in the Bible and in modern Hebrew. Strong, author of Strong’s Concordance sums it up well, “to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application.”
The key is “God does, God makes” God performs all the meanings of this Hebrew word. God accomplishes, God advances, God appoints, God is apt, God becomes, God bears, God bestows, God brings forth, God bruises, God is busy, God has the charge of, God commits, God deals (with), deck, God displeases, God does, God (readies) dress(-es), God executes, God exercises, God fashions…
God accomplishes all these actions and tasks. God is not idle, He’s occupied accomplishing His plan, second by second, hour by hour, day by day, week by week for all eternity. That is a human description of time. Obviously, God doesn’t work under such constraints, you know what I mean.
עָשָׂה ʻâsâh aw-saw’; a primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application:
KJV – accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, ⨯ certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress(-ed), (put in) execute(-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, (fight-) ing man, +finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfill, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold (a feast), ⨯ indeed, + be industrious, +journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, pracise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, ⨯ sacrifice, serve, set, shew, ⨯ sin, spend, ⨯ surely, take, ⨯ thoroughly, trim, ⨯ very, +vex, be (warr-) ior, work(-man), yield, use.
God executed His plan, “Make humans in His image and give them rulership over everything on Earth.” in the next two verses 27-28. He created humans and gave them two commands; multiply, have dominion. The Explanation expresses these two orders as:
- Relationships. God married the couple, man and woman, and told them to have a family. That’s socialization, the base of which is relationships between male and female, husband and wife, parents and children.
- Rulership. They are to manage or govern Earth and all its resources. In modern terms, we call this sustainable development. Proper care, among others, in the areas of:
- Environment or ecology
Here’s the specific verb or action accomplished by God to initiate His plan.
בָּרָא bârâʼ baw-raw’; a primitive root; (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes):
KJV – choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).
Bara is familiar to you because it’s the same word used in verse 1 to create the heavens and Earth.
The point is God has all the attributes of to do, to make, and to create in the broadest sense and largest application. And…
God made humans in His image in His likeness.
This means humans have the same capacities as God, but on a human scale. Please read that again. Yes, if humans have the image of God, which He says we do, then humans can do what God does! We are Godlike beings.
God makes, creates, and manages His creation in the broadest sense and largest application. You have to meditate on the implication of these verses; we don’t have the space to elaborate. It is grandiose. I’m going to sum it up with two words, divine nature. The essence of God, including the love and effort He puts into the management. I don’t like that word, talking about God, maybe we could substitute other verbs; administer, oversee, guide… Throughout the Bible, Old and New Testaments, that’s what God does. It’s His divine nature. Actually, I borrowed those two words from Peter.
2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
We can be partakers of God’s divine nature. Incredible goal! We’ll be able to do, create and manage like God! Hang on, wait a minute. Humans have the image of God now. Think about it, what do we do? We do, make, create and manage in the largest sense of those terms. But we do it on a human level.
God has divine nature, we, in His image, have HUMAN NATURE. There’s your first definition.
Let’s add an important detail about Adam and Eve’s human nature at their creation on day 6. “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” That means their human nature was very good. God creates perfectly.
Definition of Human Nature: The ability of humankind to do, make, create and manage in two domains. Relationships (multiply, Gen. 1:28). We create couples, make marriages, make love, create and parent (manage) children. Rulership (dominion Gen. 1:28). We make and create a myriad of products and services and manage the environment, economy, government…
How, in reality, is this possible? To be like God, to have human nature like He has divine nature? This is not blasphemy, this is Bible theology, the plan of God for you and me. We’re studying practical Bible Wisdom. How can humans make, create, manage relationships and rulership?
Whereas Genesis 1 (through Gen. 2:3) focuses on God’s overall plan, Genesis 2 gives us vital details regarding the how of the Creation. We’re zeroing in on a verse regarding the creation of the first human being. Here’s the tool God gives humanity to define the parameters, the attributes of human nature.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (H5397) of life; and man became a living soul.
The two words, breathed into his nostrils and breath of life are different in Hebrew. I’ve expounded on this important distinction in this post. God gave humanity, represented by the first human, nishmat chayim, the breath (H5397) of life.
First, who possesses this breath? This neshama? Only God and humanity. Read this post, which explains a context in Judges. God told the Israelites to annihilate everything with neshama. They did wipe out all humanity but left the animals. Animals do not possess neshama, only humanity on the human level does. Why? Because only humans are made in the image of God. Since God has neshama, humanity does as well.
What is neshama? Neshama is the unique ingredient that sets humanity apart from animals. Neshama confers the image of God on humanity. It is the God’s imprint on humankind. Let me say The Explanation is exposing knowledge science, philosophy and religion have not understood and made known to humankind.
The Wikipedia article above makes it clear everyone is groping in darkness, and they have been ever since Descartes and others focused on this question. Even Strong, in his definition below, is off-track. This should not be a surprise to you. But you must read the Biblical evidence in this post about God and humans alone possessing neshama.
נְשָׁמָה nᵉshâmâh nesh-aw-maw’; from H5395 (נָשַׁם); a puff, i.e. wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect. or (concretely) an animal:
KJV – blast, (that) breath(-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.
God breathed into the first human something He possesses and animals do not possess. From Strong’s entry, above, I’d retain two words: inspiration and intellect. The Explanation adds another definition, consciousness. Yes, neshama defines consciousness in humanity.
How can we confirm this proposal? First, God’s breathing is something invisible. It is not a part of the body, nor a part of the brain. You cannot see, touch, or measure this breath of life, the neshama. That is one reason consciousness is so elusive to science. They’re trying to locate it in the brain and neurons. They won’t find it, it’s the breath-neshama of God.
It’s the tool, I hate calling it that, conferring on humanity the God-given image to multiply and dominate, have relations and rulership. Again, we do not have the space to elaborate. Neshama is all the qualities, the attributes, setting humanity light-years apart from animals, allowing them to relate to one another and govern Earth.
The Explanation wrote extensively about these spiritual, invisible qualities in Audit of Humankind. a quick summary is;
- The singularities of humankind
- How humanity functions
- How humanity socializes
- How humanity rules
- How humanity reasons
You and I and every human being ever to have walked Earth can only accomplish those five tasks because we have neshama, consciousness.
Here’s the Wikipedia definition of consciousness, or rather attempt at a definition. Humanity is lost in its quest for a definition of consciousness.
Consciousness, at its simplest, is “sentience or awareness of internal or external existence.” Despite millennia of analyses, definitions, explanations and debates by philosophers and scientists, consciousness remains puzzling and controversial, being “at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.” Perhaps the only widely agreed notion about the topic is the intuition that it exists. Opinions differ about what exactly needs to be studied and explained as consciousness. Sometimes, it is synonymous with the mind, and at other times, an aspect of it.
After the messiness of science, philosophy and religion, here’s the clarity of the Bible:
But there is a spirit (H7307) in man: and the inspiration (H5397 – neshama) of the Almighty gives them understanding.
Definition of Consciousness: God’s inspiration, the template of His image, a program conferring on each human being the ability to possess human singularities and perform human accomplishments like functioning, socializing, ruling and reasoning.
The last of our three concepts, but not the least. You realize that without a knowledge and belief in the existence of a Supreme God, none of this wisdom would be available or understandable. Unfortunately, it shows how far humanity has yet to go to garner real understanding.
Let’s recapitulate. Human nature is the image of God, or divine nature, on a human level, Consciousness is the program shaping all the elements (singularities, functions) of our human nature. Now we need the motor to run our consciousness, to activate all the parts so we can project our human nature.
The power humanity has to animate their human nature and consciousness is referred to in Job 32:8, above, alongside the neshama, there is a spirit in man. From a Biblical perspective, this element is probably the best known. It is the 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).
Ruach, also invisible, especially to science, is analogous to wind in all its strengths. From breath to wind to blast to tempest to whirlwind. The vicissitudes represent the ups-and-downs, extremes of movement or swings of the mind. Below is a verse revealing two vital aspects of the mind.
- it’s where good and bad imagination and ideas, indeed all thinking, take place.
- God knows what goes on in each person’s mind! That’s mind-boggling, but that’s what God’s Word indicates and that’s the power of God.
And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and said unto me, Speak; Thus saith the LORD; Thus have ye said, O house of Israel: for I know the things that come into your mind (H7307), every one of them.
We cannot get into a deep study of mind here, you can read much more in Origin of Humankind. I’d like to point out one key about studying mind in the Bible. Since it is a controversial and hard-to-understand subject, the translators and Strong mix up their terms. The Greek word psuche from which we get psychiatry is often translated soul in the King James Bible. If you read mind instead, it makes more sense.
Allow me another analogy. If you have a metal and plastic computer equipped with Windows or iOS and a graphics program, nothing works until you turn the electricity on. Similarly, if you have human nature and consciousness, nothing works until you turn mind on. Think about when you’re asleep and not dreaming, your mind is turned off and there’s no consciousness. Of course the ruach is still there, and there’s plenty going on, but it is in the sub-conscience. To be conscious, your mind must be on, functioning.
I always wondered why Genesis doesn’t talk about ruach associated with the mind at creation. Let me offer two, even three points.
- When God created the first human, ruach was already present in the animals! Animals and humans have ruach (Ecclesiastes 3:19), but animals are animated by instinct and humans by mind. Big difference. At birth baby animals, even blind and deaf rats, find their mother’s teats. Not at all for human babies. Animal ruach confers only instinct. Human ruach activates consciousness with all its human traits.
- Since ruach was already present, neshama, consciousness, is solely mentioned in Gen. 2:7 because humans alone possess it, animals did not receive it and do not possess it.
- Upon death, it is the ruach that returns to God. Why? Because it is the imprint (as we saw in Ezek. 11:5) of a human being. If I may draw another analogy, The ruach, the mind is the hard drive with all the memory of the entire life of that human being. Ecclesiastes 12:7, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (H7307 – the mind) shall return to God who gave it.” Why does God retain each person’s spirit?
9 Then said he (the Lord) to me (Ezekiel), Prophesy unto the wind (H7307), prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind (H7307), Thus says the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds (H7307), O breath (H7307 and mind), and breathe (H5301, the identical word in Gen. 2:7 God breathed… See Further Study below) on these slain, that they may live.
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath ((H7307 and mind)) came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11 Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12 Therefore prophesy and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
The Prophet Ezekiel describes a resurrection to physical life. The ruach, the mind will be placed into the resurrected healed bodies. People will have their properly functioning minds (no more mental diseases or Alzheimer’s) with the record of their past life. This is what they’ll start working with at their resurrection with God’s teachers in a Godly environment. This is another exciting story. The point here is, there’s a reason humans have a mind-ruach, its purpose and its future.
The Explanation expounds Human nature, Consciousness, and Mind in two books. Audit of Humankind explains the three concepts in a secular fashion. Origin of Humankind deepens the subject using the Bible. This book not only explains what and how but also why there are animal nature, human nature, and divine nature. And the relationship among all three, and particularly the link between human and divine nature.
Read Hebrews 2. It clearly delineates divine nature and human nature. Note the transformation of the nature of Christ. He was God, had divine nature (by whom are all things, vs. 10) and took on Himself human nature (the seed of Abraham, vs. 16). Note in the same verse another nature, angelic. There’s also animal nature, which you can study.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Ezekiel 37:9 …Thus says the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds (H7307), O breath (H7307 and mind), and breathe (H5301, the identical word in Gen. 2:7 God breathed…) on these slain, that they may live.
In Genesis, for the first man, God breathed (H5301) the neshama (consciousness, the attributes of humans into him).
In Ezekiel, for all resurrected humans, God will have the winds breath (H5301) the ruach (H7307) their minds back into each human being, the slain, now revived from the dead.
In Genesis, for the first human, at his creation, the formed dust needed a human template, human attributes, the neshama, a conscience. At his creation, there was nothing, no conscience and no mind. God breathed the consciousness, the neshama, into him (think of artificial respiration, we blow in air to revive the person’s consciousness), and gave him a mind, the ruach.
In Ezekiel at the resurrection, the raised humans will already have there neshama, because they are human. ‘Inserting’ the ruach means giving them back their minds, their character, their personality, memories, experiences, and talents. Activating their consciousness. This is their time for salvation, which they did not receive during their first lifetime. This is another future chapter in the story of humankind.
Our ancestors are neither lost nor in heaven. It’s like when a hard drive and the electricity are turned off. They exist but are non-functional, awaiting the resurrection when, excuse the expression, they will be plugged in again. What a moment that will be. Everyone in good body and mind health (no physical or mental diseases, no Alzheimer’s) recognizing and hugging (no Covid!) one another. The work of conversion for these multitudes will begin.
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