Listen to this blog post which will, at a future date, be added to The Explanation Podcast
The mental mind and its power identify and animate only human beings; it is the essence of ruach
Neshama – Consciousness
Consciousness, neshama, and the mental mind, ruach, are the fundamental components of each human being. They confer on us all the qualities that make us human. Grasping these basics is paramount to understanding the story of humankind.
(Mind-Body Problem Solved, Chapter 27 – Table of Contents)
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. We can affirm this because adam is the specific description of the father of all humanity (Gen. 5:1).
The particularity that characterizes humans, and only humans, is neshama. 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 consciousness and mind are. Neshama is the base layer, of two layers, of the human mental capacity. Using God’s Word, The Explanation identifies this with consciousness. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary furnishes seven definitions, but we will go with the first:
The quality or state of being aware, especially of something within oneself.
Humans are aware of five fundamental qualities they possess. We could call them the features that characterized the first human when God blew neshama into the nostrils of Adam. The features of consciousness have sub-features. These are all distinctive attributes of humans. These traits mark every human being who has walked the face of the Earth.
- Purpose: Human nature, space-time, creativity, imagination, learning, choices, growth, challenges, and ruling life.
- Function: Recognizing one’s dual nature, free choice, behavior, ethics, justice, self-reproach, and forgiveness.
- Relationships: with self, gender, dating, marriage, parenting, friendships, outlook on people & world.
- Rulership: government at all levels, respect for individual and collective rights, reach peace and prosperity for all peoples.
- Reasoning: Based on observation-intuition, philosophy, religion, science, and theology.
Features are nice, but what they are used for is the key. The benefits are in their effectiveness. Here’s the second layer of mentality.
Ruach – Mind
Whereas neshama is more of a static spirit, like a feature or a blueprint defining a human, the ruach is the dynamic, dunamis, active spirit. It is the force that energizes the neshama. By definition, being endowed with neshama, a human can learn. The process of learning is accomplished by utilizing ruach, the spirit in humans. 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.
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 mental minds. 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.
Ruach-mind is the activity of consciousness. Consciousness is qualities you possess at birth. Mind is all the activity, attitudes, moods, mindsets, feelings, emotions, sensations, thinking, and cognition, the active processes associated with these five qualities.
These ongoing cognitive procedures that characterize humans result from ruach, the second layer of godly essence, the mental mind. The spirit that God has given to each human being. It is this spirit working intricately with the neshama that allows the mental 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 mental 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 consciousness and mind-power compose the mental mind. By the way, I’m not calling it the human mind because that’s a pleonasm. Why? Because human ruach is different from animal ruach, the first is mind, the second is instinct, only humans possess mind.
If I may put it this way, the ruach motorizes the neshama. The ruach is the imaginative, creative, animate power or dynamic force that solely endows human beings. The neshama is like having an entire electrical circuit for city housing, shops, factories, public buildings, street lighting, and hospitals. Neshama is a unique framework and channel. But without ruach, electricity, 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 hand-in-hand.
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 mental 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 an aspect of the plasticity of the mind; this is the invisible (unsubstantiality – without material substance) spirit. It is what powers our consciousness.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this most basic understanding is. The mind-body, spirit-material controversy has been going on for 400 years and still 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. Humans are formed dust, the body, into which God infused the neshama, consciousness, and ruach, the mind. These elements, the material and the non-material, the physical body plus the spiritual consciousness and mind, are what compose a human being. The Bible alone has the right answer. Proper theology alone can unlock and reveal coherent completeness.
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 powerful cognition of the mental mind.
The above paragraphs concerning who and what a human being is are 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, the spirit in him, his mind 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 emotional, interrogative ride.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit (H7307 – ruach) within me.
In another example, Hannah was the mother of the prophet Samuel. It was a long time before she became pregnant, and that caused her some mindful 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.
Here’s a third example of a vigorously turbulent mind. 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 increasingly 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.
His ruach was like the whirlwind definition. Poetically, Elihu begins to dispense sounder wisdom to these older men. ” ” (verses 19-20). He used his consciousness and mind power, neshama and ruach, 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 activity takes place in your mental mind. Not in the brain. These are workings taking place at the neshama and ruach level. They fit tightly together like protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom, inseparable and fundamental particles of each human.
We will return to the role of the mental mind in psychology and spiritual conversion. It is the central piece of the puzzle generally unknown to decision-makers and influencers in both world and spiritual leadership roles. This is the number one reason for the state of worldwide mental health and spiritual turmoil in many religious organizations.
So what role does the physical brain play with these two spiritual essences? That’s for the next chapter.
Dig Deeper into The Explanation
Join The Explanation Newsletter to stay informed of updates. and future events. No obligations, total privacy, unsubscribe anytime, if you want.
Online Study Courses to Unlock Bible meaning via Biblical Hebrew… with no fuss. Free video courses that put you in the driver’s seat to navigate the Bible as never before. Join now
The Explanation series of seven books. Free to read online or purchase these valuable commentaries on Genesis 1-3 from your favorite book outlet. E-book and paperback formats are available. Use this link to see the details of each book and buy from your favorite store.
Since you read all the way to here… you liked it. Please use the Social Network links just below to share this information from The Explanation, Mental Mind. The Extraordinary Activity of Consciousness