Ruach, in the King James Version of the Bible, is translated air, breath, wind, mind, and spirit. Let’s begin to see their relationship.
Ruach animates animals, man, and spirit beings, including God Himself. Holy Spirit is another way of referring to it (Psalm 51:11, Isaiah 63:10,11). Nothing else endows all beings, only ruach. To comprehend how living beings function, it is essential to grasp the role of the ruach.
(Origin of Humankind, chapter 4.1)
Here’s a summary of what we’ve covered in Genesis 2:7 so far about the creation of the first man. Yahveh formed man out of the dust, the most sterile part of the ground. Yahveh, the Potter, the future Jesus, then breathed into his nostrils. That man is called a living soul composed of a material body and an immaterial singularity, akin to the mind, that only humans possess; this is a result of the breath of life which is the neshama, which again, only humans and God possess, revealing a relationship between humans and God. This neshama meaning confers lives (plural) on humans, confirmed by reference to resurrections (plural). Hence neshama meaning is better rendered by the divine essence of lives. Neshama is always associated with ruach, both of which are possessed by God and humans.
We are discussing the creation of the first man in Genesis 2:7. That verse uses the verb, the Lord God formed (H3335 – yatsar) man…’ Here only neshama is referred to as part of this formation. Neshama is the foundational element, the mind itself. But neshama functions in conjunction with ruach, which is also FORMED by the Lord God.
The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms (H3335 – yatsar) the spirit (H7307) of man within him.
Recognize that this verse is referring to cosmic origins. It sends us right back to Genesis 2:1, …the heavens and the earth were finished… and in the context of Creation discusses the creation of humans IN whom the Lord God FORMS the spirit, the ruach. God formed (H3335) the original man by breathing in the neshama and forming (H3335) the ruach in him, using The identical Biblical Hebrew word is used. Forming means that God, the Potter, has a purpose in fashioning man
The first time we find the term ruach used in the Bible, specifically referring to humans, is in the context of Noah’s flood. Ruach is found three times prior to this in Genesis 1:2, 3:8, and 6:3 each time referring to God. It is also present in Genesis 7:15 specifically referring to animals. The beginning chapters of the Bible clearly indicate that God, humans, and animals possess ruach. We shall return to these verses later. For now, we’re focusing on the creation of humans, and I wrote a post revealing both the neshama and ruach as a twosome unit. Ten verses are interconnecting them inexorably together.
We are now going to take several future posts to elaborate on this subject that is fundamental to God’s Kingdom, humans, creation, and the entire Bible, the story of humankind. This is a cornerstone piece of the puzzle. It’s essential to understand this piece to grasp the entire story. This piece is the ruach – רוח (H7307).
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, ⨯ spirit(-ual), tempest, ⨯ vain, (whirl-) wind(-y).
רוּחַ rûwach roo’-akh; a primitive root; properly, to blow, i.e. breathe; only (literally) to smell or (by implication, perceive (figuratively, to anticipate, enjoy):
KJV – accept, smell, ⨯ touch, make of quick understanding.
Today we’re going to limit ourselves to beginning to comprehend what the ruach is. Strong’s H7307 gives us direction, but we need to see what the Bible says; this is a crucial subject and we cannot leave it to conjecture or imprecision.
Firstly, ruach has a PHYSICAL representation
The Bible compares ruach to breath, wind, and tempest, old English for a storm. Here are some verses indicating this visible, concrete comparison.
Job 12:10 In whose hand is the soul (nefesh) of every living thing, and the breath (ruach) of all mankind.
Ecclesiastes 3.19 For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Job 41.16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
Gen 8:1 And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
Psalm 11:6 Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.
Secondly, ruach has a SPIRIT representation
Strong uses the uncommon word unsubstantiality, which refers to the absence of substance. Something without form and intangible. Hence, the most common translation of ruach as ethereal spirit. The translation is also mind, and the last verses below relate to emotions and senses; this is what characterizes living beings. Let’s see some Biblical examples of ruach that refer to this intangible insubstantiality.
Exodus 28:3 And you shall speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
Exodus 35:21 And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit (we see free will) made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.
Gen 26:35 Which were a grief of mind (to do with mind, brain) unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
1 Samuel 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit (ruach) in man: and the inspiration (neshama) of the Almighty giveth them understanding
Judges 15:19 But God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived: wherefore he called the name thereof En-hakkore, which is in Lehi unto this day.
This last verse in Judges refers to Samson, who, after drinking water, was revived; this is another way of saying, he regained the use of his senses. We sense our surroundings; we sense sounds, odors, sights, textures, flavors. We’re sensitive beings, and each of us has different variabilities and certainly preferences when it comes to our sensitivities.
Now we’re going to peruse a few quotes from various dictionaries including the Online Etymology Dictionary. It is essential to capture the link between the Bible and what is considered the biggest scientific unanswered enigma of our times. What is consciousness? The one item that links the two is the ruach. The God-given spirit that God formed in humans for a specific purpose … which The Explanation is elaborating.
Let’s understand what it means to be sentient beings (animals, humans). A word from the early 17th century: from Latin sentient- feeling, from the verb sentire. Meaning: “faculty of sense; feeling, consciousness;” Sentient 1630s, “capable of feeling,” from Latin sentientem (nominative sentiens) “feeling,” present participle of sentire “to feel” (see sense (n.)). Meaning “conscious” (of something) is from H1815.
A certain negro tribe has a special word for “see;” but only one general word for “hear,” “touch,” “smell,” and “taste.” It matters little through which sense I realize that in the dark I have blundered into a pig-sty. In French “sentir” means to smell, to touch, and to feel, all together. [Erich M. von Hornbostel, “Die Einheit der Sinne” (“The Unity of the Senses”), 1927]
Meaning: “that which is wise” is from c. 1600. Meaning: “capacity for perception and appreciation” is from c. 1600 (as in sense of humor, attested by 1783, sense of shame, 1640s).
“to perceive by the senses,” 1590s, from sense (n.). Meaning: “be conscious inwardly of (one’s state or condition) is from 1680s. Meaning “perceive (a fact or situation) not by direct perception” is from 1872. Related: Sensed; sensing.
Ruach is the key to understanding the role of the senses in animals, humans, and spirit beings, including God. It is fundamental to what animates the mind of humankind. The ruach, associated with the neshama, represents the mind that endows humankind with their singularities; this is just the beginning of understanding this subject. Please meditate on this but don’t draw hasty conclusions. There’s much more The Explanation will be adding in the upcoming weeks.
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This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 4.1 of the book Origin of Humankind.
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