“And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground,
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul”
This is propably the most misunderstood and misquoted verse in the whole of our bibles. From children at Sunday school we were told that at the creation of Adam God put something inside him called “an immortal soul”. Is that what the verse teaches? First of all from a very simple reading of the text it is manifestly clear it says nothing of the sort. The only thing that we are told God put into Adam was the “breath of life”, and through this infusion “man became a living soul/being”. We need to recognize that the Hebrew word “nephesh” translated “soul” in verse7 has already been used 4 times in chapter1 where it is employed in connection with the animal creation, they too are living souls. Not only that but that same animal creation also has the “breath of life” Genesis 7.14-15. It is clear from what we have pointed out that we cannot from this text teach that man has “an immortal soul” because this verse simply does not state such a thing. Even in 1Corinthians15.45 Paul tells us “The first man Adam was made a living soul”, please notice it does not say “was given” but “was made”, and through the breathing of the breath of life into him, Adam who up to that point though perfectly formed was a lifeless being, now became a living person. Wouldn’t it seem peculiar to you that if God had put this so called “immortal soul” into Adam He would have made mention of it after Adam sinned and was put out of the garden of Eden. Listen to what God’s sentence was, in addition to cursing the ground because of Adam’s sin He said “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return” Genesis 3.19. Not a single word spoken by God about an immortal soul. Now do you really believe if it had been there God would not have mentioned it? This is traditional teaching on a subject that has been passed down from generation to generation with very few seeking to find out the truth. Later from other texts we will see that the subject of the soul finds its roots, not in the bible but in heathen Greek philosophy. Man is different to the animal creation because he has been made in the image of God. Image in this sense does not imply shape or form but relates to the fact that man, unlike the animals is a rational responsible being who will be raised again after death and held responsible for his/her actions.