Life and death (abridged)

This short study is meant to explain what is meant by Adam having become a living soul.
More about the subject ‘life and death’ will be elaborated in a separate study.

It is generally said that someone has died when the body no longer functions.
The notions of life and death are treated differently in the Bible.

Man, as a soul, is eternal. Even though the body has died, man lives on eternally, as a soul and a spirit. The soul and the spirit are eternal, but man, as a soul, is no longer able to express himself in this world and there can be no more contact made with him, because the body is no longer functioning.

Two examples from our linguistic usage:

  • When we get on the train at the station, and the train then starts to go, we say that it has ‘come to life’.
    A train that is standing still is a ‘dead train’, as it were.
    The train is there, but as long as it is not moving, as long as it does not ‘come to life’, it will not bring the passengers to their destination.
  • Merchandise standing in a shop but remaining unsold is called ‘dead capital’. Money has been spent to purchase it, with the intention of earning that money back, with profit. If the goods are not sold the capital spent on them is blocked. The capital is there, but it is tied up in merchandise that does not seem to be able to be sold. It is capital that is not achieving the purpose for which it was spent. It is ‘dead capital’.

Two examples of the notion of death from the Old Testament:

In both of the verses below two Hebrew words are translated a dead person or a corpse, i.e. soul (nephesh) and the verb to die (muwth).

1. The law concerning Nazirites (people who make a vow to consecrate themselves to God for a certain period of time) states:

… Throughout the period of their dedication to the LORD, the Nazirite must not go near a dead body. Even if their own father or mother or brother or sister dies, they must not make themselves ceremonially unclean on account of them, because the symbol of their dedication to God is on their head. Throughout the period of their dedication, they are consecrated to the LORD.   (Numbers 6:6-8)

This verse demonstrates that someone who has indicated that he has consecrated himself to God as a Nazirite, makes himself unclean if he touches a dead family member.
The death body, the corpse of the deceased, is referred to in this verse as a deceased soul.

2. Another Bible verse states:

If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse …   (Numbers 19:13)

It says here in Hebrew:

Anyone who touches a deceased soul, a person who had died …

A ‘dead body’, a ‘corpse’, or ‘a person who has died’, is regarded as a ‘dead soul’.
The soul is eternal, however, but it is no longer able to express itself in the visible world by means of the body, because that is no longer functioning.
In the visible world the body of the deceased is regarded as a dead soul.

An example of the notions of life and death from the New Testament:

(in the parable of the prodigal son – Luke 15:11-32)
A younger son lays claim to his father’s inheritance, departs for a distant land, where he loses everything, and returns home impoverished.
His father welcomes him with open arms and gives instructions for a feast.

… For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.   (Luke 15:24)

The father felt as is his youngest son was ‘dead’, because he did not know where he was and he had no contact, no more relationship with his son.
His son became ‘alive’ to him again, when he was able to take him into his arms and build up a relationship with him once again.

The creation of Adam, who became ‘a living soul’:

God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth, the image of a body.
When God breathed His breath of life into the body of the man He had formed, He breathed soul and spirit into Adam at that moment. This is how this image became a body of flesh and blood and the instrument by beans of which Adam was able to communicate in the visible world.


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Life and death  (abridged)