architecture of man, atonement, blood, body, create, free will, instinct, nephesh, redemption, soul, spirit
This Creation is certainly full of wonders. But among all the wonders, two novel creations stand out: nephesh life and mankind. Let us look at the creation of soul life, the life of the flesh that resides in the blood.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature [nephesh] that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature [nephesh] that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
“And God created…every living creature [nephesh].” Elsewhere in the creation account it says “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” It doesn’t say, “And God created light and there was light.” Does this mean that light isn’t created? No. But the Lord didn’t have Moses use creation language throughout the creation account. Mostly, God just speaks things into being. But when it comes to nephesh life, it specifically says that He created it. This means that He initiated something new as opposed to reshaping something that was already extant. Prior to the fifth day, nephesh-type life had never existed before. God creates it and places it in every living creature.
Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Man is created, formed, and made. We know from 1 Thessalonians 5:23 that man has a tripartite architecture: spirit, soul, and body. Man was created for the glory of God and in His image. This has reference to the spirit of man, for God is spirit. Genesis 2:7 tells us that man’s body was formed, thus his soul was made. In other words, his soul was fashioned for him. It is not called a creation because by the time man was brought forth, nephesh had already been created for the animals.
The spirit of the animals comes from the earth. But they also have the life force of nephesh in them. God the Creator, the Potter of the clay, took this life principle of nephesh and when He blew into man spirit life, He shaped a nephesh more suited to him. Man became a living soul [nephesh]. We are created in the image of God. I am not an animal and neither are you, yet we share with the animal a like life-force called nephesh. And just like the animals, our nephesh resides in our blood. In His arrangement of the orders of life, God set redemption right into the system. This is further evidence that man’s sin didn’t catch Him by surprise at all.
The sheer genius of God in all of this should cause us to praise Him! Our God is a God who does not avoid risk. He is love, and in order to receive true love, He is willing to create truly independent creatures—creatures with free will that can decide to love and worship their Creator or turn away to their own selfish desires. He created the marvelous race of beings we know as angels. Each was an individual creation of Almighty God and they came into being in the full glory of His presence. They are called “sons of God” even as Adam was called “the son of God” and even as we are called “sons of God.” But unlike us and Adam, they are spirit beings living in the spirit realm. We are spirit beings who live in a body and possess a soul. We are citizens of the spirit realm but live in a material world.
If one had no hope and looked at life on this earth with its restrictions of gravity, time, and decay, one might be tempted to wish for the life of an angel. Compared to mankind, they seem to have been given so much more. They can fly, shape shift, shine brighter than lightning, cause earthquakes, and slaughter armies. And on top of all that, they get to look God in the face! But one thing they can’t do: sin and be redeemed.
If choices are given, it seems almost a sure bet that someone is bound to make the wrong one. Lucifer, the shining one, opted to worship his own beauty instead of the glory of God and was cast down to the earth. The wonder isn’t that he sinned, but how he was able to get a third of the angels of heaven to join in with him. What kind of lies do you suppose he told them? We don’t have to wonder too much. His nature hasn’t changed. He deceived Eve by attacking God’s character. He brought into question God’s commands, His judgments, and His goodness. One can almost hear him in the courts of heaven trafficking with the angels like Absalom did with the children of Israel. “Oh, that I were made a judge in the land! If I were in charge, you would be treated much better than you are now.”
He that was full of beauty and wisdom became foolish by his pride. Who but a fool would dare defy God? In vengeful wrath, the Lord cast them from heaven and one can hear the accuser slander the goodness of God on his way down. “You say you are love. What love is this? Where is mercy? You have cast us from the halls of heaven. How can you expect us to worship you now?” The words are bitter and hollow, filled with endless hatred. “I created you to be perfect, not to be redeemed,” we can almost hear God reply. “But that doesn’t mean that I am not the Redeemer.”
God restores order to the chaos their war has caused and then proceeds to prove His point. Light, firmament, earth, grass, trees, stars, sun, and moon all make their appearance by course. And then He brings life into being again. Only this time, He doesn’t forge it out of the fire. He breathes it into the blood. Great creatures fill their lungs with air and their hearts beat red. He has given them life, nephesh life. But their spirit isn’t a free-will spirit like that of the angels. No, their spirit—the spirit of the animal—is stamped with a programming code that instructs them how to live. Animals live on instincts, not by moral choices. Because they have no free will, no capability of moral choice, they cannot sin!
And then came the sixth day. The stage is set and all is in order. God creates man in His own image and breathes into him the breath of life and man becomes a living soul, a living nephesh. Unlike the animal, man is given the capability of moral choice. This makes his love and obedience genuine, not just an instinctual response brought about by correct stimuli. But it also makes his sin intentional. It is brought about by decision. A dog may kill the neighbor’s cat out of instinct. A man murders his neighbor with malicious intent. The dog’s action can be reprimanded but not judged. Man is responsible for his sin.
Eve was deceived. Adam decided to disobey God. They were both cast out of the garden. But then God did something wonderful. He let them know that they weren’t lost forever, that the race could be redeemed from the ravages of the serpent.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
He promised to the woman a seed, a man-child that would crush the head of the serpent and gain the victory. Then He showed them how this victory would be won.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
Adam and Eve had made themselves loincloths of leaves. God made for them coats of skins. He covered the nakedness their sin had exposed. He showed them that only death, death by the shedding of blood, could cover for—atone for—their sins. God taught them how to make sacrifice. He slaughtered the animals, skinned them, and then took their hides—wet from the slaughter—and put them on the wayward couple. They were covered by the blood, the blood of “sinless” animals.
This was the difference between the offerings of Cain and Abel. Abel’s offering was a blood sacrifice; Cain’s the fruit of the ground. Abel was considered righteous; Cain was being mastered by sin. Why? Because he wouldn’t offer blood. God had given blood to make atonement. Because man and animal shared comparable life principles, the life of one could be given in place of the other. God could in essence allow the person to live because the animal had received the judgment of death in his place. This was not possible for angels.
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—
15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.
17 For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. NIV
Jesus didn’t reach down to take hold of and help angels. He came to save Abraham’s descendants. And He did this by taking on a shared aspect of life: blood. By offering His blood for our sin, He was able to satisfy the judgment required by a righteous judge. We could be forgiven on legal grounds. The Amplified Version of verse 16 is worth looking at in this respect.
For, as we all know, He [Christ] did not take hold of angels [the fallen angels, to give them a helping and delivering hand], but He did take hold of [the fallen] descendants of Abraham [to reach out to them a helping and delivering hand]. AMP
This blood that so freely pumps through our veins, this blood that is a part of life of all living flesh, seems such a common, ordinary thing. And yet it’s not common at all. It was something that God engineered and created with special care and purpose to allow it to transmit cleansing power, to allow it to pay for sin, to allow it to cleanse us, to allow it to make atonement, to make remission. This is the principle He’s invested into the life of this creation.
 Gen 1:27 is the third specific act of creation mentioned in Genesis 1. The first is the creation of the heavens and the earth in verse 1. The second is the creation of great sea creatures and nephesh in animals in verse 21.
 We gather this from the language of Scripture, “let the earth bring forth the living creature” Gen 1:24 and “the spirit of the beast…goeth downward to the earth” Eccl 3:21.