Throughout time man has searched and diligently sought for meaning and purpose to his life. Man has always wanted to do more than simply exist or occupy time and space. But exactly what is it that makes life full and complete?
Some have entered a marriage with great hopes of filling that void that is felt within. Others have joined causes, seeking something bigger and more important than self. For some, their work has become the focus and expression for meaning. There have been many avenues tried by mankind, yet all have fallen short of the long-term goal of fulfillment.
From an early age, people seek to fulfill their lives; a quest for that which will give meaning and purpose to their very existence. People seek to find a place that is right, not only for themselves, but also for those they will touch.
Day after day and year after year our culture endures one fad after another, each one trying to grab our attention and our focus. Yet fads come and go with regularity because they only succeed in tickling our senses for a moment.
The eyes open...then close again.
But it is too late, the mind saw the windows stir
and the world waiting anew.
The eyes stay closed...yet the mind is not fooled,
the thoughts are arising,
the nothingness is leaving...now forgotten,
in plans, in hopes, in dreams, in fantasies, in memories.
The day has begun...the escape is over...the joy and despair has returned.
Do I smile? Do I cry?
A decision is called for, yet that is just like the mind.
Before the eyes are fully open,
the mind calls out choices...again,
Do I laugh? Do I scream?
The mind screams urging the tongue to follow.
The mind draws pictures, you see it all...the reasons for despair,
the plans...all broken,
the hopes...in what,
the dreams...all hopeless,
the fantasies...just that!
and the memories...filled with sadness and pain.
Can man do it alone?
Alone there is only despair.
Good morning. Welcome to another day.
All too often this has become the existence of man. Man is always searching but never finding, always looking but never finding that thing, or person, or reason to make life complete and fulfilling. Hoping today will be the day that the void and emptiness in the heart is overcome and satisfied.
Something bigger, something greater than man himself is required to give true meaning and purpose to each person’s existence. In and of himself, man can never find completeness of life; following fads, elevating causes, acquiring riches, receiving praise from disciples, all fall short of filling the void that develops in the heart.
To find the fullness of life, to rise above the plane of mere existence, man must form and develop a relationship with God. The Creator of the heaven and the earth, the Creator of all life, the One who has the means to fill any void and bring completeness to every person’s life.
The Bible is the record of men and women who believed God and lived above the plane of mere existence. The Bible is the recorded history of God working with man to elevate him into his rightful place in God’s spiritual kingdom. The Bible is the longest love letter in the history of the world. It is the story of God’s love for man and God’s quest to show and demonstrate His love to man.
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.
God formed, made, and created man. If man is missing that which God has formed, then we do not have a man. If man is missing that which God made, then we will have a dead human form. If man is missing that which God has created, then man will have a life that carries a void and is filled with emptiness inside and disappointing misery in results.
Man’s completeness lies in having all three parts. God designed man as a three part being. Each of these parts has its own correlation to life and ultimately, to man’s relationship with God.
To remove the void and find meaning and purpose to life every person must understand what these three parts are and their relationship to man’s overall completeness.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
God formed the body of man from the dust of the ground. The word used for “formed” in this verse is, yatsar, and it means to form or fashion a thing. When a thing is formed or fashioned it always comes from other elements, ingredients, which are already in existence. God’s Word declares that man’s body comes from the dust, or the elements that are in the ground.
Elements that are found in our bodies, like iodine, silicon, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, calcium, nitrogen, hydrogen, are all elements found in the ground. God formed man’s body from the dust, or the elements that are found in the ground.
Understanding that yatsar only refers to something being formed from things already in existence becomes important as you look at the other aspects of life that God has given to man.
...Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, what makest thou...?
“Fashioneth” is the same word yatsar. Here again, the meaning of this word can be clearly seen. The potter forms or fashions the vessel. He does this from clay, an element that is already in existence.
The smith with the tongs both worked in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: ...
“Fashioneth,” is again the word yatsar. Smiths formed weapons and tools out of metals. Again, this is to fashion a thing from the elements or ingredients already in existence.
The life that is associated with the formation of man comes from the Greek word, auxano. Auxano refers to a growth from within, a growth that comes forth without pressure or force. It is growth that takes place simply because it is the thing’s nature to grow.
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
“Grow” in this verse is auxano. A plant has growth life. It is natural for a plant to grow taller and stronger. You cannot force a plant to grow, it is simply the nature of the plant.
And the child grew, ...
The word “grew” is again auxano. Like plant life, man’s nature is for his body to experience growth. An interesting thing about this growth life is the limitations man would experience if growth life were the only life for an individual.
It is fine for a plant to simply have growth life. If the soil is good and the plant receives plenty of sunshine and water, growth life is all that the plant requires. It has no desire to uproot itself and find a sunnier location, nor does it view a larger plant and desire to improve its standing in life. However, man has always needed much more than the growth life.
When this word auxano is understood, there are a few interesting observations to be seen and understood. For instance, have you ever seen anyone force a plant to grow taller or to become bushier? A similar question can be asked about a child? Can you force a child to grow taller? Now consider that this word is also used concerning a person’s spiritual growth. Could anyone then force another person to grow spiritually?
...and increasing in the knowledge of God.
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
The word “increasing” in Colossians and “may grow up” in Ephesians are the same word auxano. God desires spiritual growth for all His children and many sincere teachers of God’s Word carry this aspect of God’s heart.
Yet teachers of God’s Word must always understand that it is impossible to force this growth upon another person. You can demand a person attend church services every week. This demand will no more produce spiritual growth then demanding a child do daily stretches in hopes of producing a taller child. A spiritual leader could require those he is overseeing to memorize verse after verse from the Bible. But memorizing the Bible cannot force spiritual growth upon an individual. Many have memorized whole sections of the Bible just to prove it does not work. Why won’t it work? God’s Word teaches us it must be mixed with believing.
Auxano growth is a growth from the inside out, a growth that takes place without compulsion. If you are a parent, then all you can do is provide the proper environment for this growth to take place. Once the best environment has been provided all you can do is sit back and allow the auxano growth to take place.
When considered there is yet another aspect to this auxano growth that should always be held in mind. When children are in their growing or formative years every day does not bring with it new vertical heights. The growth of a child comes in stages, called growth spurts. Yet between these spurts the child’s body is working and preparing for the next spurt. Even when it appears from the outside that the child has ceased growing, the body continues to perform its functions along the lines of growth.
With spiritual growth it is God that gives the increase. No one can tell from the outside what God is working in the heart and life of another person as they are prepared for their next spiritual growth spurt.
Yet as awesome and wonderful as this auxano growth is, God wanted more for His man. For mankind, more life is required. When a child is in the womb of its mother, it has this growth life. The expectant mother can feel the child within her growing and moving. That is because with the forming body comes growth life. However, if something else does not occur quickly after a child is born, even this growth life comes to an end. Growth life alone will sustain a plant throughout its entire existence, but growth life alone is not enough for the body God formed.
And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; ...
Again, the word “formed” is the word yatsar. God formed or shaped the bodies of the animals.
And God created great whales, and every living creature 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.
There are a couple of interesting points this verse of scripture brings out. First, the words “living creature” are the words nephesh chai or living soul. This is what an animal requires for life beyond the simple growth life it shares with plants.
For some this is very confusing because Christians have always been told that man is different from animals because every man has a soul. How then are we different from animals if they also have a soul or soul life?
The confusion enters because we have failed to fully understand the meaning of soul life. We have many times used soul and spirit as synonymous terms when they are entirely different aspects of what God has provided. The confusion has entered because we have allowed tradition to replace what God plainly declares in His Word.
Nephesh Chai can be translated living soul, soul life or, and perhaps most accurately, breath life. But where does one find this soul life or breath life in animals and mankind?
For the life of the flesh is in the blood...
It is the blood that carries this soul life, breath life, or oxygen throughout the body.
And the Lord God formed [yatsar] man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [nephesh chai].
“And man became a living soul” or nephesh chai. This soul life, within man and animals, is breath life. All men and all animals have this breath life.
Every cell in the human body requires oxygen to live. Oxygen provides over 90% of the energy necessary for a body to function; to have the energy to operate. The life of the flesh is in the blood because it is the blood that carries the oxygen to every cell.
However, there is a difference between how animals and mankind received this breath life. In animals, this breath life was created, while in man this breath life was made. To create is to make something from nothing. That is the meaning of the word bara, translated created in Genesis 1:21.
Once a thing is created, it is no longer available to create it again for the elements are already in existence. “To create” means to bring something into existence from nothing. We looked at the word yatsar earlier. Yatsar means to form or fashion a thing from ingredients or elements that are already in existence. Seeing the difference between yatsar and bara helps remove the confusion that exists concerning soul and spirit.
And out of the ground the Lord God formed [yatsar] every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam.
And God created [bara] great whales, and every living creature 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.
Although these verses do not lay out a strict chronology of the events of Genesis, we can see that God formed the body of animals and created soul life, or nephesh chai, for animals. It is common sense that gives us the understanding that the body of an animal had to be formed before the soul life or breath life was created for the body.
The animals were formed before man in Genesis. In addition, like man, animals required breath life, or they would die. Growth life alone is not enough for the animals. Therefore, God “creates” breath life for the animals and once it is created it is already in existence and there is no need to ever create it again. So, God has no need to create breath life for mankind, God simply makes breath life or soul life for mankind.
Some may find these thoughts insulting. Not only does an animal have soul life but God also created soul life for animals before He gave it to man. However, once the fullness of life is seen and understood, what God gave to man goes far beyond anything He did for the plants or the animals.
Religion has no need to elevate mankind to make him more God-like, God endowed mankind with all that he would ever need to be in the image of God. God took responsibility for elevating mankind. Anything man endeavors to add to the work of God will simply detract from the beauty and perfection of God’s creation.
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.
The body of man was formed or fashioned from the elements of the ground. While the soul life or breath life of man was made by God. The word used here for “made” is asah. Asah means to produce by labor.
And the lord God formed [yatsar] man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul [nephesh chai].
Saying that God breathes is a figure of speech. A figure of speech is a legitimate grammatical form used in all languages to add color and emphasis to a statement. In this case, the figure is called anthropopatheia and it means to give God human characteristics, in this case, breathing. It almost gives you the mind picture of God performing CPR on Adam to get man started.
God is simply making in man the soul life that he has already created for animals. God is doing the work, the labor to produce this soul life or breath life.
When speaking of the completeness of the life of man, God used three different terms to detail the three different aspects of man’s life. Seeing these three clearly, as the Bible lays them out, gives us a very distinct and accurate picture of what God intended for His man.
We know man can exist with growth life and breath life. However, man will always be incomplete without this third part. It is like having an automobile that has a working engine and every other piece of equipment it requires except a working battery. Because this automobile has no main power source it will never accomplish what it was intended to do. It will always fall short of being transportation.
So too, man that is only a two part being will always fall short of completeness. This two-part man will be the one chasing the fads, the causes, and pipe dreams around the world. Any person who lacks this third part will always search for fulfillment and meaning. Or as a person once said to me, “I had a hole inside of me. No matter what I did, I eventually felt empty and unfulfilled.”
So, God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The word used here for “create” is bara, meaning to bring something into existence from nothing. That which God creates for man has not been in existence prior to this point in time. This third part, or aspect of life, is what separates man from the plant and animal kingdoms. This aspect of life places mankind in an entirely different realm then any of the other works of God. This is the aspect of man’s life that elevates him far above any of man’s feeble attempts to elevate himself.
The key to understanding this third part is the word “image”. If we can see, or determine exactly, what is the image of God, then we will also begin to understand this third part of man.
God is spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
God is Spirit. Therefore, to be made in the image of God, man needs to have spirit from God within himself and that spirit must be holy spirit. The Bible says holy spirit because God gives what He is Himself. God is Holy and God is Spirit. Anyone, whether Adam and Eve in the Garden, or a man or woman of today, who receives spirit from God must receive holy spirit because that is what God is Himself.
The word “image” is tselem and means to reproduce a form of someone or something. Many times, you will hear people speak of man being in the image of God, but these people always seem to be referring to man’s physical shape. However, man’s physical shape cannot be what it means “to be created” in the image of God, for God is Spirit as declared very clearly in the Gospel of John. Further, God declares in the Gospel of Luke that spirit has no physical form or shape.
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh, and bones, as ye see me have.
God is Spirit and spirit does not have flesh and bones. Therefore, when we speak of man being in the image of God, we must understand that anyone who is created in His image has holy spirit within.
In Genesis 1:27 God created holy spirit for man. And man, because he now has holy spirit from God, is created in the image of God. With this third part, we now see man elevated above both the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom. A man, who has holy spirit within, has been raised up into the kingdom of God, into a spiritual kingdom. This spirit within man brings with it the availability of man having spiritual life.
So often mankind tries to boost his self-image by declaring his own greatness. We are at the top of the food chain and that makes us better than everything. We have inventions and marvels that no other species did or could bring to pass. We have reason and intellect far superior to all others. We have thumbs! We are overly impressed with our thumbs as though the design came from “our” original blueprints.
All these things are accurate, to a degree, but none of them elevates man into the Kingdom of God. None of man’s devices will ever make man spiritually worthy of standing in the presence of God. It is God who has given to mankind all he will ever need, or require, to stand and live at the very top of all that God has created.
Allowing the Bible to speak for itself gives us an entirely new outlook and perspective on man’s relationship with God. Man was designed to live in harmony with God. Man was designed as a three part being of body, soul, and spirit. Only when man has all three parts will man be complete. Only when man understands and utilizes his completeness will he be filled and fulfilled.
When a person sees and understands the difference between body, soul, and spirit then the words of God take on a completely new clarity. The smoke screens placed in the world by God’s enemy begin to disappear as the heart of God comes into focus.
The man who lives for the latest fad or the next great cause to come down the road is the man who is still only body and soul. Or perhaps, he is body, soul, and spirit but has neither comprehension nor understanding of what he has received from God, and therefore, never taps into the third and most important part of life.
God formed man’s body of the dust of the ground. God made man’s soul life or breath life. Finally, God created holy spirit within man granting him access to the spiritual realm of his Creator.
Man was designed as a complete package, having fullness of life.
© Auxano Ministry 2020