Previous Verse Next Verse


YHVH ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) formed the adam

Go to footnote number

from the dust

Go to footnote number

of the adam

Go to footnote number

and blew into his nostrils


Go to footnote number

the breath of life;

Go to footnote number

thus the adam

Go to footnote number

became a living being.    (See comment below.)

Go to footnote number


THE PERSONAL AND ETERNAL GOD who is also THE CREATOR AND OWNER OF ALL THINGS fashioned man from the shifting, useless stuff

that comes from the good, productive soil, and blew violently into his nostrils the breath that gives life, and the red dirt became a living being with a soul and with life.  (See comment below.)



Literally “the adam,” which came to mean “man or mankind” since the first man was the representative of all who would follow after him.


The word for “dust or loose dirt” also meant “ashes, debris, rubbish or rubble” indicating things that are of no value.


Once again the word “adam” is used to represent “the dirt or the ground.” The “red dirt” referred to by the word “adam” was tillable, workable soil that would produce a good crop, i.e. valuable soil. Why is it worded this way, “from the dust from the ground,” instead of just saying “from the dust,” or “from the ground?” Each word is intentional and serves a purpose. It is communicating both positive and negative qualities at the same time. Although man was made from useless stuff, it was closely connected to the valuable stuff. Both are part of the picture.


The nostrils were thought of as “the breathing place.” They did not think of the mouth as the part of the body that did the breathing, but only the nose.


“Breath of life” is another play on words because “breath” can mean “life.”


Again “adam,” which means “man, red and dirt” but because he was not man yet, I have paraphrased it as “red dirt.”

7: “became a living being”

The words for “breath” and “life” are used for what God did, as well as for what man became. We could say it this way: “God breathed into his nostrils the breath that gives life and the man became something that breathes and lives.” I have added the idea of “with a soul” in the paraphrase because “soul” is a possible component of a “living being” and is a common way to render this word. The soul is the thing that separates us from the animals. But I must add that animals are also said to have this kind of breath that gives life. We learn from other parts of Scripture that man is unique in that we have an eternal soul, but animals do not. However, I have only added the word “soul” in the paraphrase column because I cannot be 100% sure it was intended.


I believe it did.

The concise version of the statement in Gen 2:5-7 is this: “Before every shoot of the field had sprouted, and before every plant of the field had grown, YHVH ELOHIM (read Adonai Elohim) formed the adam …”

This comment was simply intended to communicate that it had not rained up to that point (before the creation of man).

When did things change from heavy dew to actual rain being the source of water for the plants?

I can think of three options.

OPTION A: It did not rain until the beginning of the world-wide flood.

OPTION B:  The patterns that would be standard procedure later on, were fully established by God at points of His choosing during creation week. In this view, most things functioned normally after creation week, including that it did rain between Adam and Eve’s exit from Eden and the great flood. The motivational factor here would have been that rains did not fall while there was no person to tend to the plants that would grow because of the rain; rain only came after man was present and ready to tend to the plants that grew in the garden.

OPTION C: The water cycle as we know it, and almost everything associated with it (except for the rainbow) became reality after Adam and Eve sinned. In this view, as soon as they sinned, the clouds started forming. We know it was evening when God, in the form of Jesus, talked to them about their disobedience. By the time Jesus had built an altar, killed the animal or animals, skinned them, sacrificed their meat, cleaned the hides and made clothing from them, and sent Adam and Eve out of the Protected Enclosure of Delicate Delights (Eden), it was fully dark and heavily overcast. When they exited Eden, they did not know where to go, but shortly thereafter it started to lightning and thunder, and then came a pouring rain. They sought shelter in the closest place possible.

As I envision this option, lightning, thunder, tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, and other weather-related situations, became a reality when Adam and Eve sinned. Before that, God used a different method (heavy dew) to provide moisture for the earth. In the time before rain, a number of things about the physical world were different than they are today.

God continued to provide the water that the plants needed, but this new method included some scary and sometimes dangerous aspects to it.

Of the three options, I prefer the last one.


There are several layers of meaning here as each word is rich in possibilities.

God made man from useless dust, but the valuable soil the dust comes from was purposely mentioned. The “ground or dirt” referred to by the word “adam” was tillable, workable soil that would produce a good crop, i.e. valuable soil. The “dust” on top of that good soil was not worth much, but it came from, and was closely associated with the good soil. From the beginning God placed great potential within each of us, at the same time, we are frail, weak, and helpless. We are capable, yet dependent on Him. Ps 103:14 says that God “remembers that we are dust.” There only dust is mentioned because the focus is on our weakness. Here in Genesis 2 we are reminded where dust comes from so we will maintain a balance between our weaknesses and our potential.

God is still in the business of taking things, people or situations which others see as useless, and making something special out of them.

This means we have a choice; we can choose to work with God or go on our own; we can do things that have value or do things centered on self which have no value for anyone.

The words for “breathed,” and “breath” are two different words; the first has the primary meaning of “blow” (often violently) and the second one is indeed “breath,” which also means “life, spirit and soul.”  When God breathed the breath of life into Adam it was not a gentle puff of air, it was strong; it invigorated every cell in his being.

While the word translated “being” is used in the Old Testament of both men and animals, the animals were characterized by only part of the richness of this word—life, while man has received the full package—life with an eternal soul.

So we see that God took something that had potential (red dirt), but something that was useless by itself, and he infused it with His life and His Spirit; He made it alive but in a different way than animals are alive. He made man to be more like Himself, a small-scale reflection of who He is. After God (think Jesus) fashioned some dirt into a model of a human, just like we make shapes out of clay, He blew hard into its face. This put part of who God is into the dirt model and it came to life. This shows that animals and humans are not the same, for God did not blow or breathe His live-breath into them. This business of God infusing His life (think eternal life) and His Spirit into us is the fulfillment of God’s words: “Let us make man in our own image.” We have life, we have a soul, we have a connection to God’s Spirit, because God put all those things into us with His own breath or Spirit. He transferred a part of Himself into us.

This means that the useless dust that has as its source the potential-filled dirt, now has even greater potential. Good dirt has the ability to support life, to encourage life, to strengthen the life of plants. But man has the ability to live forever connected to God’s Spirit and live as a miniature reflection of the Creator of the universe.

But He gives us a choice about how we are going to use what He gave us. His image in us does not force us to do as He wants, Adam and Eve soon proved it.