Sin, Righteousness and Judgement

…He will correct the world concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment. John 16:8

Definitions

In this article we will explore what the Living God has to say regarding sin, righteousness and judgement. A verse often cited as the Biblical definition of sin is found in John’s first letter:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1John 3:4 (KJV)

According to the King James version (KJV) of the Bible, John wrote that breaking the law constitutes sin.

Most English dictionaries agree with this understanding of the verse as presented in the KJV, defining sin to be a violation or trespass of a divine law.

John had spoken about keeping God’s commands earlier in his letter. In the verse above, it is generally assumed that he was referring specifically to God’s law, not just any law, but he does not actually specify that distinction.

NOTE: This particular translation introduces a curious redundancy, stating that ‘whoever commits sin is also breaking the law because sin is the breaking of the law.’

In more modern English versions of the Bible, the phrase sin is the transgression of the Law is often translated as sin is lawlessness.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 1John 3:4 (ESV)

If lawlessness and lawbreaking are synonymous, then this translation also supports the general consensus on the meaning of sin, that being the breaking of the law. However, if lawlessness is understood to be the absence of law (specifically, God’s law as given unto Moses), then this opens up the definition of sin to additional interpretation. In this way some allege that John was trying to say that an act of sin is a violation of God’s law because sin is the absence of God’s law. They take this line of reasoning further, claiming that sin is the lack of torah observance. Thus, anyone not keeping the law of Moses is sinning.

NOTE: This interpretation results in a similar redundancy: He who commits sin commits lawlessness because sin is the committing of lawlessness. Or, whoever commits sin does not observe the law because sin is the lack of observing the law.

As far as consequences go, failure to keep the law is equivalent to breaking the law. Being discovered on the wrong side of a property line clearly marked “Trespassers will be shot!” will likely produce the same results, whether the violation was deliberate or an oversight. The concept of intention is disregarded. Perhaps this helps to bring the following verse into perspective:

The wages of sin is death… Romans 6:23

The word sin (synne) appears to have come to the English language from the Latin sons or sont, meaning guilty. This definition also appears to support the popular understanding of sin: that of being guilty of having broken the law.

In the Scriptures, the English word sin corresponds to the Hebrew words חָטָא (khat-taw) and חַטָּאָה (khat-taw-ah) and the Greek words ἁμαρτία (hamartia) and ἁμαρτάνω (hamartano).

In modern Christian theology, these particular Hebrew and Greek words are generally interpreted to mean a missing of the mark or straying from the path.

…for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God… Romans 3:23

According to this reading, and using this interpretation, Paul’s statement to the Romans is declaring that everyone has missed the mark; everyone has strayed from the path.

Do not ignore the fact that to miss implies one had first aimed. What, exactly, is this mark that all have aimed for, and missed? How, exactly, does a man miss a mark he wasn’t aiming for? To stray implies one was on the path to begin with. Which path were all on prior to straying? Can a man be rightfully accused of straying from a path he was never on?

This interpretation, the idea of missing the mark and/or straying from the path, is quite distinct from breaking the law. It alters the understanding of sin being either lawbreaking or lawlessness, implying one has tried, but failed. There is an inference that the effort is somehow supposed to have mattered.

NOTE: Even if we change the definition of sin from that of lawbreaking to missing the mark, the redundancy of John’s statement remains: all have missed the mark because all missed the mark.

Are we any closer to understanding what sin is?

Is sin missing the mark and/or straying from the path?

Is sin breaking the law and/or failing to keep the law?

Is sin all the above?

Is sin any of the above?

The Aramaic word for sin is חטיתא (KhteeyThaA), very similar to the Hebrew חַטָּאָה (khat-taw-ah). An English translation of that same verse from John’s letter in the Peshitta presents a simpler understanding of sin:

Whoever commits sin commits evil, because all sin is evil. 1John 3:4

Also…

All unrighteousness (or, every evil) is sin… 1John 5:17

CONTEXT: In his letter, John was explaining that while there certainly is sin that will not result in the immediate termination of one’s life, all sin is evil (or unrighteousness), and all evil (or unrighteousness) is sin (see 1John 5:16-17).

This understanding paints a picture other than missing the mark, straying from the path or even breaking the law. It amplifies Paul’s teaching on sin to the Romans:

Everything that is not from faith is sin. Romans 14:23

Here we arrive at the true contrast: sin (evil, unrighteousness, that which is not of faith) versus righteousness (never my own righteousness; rather, the righteousness of God which is of faith).

We can confidently say:

  • Sin is that which is not righteousness.
  • Righteousness is that which is not sin.

The first occurrence of the word sin in the Bible is found in God’s words to Cain after Cain discovered God was not pleased with his offering:

Behold, if you do right, I accept it, and if you will not do right, sin lies in wait before the door; you will be converted to it and it will have authority over you”. Genesis 4:7

Many English Bibles attempt to translate the verse above with something more along the lines of: “…sin is coming for you, but you must master it!” As you learn more about sin, you will realize the error of such a translation. This statement would be erroneous. If turning the tables on sin, and mastering sin instead of being enslaved to it, was simply a choice for Cain, son of adam (let alone you or I), then Messiah died needlessly. And, yet, this false teaching persists.

Cain, having been instructed directly by God regarding his (Cain’s) own righteousness, proceeded to murder his brother, Abel. Why would he have freely chosen to kill his brother if all he had to do was simply make the right choice, and choose to do the right thing? What’s so hard about that?

To gain further insight into why this event is so significant, and to understand what sin actually is (and isn’t), we need to step back one generation, to Cain’s parents Adam and Eve…

Origin of man

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 1:26-27

What they say happened

Though it is rarely articulated (at least, not succinctly), Christian theology (of which there are many variations) generally subscribes to the notion that man was created by God in an immortal state consisting of spirit, soul and body. The first man, adam, is said to have been god-like (made in the likeness of God), making him both eternal and perfect, without sin (immortal and eternal are typically presented as synonymous terms, adding to the confusion). This immortal/eternal, perfect, sinless man simply chose to sin, to commit a transgression that not only caused him to fall from his state of sinless perfection, but also to die spiritually (more on this, later). Upon partaking of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, adam’s eternal spirit (created in the image of God, mind you) died, resulting in the loss of his immortality. His new and allegedly self-imposed condition of spiritual death was then passed on to all his progeny. These offspring would then be consisting of a living soul and body, and be carrying a stillborn spirit, evidently in need of resuscitation.

This teaching expands, alleging that God could not/cannot look upon sin, therefore sin separated man from God. Apparently adam’s disobedience, the so-called original sin, had apparently caught God quite by surprise and ruined all of His (God’s) plans; plans for mankind to frolic naked in the Garden forever, feasting on nuts and seeds. God had to make leather clothes for man prior to kicking him out of the Garden, as He was forced to go to work on a fix: a remedy, a plan of salvation. Evil had mysteriously sneaked into Paradise. God’s perfect creation had evolved itself into imperfection. Sin and death came into being like a big bang! While God could create the Heavens, the Earth and everything within them in a mere 6 days, it would take Him approximately 4000 years to implement His plan to right adam’s wrong; a wrong that even God could not prevent from occurring allegedly due to something they call free will. Meanwhile, generation upon generation would live out their lives carrying dead spirits around with them.

God’s fix would include sending His own Son to bridge the gap between God and formerly sinless man who had turned himself sinful and was now separated from God. Just as the first sinless man used his free will to choose to sin and lose his immortality, so sinful men could now use their free will to choose to have their immortality restored. They would all still die, of course. But afterwards they could live forever. Spiritually, that is. In heaven.

Prior to implementing the fix (and approximately 2500 years after adam’s spirit allegedly died), God introduced something of a stop-gap measure (via Moses in 1446 BC) called The Law. Sadly for most, this measure would only be introduced to a tiny subset of the sinful population of the Earth. This subset was never required to spread the good news to anyone outside of the group. This one-off, special arrangement would eventually result in a religion all it’s own whose adherents would be utterly exempt of the fix that would one day be implemented and made available to everyone who was not a member of the tiny subset. Members of that religion would not require or even want the fix; membership alone would suffice. Of course, they would all die, too, just like everyone else.

The fix would somehow revive men’s inherited dead spirits in order to make them more eager to financially support assorted religious enterprises as well as grant them pleasant afterlives. For those who were not exempted from any need for the fix, but did not take advantage of the fix, life after death would not be so pleasant, ranging from unavailable altogether to everlasting torment, depending on who is telling the story. For those exempted from the fix, there would be no need for life after death among those who did not believe in such a thing.

NOTE: This ludicrous teaching is simply not true.

What actually happened

Eternity is outside of space and time, as we know space and time. A linear timeline, having a starting and stopping point, is contained within eternity. Yet the timeline does not constrain eternity.

For we do not rejoice in those things that are seen, but in these things that are unseen. For things seen are time related, but those things that are unseen are eternal. 2Corinthians 4:18

“Things seen are time related.” Time is a construct and is measured using light; light that God created:

And God said, “Lights shall be in the firmament of Heaven to distinguish between daytime and night and they shall be for signs and for times and for days and for years. Genesis 1:14

Lest we be too sure of our newfound understanding of time, Peter warned his readers to not disregard the following:

One day is to the LORD as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as one day. 2Peter 3:8

Created light is also temporal, and will one day be replaced. When John was shown the holy city of God, New Jerusalem, he wrote:

I saw no Temple in it, for the LORD God Almighty, he is its Temple. And The Lamb and The City do not need the Sun or the Moon to illuminate it, for the glory of God illuminates it, and The Lamb is its lamp. And the nations walk in its light and the Kings of The Earth bring glory to it. And its gates shall not be shut by day, for there shall be no night there. Rev 21:22-25

The popular understanding of immortality is more a mythological notion than a Scriptural teaching. It refers to living forever, as in: never dying. It infers having a beginning, a starting point, but no ending. According to this definition a timeline is involved. Therefore, immortal is not eternal. Unlike the Greek and Roman gods, the Living God is eternal, not immortal.

Jesus has offered mankind eternal life, not immortality (at least, not the mythological version).

And this is the Promise which he has promised us: Eternal Life! 1John 2:25

Men were not intended to live on and on:

…Just as it is appointed to the children of men to die once, and after their deaths the judgment,
in this way also, The Messiah was offered one time… Hebrews 9:27-28

Men are “…appointed…to die…” Not to be immortal. That should be fairly easy to understand.

Adam had been created to resemble (look like) his creator. This is quite a spectacular thing, and is not said of any of the other creatures:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… Genesis 1:26

Proponents of the spiritual man theory take this account off into the weeds claiming that in our image, after our likeness must mean something more mysterious, more complicated. This likely stems from the need to overcome an apparent contradiction… God had told man he would die in the day he ate from the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And yet, as the Serpent told the woman, man did not die but remained alive after the transgression.

Not only did Adam not drop dead upon eating of the fruit he was commanded not to eat, he lived to be 930 years old. Up until the flood, all men lived much longer lives than they did afterwards, when God set a limit of 120 years to a man’s life (Moses died when he was 120).

My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years. Genesis 6:3

It is not recorded anywhere that perfect, sinless, immortal adam started physically dying as a result of his transgression, only to breathe his last breath at a ripe ol’ 930 years of age, all due to the fact that he had deteriorated as a result of the loss of his immortality. Methusaleh, born seven (7) generations after adam, outlived adam by 39 years – right up to the flood. So much for the entropy theory. God set the 120 year limit to man’s life, otherwise mens lives would still be nearly 1000 years long.

We know God means what He says:

God is not a man that He would lie, neither a son of man to be advised; He says and He does and his word stands for eternities. Numbers 23:19

God told Adam he would die:

…in the day you eat from it you shall surely die. Genesis 2:17

In an attempt to reconcile God’s statement with adam’s longevity, a story was constructed to satisfy an obvious contradiction. By blending TRUTH and invention someone came up with the following:

  1. God is an eternal Spirit and is invisible.
  2. God made everything perfect. There was no death.
  3. God created adam in His image, after His likeness.
  4. Adam MUST therefore also have an invisible eternal spirit.
  5. Adam was immortal, there was no death, and God never planned on adam dying.
  6. God warned adam he would die in the day he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
  7. Even though there was no death, adam perfectly understood what God meant regarding death.
  8. Even though there was no death, the Serpent (who would also have been immortal) knew enough about death to tell the woman that she and her husband would not die if they ate the fruit.
  9. Adam did not die that fateful day, which proves God actually meant adam would only lose his immortality, not his life, whatever that is supposed to mean.
  10. Adam did not die that fateful day, which proves the Serpent was correct.
  11. Adam lived to be 930 years old because he was immortal a few minutes earlier, right before he missed the mark / strayed from the path. It just took 900 plus years for his body to degrade enough to die.
  12. God had said adam would die, and adam’s body didn’t die for a long time; therefore, adam’s spirit must have died instantaneously.
  13. Adam still went to heaven once his body died, even though his eternal spirit died the day he ate the fruit.
  14. Death of invisible, eternal spirits had occurred, but death you can see and feel, like death that kills people, would not occur for another 900 some-odd years. Unless some animals or bugs died, first.
  15. Sin separated man, who was now spiritually dead, from God.
  16. God kicked adam out of the Garden.

So the reasoning goes like this:

  1. Since God is spirit
  2. And God made man in His own image, after His likeness
  3. Therefore, man must have a spirit – just like God

If this were the case, then the reverse would also be true: God would have a soul and body and be made from the dust of the Earth – just like man who was made in God’s image. This whole course of reasoning utterly falls apart when we consider (what are commonly referred to as) the  attributes of God; all that God is and man isn’t, which we will visit again later in more detail.

It is written that prior to adam’s transgression, death had not yet entered the world…

For just as by the agency of one man, sin entered the world, and by means of sin, death, in this way death passed by this sin unto all the children of men, because all of them have sinned. Romans 5:12

“See!”, the theologians gleefully exclaim. “There was no death prior to the man’s transgression, therefore we know adam was immortal.”

It is written that death, by means of sin, entered the world. Do not mistake the world for the Earth; God did not create “the heavens and the world.” He created “the heavens and the Earth.” As we will explore, the world is another matter. Nowhere is it written that death didn’t exist in the Earth; that there was no death.

If there was no death in the Earth then what, exactly, was God expecting adam’s understanding to be when He told him “in the day you eat of it you shall surely die?”

If there was no death in the Earth, and adam had no concept of death, God could have said “in the day you eat of it you shall surely drive a Lamborghini” and it would have had as much impact.

If there was no death in the Earth then what subject was both Eve and the Serpent discussing, with Eve echoing adam’s words “you shall sure die” and Serpent saying, “no, you won’t die.” How would any of them have known what death is if there was no death?

If there was no death in the Earth then every plant, every animal, every sea creature and every bug was immortal, too.

But this is so much easier: Nowhere is it written that God made adam immortal. It is not written.

Even more important: There is no mention of God not intending for this entire event to occur. Nowhere is it written that this caught God by surprise.

God did not say, “Adam, I’m warning you… IF you eat of that fruit you will die.” God prophesied, “Adam, WHEN you eat of that fruit you will die. It was not a case of if, but when.

Nowhere is it written that God created adam as spirit, soul and body. Nowhere is it written that adam’s spirit died. God did not say to adam, “…in the day you eat of it your spirit will die.” God told adam, “…in the day you eat of it you will die.”

We are told of two exceptional trees God had planted in the Garden, specifically, in the midst (middle) of the Garden:

And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9

Often overlooked, it is written that God had given adam not one, but two commands:

…From all of the trees that are in Paradise you shall eat, and from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil you shall not eat from it… Genesis 2:16-17

  1. Thou shalt: EAT from ALL the trees, including the tree of Life
  2. Thou shalt not: BUT do NOT eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil

Most who are familiar with the story know that adam ate of the one tree he was told not to eat:

…Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’… Genesis 3:17

Were you also aware of the fact that adam did not partake of a tree he had been commanded to eat, the tree of Life?

…lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever (eternally)… Genesis 3:22

Have you been indoctrinated to believe that God was nervous that adam, the formerly perfect, sinless, immortal man who had become imperfect and sinful and mortal of his own free will, would suddenly now obey God, eat of the tree of Life and subsequently become immortal again – only this time in his new sinful condition – an immortal sinner – which he wasn’t before, and that God could not permit such an unthinkable act to occur, thus He had to act fast and kick adam out before adam could become some unstoppable, wicked creature who could never die, who might be beyond even God’s control? Please let go of this stupid teaching and learn the TRUTH.

In a conversation with the Father, Jesus had said:

But these things are eternal life: ‘They shall know you, for you alone are The God of Truth, and Jesus (Yeshua) the Messiah whom you have sent.’ John 17:3

Listen to what God said to adam after he ate of the fruit:

In the sweat of your face you will eat bread, until you return to the Earth, for from it you were taken, because dust you are and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19

Eternal life, life in eternity, was not available to adam. He had not eaten of the tree of Life. Adam did not possess eternal life. Period. He lived until the age of 930, died and returned to the dust from which he had come. What is written is very simple to understand.

In the Garden, the Serpent had asked the woman about this whole fruit eating thing:

…Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’? Genesis 3:1

This was not a harmless question, spawned by a genuine desire on the part of the compassionate Serpent to get answers:

“Excuse me…Ma’am, excuse me… Eve? Is it Eve? Hello, i don’t think we’ve met. I am the Serpent, and I represent the Garden Dwellers Association here in Paradise. There has been a rumor circulating recently that God has tried to starve you and your husband, saying you can’t eat of any of the trees of the Garden. Is this true? Is there anything to this rumor? Would you like to go on record to clarify this?”

Paul wrote to the assembly at Corinth, expressing his concern for them:

I fear lest, as the Serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, that your minds may also in this way be corrupted from the simplicity that is in The Messiah. 2Corinthians 11:3

To Timothy, Paul wrote:

…the woman was deceived… 1Timothy 2:14

What was this deception that Paul was referring to? It clearly wasn’t the Serpent’s statement that the man and woman wouldn’t die. In point of fact, the Serpent was correct about that. Notice how the Serpent had not asked the woman if God had prohibited them from eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Instead, the Serpent asked two things:

  1. Did God actually say
  2. You cannot eat from any tree?

Let’s review the sequence of the events of Creation to better understand the deception.

  1. God formed Adam of the dust from the soil, and breathed into his face the breath of life (or lives, plural), and Adam was a living soul.
  2. God planted Paradise eastward in Eden and there he placed Adam whom he had formed.
  3. God made to grow from the Earth every tree that is desirable to see and good to eat.
  4. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  5. God commanded Adam saying, “From all of the trees that are in Paradise you shall eat: and from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil you shall not eat from it, because in the day that you eat from it, you will die.”
  6. God said, “It is not good for Adam to be alone. I shall make a helper for him like himself”.
  7. God formed from the Earth every animal…
  8. …and for Adam there was not found a Helper like him.
  9. God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.

Next thing we know, the Serpent begins a conversation with the woman asking, “Has God truly said…?”

How would the woman know what God had said? God had commanded adam regarding the trees prior to Eve existing. Nowhere is it written that God had an additional conversation with the woman. We assume she got her information from adam, but we know she didn’t hear God say it.

In the Garden the woman answered the Serpent’s question, revealing her understanding of the situation:

…We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Genesis 3:2-3

It is not recorded anywhere that God told adam not to touch the tree, it’s fruit, the leaves, or anything else in the Garden for that matter. That ‘no touch’ clause was either added by adam and echoed by Eve or Eve just made it up.

Question: So what was the deception?

Answer: Why didn’t Eve refer the Serpent to her husband, the one God had spoken directly with? Why did Eve take it upon herself to personally engage with the enemy of mankind? She stepped out from under her only protection. She filled in the blanks with what made sense to her.

Thus Paul wrote:

I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression. 1Timothy 2:12-14

The serpent had explained something quite astounding about the particular fruit tree in question:

…You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4-5

Adam had not been created with an inherent knowledge of good and evil. For that, he would need to rely upon God. But the serpent had an understanding of the consequences that would result from eating this particular fruit; an understanding that the woman did not share.

So the Serpent enticed the woman to exercise her independence from her husband and engage with it directly. It told her she could also be independent from God, no longer needing to rely on Him for His definition of good and evil, right and wrong.

…the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise… Genesis 3:6

What was the significance of these particulars?

…all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father… 1John 2:16

Let us map the details of Eve’s temptation to all that is in the world (not the Earth):

  • was good for food – the desires (lust) of the flesh
  • was a delight to the eyes – the desires (lust) of the eyes
  • was to be desired to make one wise – (boastful) pride of life

The foundation of the world was laid.

 

The TRUTH is much simpler. Listen:

And YHWH elohim formed adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and adam became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Did you catch that? Adam, formed out of the dust of the ground, given breath by God, became a living soul.

The English word adam is transliterated from the Hebrew word אָדָם (aw-dawm’). It literally translates as “ruddy,  to show blood (in the face), that is, flush or turn rosy.” Effectually, adam refers to man/mankind, and is used in multiple places that clearly reference more than just the first man.

And adam said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ Genesis 2:23

Another Hebrew word for mankind is אֱנוֹשׁ (en-oshe’), a plural word often translated as men. In Hebrew, one man is an אִישׁ (eesh). Adam referred to his helpmate, who had been created from his own body, as an אִשָּׁה (ish-shaw’), a woman.

  • English: man / wo’-man
  • Hebrew: eesh / ish-shaw’

Later, adam called her name חַוָּה (khav-vaw’), transliterated into English as Eve. The word means lifegiver – the mother of all.

NOTE: We are never supplied with a proper name for that first man; he is simply known to us as mankind or adam.

The breath of God animated the man formed of the dust of the ground, the soil. God’s breath caused him to live. One breath gives life to all. God breathed into man the breath of life or, as some translations suggest:

…and breathed into his nostrils breath of lives… Genesis 2:7

Grammatically in both Hebrew and Aramaic, the word life is plural: חיים (Khayim) in Hebrew and חיא (Khaya) in Aramaic. Translating this passage to read breath of lives is not at all out of the question.

Most importantly, that first man became a living soul. In Hebrew the word for soul is נֶפֶשׁ (neh’-fesh), and refers to a breathing creature. Adam was a living soul having a body made directly from the ground, the dust of the Earth.

And YHWH elohim formed from the Earth every animal of the wilderness, and every bird of Heaven, and he brought them to adam to see what he called them, and everything that adam called them, each living soul, that is its name. Genesis 2:19

All the animals were also living souls (neh’-fesh) having bodies; they were all breathing creatures.

NOTE: The first two chapters of Genesis record God speaking 107 words to adam (counted using the KJV, other English translations may vary), with no recorded response from the man. We will return to this point, later.

In the first two chapters of Genesis we discover that God created man to look like Him. Man was a soul inhabiting a body; no more, no less. There is absolutely no mention of adam being a spirit, having a spirit or being a spiritual man. It is clearly stated that, when he was created, he became a living soul.

The spirit of man?

At first glance, most English translations of the Scriptures are seemingly not without support of the idea of adam (mankind) having a spirit, though a little scrutiny will shed significant light on this. A commonly quoted verse in support of the theory is:

The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Proverbs 20:27 (KJV)

In this passage the phrase the spirit of man can be literally translated from Hebrew into English as the breath of adam. The Hebrew word translated as spirit in this verse, נְשָׁמָה (nesh-aw-maw’), is translated as breath is most every other occurrence. 

The Peshitta presents this phrase a bit differently, and provides more insight:

“The soul of the children of men is the lamp of the LORD…”

But there are other verses in which we find the English phrase spirit of man, verses that use a different Hebrew word for spirit. Here are two:

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:21

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1

In both of these passages the Hebrew word רוּחַ (roo’-akh) is translated into English as spirit. This is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:2, where we read, “…And the Spirit (roo’-akh) of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Strong’s Concordance offers the following information for the Hebrew word:

רוּחַ

rûach

roo’-akh

From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): – air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

  • Question: From these verses can we not simply conclude that man has a spirit, just like his creator?
  • Answer: No. Read on…

The Hebrew word רוּחַ (roo’-akh) is also used in Genesis 2:7 where it is translated into English as breath when God breathes into adam the breath (roo’-akh) of life. Of the 378 occurrences of this word רוּחַ (roo’-akh) in the KJV, more than 30 times it is translated breath.

In Genesis 8:1, we read that when God brought the flood to an end he made a wind (roo’-akh) to pass over the Earth. Of the 378 occurrences of this word רוּחַ (roo’-akh) in the KJV, more than 100 times it is translated wind.

Wherever the Hebrew word רוּחַ (roo’-akh) appears throughout the Scriptures, the Aramaic word רוחא (Ruu-KhaA) is used. Both words can be (and are) translated into English as breath, wind or spirit – depending upon context / interpretation. While the meanings may appear to be ambiguous at times, breath, wind and spirit are not synonymous.

The New Testament was not penned in Hebrew, so we will not find the Hebrew word רוּחַ (roo’-akh). But we can read both Old and New testament texts translated from Aramaic…

God is Spirit … John 4:24

And who is the man who knows what is in a man except only the spirit of the man that is in him? So also a man does not know what is in God; only The Spirit of God knows. 1Corinthians 2:11

In the Peshitta we find the word רוחא (Ruu-KhaA) for spirit in both passages, above.

When Peter walked on the water, the wind (Ruu-KhaA) was creating quite a chop, such that he grew fearful and began to sink… see Matthew 14:22-33

Another time Jesus rebuked the wind (Ruu-KhaA) and there was a great calm… see Mark 4:35-41

God had breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath (Ruu-KhaA) of life… See Genesis 2:7

In the various Greek manuscripts we typically find the word πνεῦμα (pneuma, pnyoo’-mah) used for the Hebrew רוּחַ (roo’-akh) or Aramaic רוחא (Ruu-KhaA). While this Greek word typically translates into English as spirit, it also can be translated as both breath and wind. Thus we find that whether we are reading Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek texts of the Scriptures, the Hebrew word רוּחַ (roo’-akh), the Aramaic word רוחא (Ruu-KhaA), and the Greek word πνεῦμα (pneuma) all may be translated into English as breath, wind and/or spirit, depending upon context.

1Corinthians 2:11 may just as easily read, “…who knows a person’s thoughts except the mind of that person…”

What we can conclude is that an issue of interpretation exists. It is not as simple as translating the word for the color red from one language to another. Look at two translations of this popular passage:

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. John 3:8 (KJV)

The Spirit breathes where he will, and you hear his voice, but you do not know from where he comes and where he goes; thus is everyone who is born from The Spirit. John 3:8 (FCAB)

Spirit, breath, wind… all from the same word.

We can readily see that, regardless of which original language we begin with, the Scriptures inform us that man has breath; he is a living being as are all the other creatures. This is what we refer to as soul life.

Reverse Engineering

How did the theory come about that man, at his birth, comes pre-packaged with a spirit, albeit a dead one? How do we get to the TRUTH regarding body, soul and spirit? And what does any of this have to do with sin and righteousness?

In Genesis 3 we read that the serpent deceived Eve, who then gave to her husband to eat. (For details on an erroneous Christian teaching regarding the serpent, see my article on Lucifer .)

Elements of the account of the fall of man are thus:

  • God commanded adam, “…from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil you shall not eat from it, because in the day that you will eat from it, you will die…”
  • God formed the rib that he took from adam into a Woman and brought her to adam.
  • They were both naked, adam and his wife, and they were not ashamed
  • The Serpent was craftier than every animal and said to the Woman, “Has God truly said that you will not eat from all the trees of Paradise?”
  • The woman said to the Serpent, “…from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of Paradise God said, ‘You shall not eat from it and you shall not touch it, lest you shall die.'”
  • The Serpent said, “You shall not really die: Because God knew that in the day that you eat from it, your eyes are opened and you are like God, knowing good and evil.”
  • When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
  • Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.
  • God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”
  • Adam said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”
  • God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” And the woman said, “The Serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
  • God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
  • God said to the woman, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”
  • God said to adam, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
  • Adam called the name of his wife Khawa (Ava, Eve), because she was the mother of all living.
  • God made for adam and for his wife garments of skins (pelts, leather) and clothed them.
  • God said, “Behold, Adam has become as one of us, to know good and evil; now, lest he reach his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat and will live to eternity…”
  • God sent him out from Paradise of Eden to cultivate the Earth, the place from which he was taken.
  • God made revolve, from the East of Paradise of Eden, Cherubim and the point of a sword, that turns to keep the way of the tree of Life.

Notably, adam was not created having innate knowledge of good and evil. For that, he would need to rely upon God.

Further, God’s commandment to adam included both eating and not eating:

YHWH elohim commanded adam, “From all of the trees that are in Paradise YOU SHALL EAT, and from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil YOU SHALL NOT EAT from it, because in the day that you will eat from it, you will die. Genesis 2:16-17

God commanded adam to partake of eternal life, something adam obviously refused.

Adam’s fate was back to dust, not life eternal!

…because dust you are and to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19

God commanded adam NOT to partake of the knowledge of good and evil, which is exactly what he did partake of. From now on man could decide for himself what he thought to be good and evil, what he thought to be right and wrong, what he thought to be true and false.

Instead of submitting to God in all things, including God’s last word on what is good and what is evil, and possessing eternal life, adam opted out of eternal life in order to feel that empowering sense of control whereby every man, woman and child can now argue with one another over their own opinions regarding any and everything. Every disagreement between husband and wife, parent and child, neighbor, village, city, state and nation stems from this independent knowledge of good and evil. And this is apparent in all mankind.

Adam and his wife ate of the fruit of the tree and they did not die, just as the serpent had told Eve.

  • Question: Did God lie?
  • Answer: Of course not.

God is not a man that He would lie… Numbers 23:19

Two attempts are made to explain the apparent discrepancy between what God had said, “in the day you eat of it you shall surely die” and the fact that they did not die:

  1. A day with the LORD is as a thousand years. Adam died when he was 930. Therefore, he died within the day he ate of it.
  2. Some aspect of Adam died; namely, his spirit.

The TRUTH is much simpler. Consider the following:

What is the Biblical definition of the world (what does the world consist of)?

…all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father… 1John 2:16

What were the particulars of the temptation of Eve (what was the significance of these particulars)?

…the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise… Genesis 3:6

Mapping Eve’s temptation to ALL that is in the world:

  • was good for food – the desires (lust) of the flesh
  • was a delight to the eyes – the desires (lust) of the eyes
  • was to be desired to make one wise – (boastful) pride of life

…they worshiped the Dragon that gives authority to The Beast, and they worshiped The Beast… all the inhabitants of The Earth will worship it, those who are not written in The Book of Life of The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:4,8

  • Question: When was the Lamb of God slain?
  • Answer: From the foundation of the world.

NOTE: The creation of the Earth is distinct from the foundation of the world.

Now try this:

…in the day that you (Adam) will eat from it, you (the Lamb of God) will die. Genesis 2:17

The script was written long before its debut upon the world’s stage.

…in due time (at the right, appointed time) Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

  • Question: Did God intend for His Son to die prior to Adam’s disobedience? In other words, did God plan all of this from the beginning?
  • Answer: Yes!

x

x

Thus also it is written: ‘Adam the first man was a living soul; the last Adam, The Life Giver Spirit’. 1Corinthians 15:45

Contrasting Jesus the Messiah with Adam (the first man): Adam was a soul in a body. The Messiah was a Spirit (also having a soul, and inhabiting a body). Two distinct versions of man: one being Earthy, the other being Heavenly.

 

For all have sinned…

Penned in BC, quoted in AD. All means all. Have sinned is a past participle. It is not written that all will sin, someday, after they are born, after they reach a certain age or breach a certain threshold of knowledge.

Sin is that which a sinner is enslaved by. Sins (plural) are that which a sinner produces, be it good or bad, right or wrong.

For the righteous, the produce is either the works of the flesh or the fruits of the spirit.