The Difference Between Man And Animals

Q. I have been asked to give a presentation on the 6 days of creation as well as the flood. One question that comes up that is shared between the two accounts is: just what is the difference in the breath of life as it pertains to mankind (Genesis 2:7) and the animals (Genesis 6:17). What it SEEMS to indicate is that when God breathed the breath of life into man, a soul and spirit(man’s) were formed. However when this same breath of life was breathed into anything other than man, the result was a soul only, no spirit. I’m confused.

A. First of all, Genesis 6:17 simply says that God was going to destroy every living creature on dry land. Genesis 7:21 confirms that this happened.

I believe the fact that the Bible specifically mentions God breathing life into Adam (Genesis 2:7) but makes no mention of doing the same for animals is meant to differentiate between the two. After all, He didn’t have to breathe life into either man or animal to make them live. He could have just commanded their respiratory systems to begin working. By breathing His own breath into Adam’s nostrils He was establishing a special relationship with him, perhaps underscoring the fact that man was created in His image, whereas the animals were not. This could also explain why man has both soul and spirit, while animals have only a soul.

And remember, when Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to His disciples, He did so by breathing on them (John 20:22).

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