Many lives for You and Me? What the Bible Says
Many lives for each human being is a common belief around the world. The Bible has much to say about this, starting from the creation of the first man.
Many lives in succession is an accepted and demonstrated phenomenon. It is a common belief and witnessed and practiced by regression therapists. Does the Bible refer to many lives? What is the reason for all these many lives?
Here’s a summary of what we’ve covered in Genesis 2:7 so far about the creation of the first man. Yahveh formed man out of dust, the most sterile part of the ground. Yahveh, the Potter, the future Jesus, then breathed into his nostrils. That man is called a living soul composed of a material body and an immaterial singularity, akin to the mind, that only humans possess; this is a result of the breath of life which is the neshama, which again, only humans and God possess, revealing a relationship between humans and God.
Here is the Biblical Hebrew of Genesis 2:7. We have to view it because the English translation is incorrect and thus, misleading.
Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; (H2416) and man became a living (H2416) soul. In English, we see life and living both from the same H2416, which is correct.
In English, both life and living are singular, which is INcorrect. In Biblical Hebrew, breath of life is plural and should read breath of LIVES. The ים at the end of the word makes it plural. On the other hand, with living being, living ends in ה, which makes it SINGULAR feminine because it must agree grammatically with being, nephesh, which is a feminine noun.
Yahveh breathed the breath of liveS. Many lives is a biblical reality. Right from the creation of the very first man, the term breath of lives (which you cannot see in the English translation) indicates this in the last article, which you should read if you haven’t. Because of the nature of breath, I suggested a better translation, divine essence. If we put this all together, breath of life would be the divine essence of lives. When God breathed into the nostrils of the first human being, He gave him the divine essence for many lives.
You’ve probably never heard this before, so please stay with me. We need to let the Bible tell us what these lives are.
Is life translated in the singular anywhere else in the Bible where it should be plural? YES. In this same chapter, just two verses further on in verse 9.
Genesis 2:9, And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
We find the identical plural spelling of חַיִּ֑ים — chayim; this refers NOT to the Tree of Life but rather the Tree of Lives. In short, God gave the first human, who represents all human beings, the essence to have multiple lives. However, at the time of this humans creation, he only had ONE life, he was a nephesh CHAYA, singular. I repeat ONE LIFE. After eating from the second tree (we’ll be discussing this in detail later), God did not want them eating of the Tree of LIVES. God limited Adam and Even and humanity in general to ONE life. When He put these humans OUT of the Garden Eden, they had NO ACCESS to any further lives. They only had the single physical life, the nephesh chaya, that God had breathed into the first human.
That’s why in the next chapter, God said, In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and unto dust shall you return (Gen 3.19). New Testament theology says the same thing, And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment (Hebrews 9:27) Notice ONCE to die. In this life on Earth, we live, and we die, it’s the ONE-time cycle of life.
Here’s another verse with additional information. Then shall the dust (of the dead person) return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7). We shall talk about this spirit in the next few weeks. Nowhere does the Bible refer to repeated cycles of life: birth-death, birth-death, birth-death. As we saw in Hebrews 9:27, it is given to humans ONCE to die and then, back to dust. There are and have been a few exceptions. These are resurrections. But, they are exceptional cases under exceptional circumstances.
Elijah, in Zarephath, raised the widow’s son (Kings 17:22 ). Elisha and the Shunammite’s son (2 Kings 4:32). Jesus performed some resurrections, a young boy in Nain (Luke 7:14 ), and Lazarus of Bethany (John 11:43). At Christ’s death, the Bible says many bodies of the saints which slept arose and came out of the graves after his crucifixion, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many (Matthew 27:52).
Again, if you’ve never heard this before, that’s what the Biblical Hebrew states, and that’s what the Bible story relates. Here’s another piece of the puzzle that I’ll expand later. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden Tree, the result was Death. But they did NOT die, at least not at that moment. Therefore, the death this Tree refers to is not just the physical death all humans experience. Each human has ONE life (nefesh chaya) and ONE death in this world. But there are more lives and at least one more death.
God’s plan is stated right from the beginning. Those of you who know your Bible or who want to check this out can do so. Just go over to UnlockBibleMeaning.com and search second death. You’ll find four references to this in the book of Revelations. I cannot explain this now but will do so in the future. What you need to retain is that the Biblical Hebrew and Genesis events point to multiple lives and at more than one death.
Lives, in the plural, refers to two specific themes: our present physical life and a future physical life. There’s also a present spiritual life that leads to a future spiritual life.
Of course, there’s the present physical life that we all lead now. In the future, there will be a general physical resurrection for billions of people to another physical life on Earth. I can only give you a glimpse of this now. It is an exciting subject that is in the Bible as part of God’s plan for humankind.
9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe (H5301) upon these slain, that they may live (H2416).
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
Interestingly we find the same Biblical Hebrew vocabulary as in Genesis 2:7 There God breathed (H5301 — nafach) into the first man’s nostrils, as does He here; this causes them to live (H2416 — chai). Read the context of Ezekiel 37 to confirm this is a resurrection to physical life. You probably remember several songs that celebrate this Biblical passage. Here is a quick summary. All these people lived ONE life BEFORE Christ’s return. Sometime (no details now) AFTER His return, all these people will be resurrected to a second PHYSICAL life. What a resurrection that will be!
During Christ’s first coming, so-called believers who rejected the idea of the resurrection interrogated Him. Here’s what Christ told them.
[box type=”info”]Matthew 22:31–32
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you [the non-believers of a resurrection] not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying,
32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. [/box]
Christ confirmed the resurrection, the many lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But, they were NOT alive when Christ stated these words, and they are not alive today. They were men who ONCE died and await a future resurrection. They, however, await a spiritual resurrection, as we’ll see below.
The Biblical Hebrew term breath of life (lives) referring to many lives includes the whole process of entering into spiritual life now and in the future. I realize this biblical theme we’re discussing might be and probably is new to many readers, but it’s right there in your Bible. Here’s spiritual life.
[box type=”info”]John 3:4–8
4 Nicodemus said to him [Jesus], How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.
8 The wind blows where it lists, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell where it comes from, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.[/box]
Notice how Christ uses the term born. There’s a PHYSICAL birth (of the flesh) and a SPIRITUAL birth (of water and the Spirit); this is the nishmat chayim, the many lives breathed on the first man.
In the next verse (9), Nicodemus was so surprised by Jesus’ reply that he needed more details and said, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said to him, Are you a master of Israel, and know not these things?
With all due respect, how many religious masters today know and explain these things?! This next example is a glimpse of breathing that gives rise to spiritual life; this is the SAME BREATHING BY THE SAME YAHVEH, who gives both PHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL LIFE.
20 And when he [Jesus] had so said, he shewed to them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.
21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be to you: as my Father has sent me, even so send I you.
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
This breathing of the Holy Spirit is the counterpart of the breathing of the neshama chayim, the divine essence of lives. In Genesis 2:7 YAHVEH gave PHYSICAL LIFE here. He gives SPIRITUAL LIVE; this is the beginning of the process of being born spiritually, which Christ discussed with Nicodemus. The actual fulfillment of this initial breathing took place dramatically a few weeks later.
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
Here the breath, which is synonymous with the wind for Nicodemus, is presented as a rushing mighty wind. It goes crescendo. Here is the actual beginning influx of the Holy Spirit. The Apostles are now imbued with spiritual life.
1 Corinthians 15:41–47
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (Sam: one physical life); the last Adam was made a quickening spirit (G2227).
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
These are the many lives, first the physical, then the spiritual. There are various aspects to both, which I cannot detail now. All of these add up to many lives. Notice in verse 45, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. This quickening Spirit is none other than YAHVEH — Jesus Christ.
Check out the meaning of G2227 using UnlockBibleMeaning.com. Quickening means make alive and give life.
- That’s what Yahveh did in Genesis 2:7 precisely.
- That’s what He does when He fills His brothers and sisters with the Holy Spirit now
- That’s what He’ll do at the resurrection when the dead (including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall put on our spirit bodies. That is the ultimate born again.
Neshama chayim, what Yahveh breathed in Genesis 2:7, the many lives, prefigures the entire plan of God for all humans. The Biblical Hebrew expresses the very plan of God. It reveals God’s relationship with humans. It unlocks comprehension of the great goal, and future God has in mind for His creation, humankind.
This article is an excerpt from chapter 3.6 of the book Origin of Humankind
Neshama chayim is one of the cornerstone pieces of the entire puzzle picture. It is one of the two keys to understanding what a human being is. I’ll discuss the second key the week after next. If there’s anything that needs to be studied and grounded, it is this piece.
The mistranslation and misinterpretation of neshama chayim are widespread. So much so, that this clouded issue is now considered fact. The Explanation is taking it one step at a time to unlock its meaning.
Above I wrote check out second death and quickening spirit. I suggest you check out more than that. If you want an overview of neshama chayim, then (re)read chapter 9 of Inventory of the Universe, Brain, and Mind, as well as chapter 9 of Audit of the Universe, Brain, and Proper Mind. Both these chapters either hint at or explicitly indicate there’s a non-material aspect to humans that is associated with but not part of the brain.
In the previous post about neshama, I pointed out Bible corroborative verses that clearly state neshama
- Was given by God to humans
- Animals do not possess it
- Has a non-material, spiritual aspect
- Is also possessed by God
- Is the basis of the relationship between God and each human
- Is translated among other words mind by the King James translators
There’s plenty to study here to get the foundation right. The Explanation will be adding further pieces to give you an even fuller comprehension of the role neshama plays in the many lives it imbues on humankind.