What is the difference between the ‘Holy Spirit’, ‘spirit of life’, and the ‘breath of life’?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Automatic Transcript Generated:

Speaker 1

Okay, so Robert is asking, I read in an article that says the spirit of life is not the same as the Holy Spirit, and neither is the breath of life the same as the regular air we breathe. Can you explain the differences? When it was stated that the breath of life and the air we breathe are two entirely different things, I became extremely perplexed.

Speaker 2

And then Robert actually has a second question that’s actually very much related to this. So we can answer both questions in one answer.

Speaker 1

Okay, let’s go ahead and get that next part of the question up. Second question.

Speaker 2

Sorry. Sort of given a heads up. Oh, we don’t have that. Oh, weird. I guess I got.

Speaker 1

I’ll just read it from behind.

Speaker 2

I’ll quickly pull that. This, I think, was from last week. Robert had asked this question.

Speaker 1

Okay, so the second part of the question then is, in an article I read, the greek term for Holy Spirit is. I’ll let you pronounce that.

Speaker 2

Hagios pneumaticos. Pneumatos.

Speaker 1

Sorry, hagios pneumatos. Holy breath or Holy Spirit. The holy breath term threw me off a bit. Is the Holy Spirit a breath?

Speaker 2

So definitely these are two interrelated questions, Robert, and this is a topic I immensely love and I’ve been studying deeply for more than the past year. And it is a deep topic. And seriously, it’s one of these where the deeper I dig, I can’t say necessarily, the more clear everything becomes. It’s almost like more questions I have and the more interesting things become. But let’s start at the very beginning. So I’m going to answer things first from the Hebrew, the ancient Hebrew. And then that also helps answer the Greek, which you asked about as well. So if we look at Genesis one. So chapter one, verse two, the second verse of the Bible, it says the earth was without form and void, and darkness was on the face of the earth. And the spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And KJV says moved. I like how it says moved, but it’s this concept of this spirit that’s over there moving over the waters. And what’s the word for spirit? That’s our english word. That’s not the word that Moses or the ancient Hebrews would have used. They have the word ruach.

Speaker 2

Ruach. And that word means like breath, moving air, wind. These sorts of concepts are what ruach embraces. And it has more meanings too. And as you read the Bible, you can almost see the evolution of the word as it goes along. But it’s almost like you have the wind of God moving over the face of the waters. And I’m not trying to say that the Holy Spirit is just wind. It’s not a person or an entity, but it’s very much associated with wind. Very much. So the Bible is trying to say, hey, wind is this concept that helps you understand what the Holy Spirit is. And if you flash forward to John three, when Jesus is speaking with Nicodemus, Jesus compares and starts talking about the spirit as being like wind. And in fact, in that whole chapter, when he uses wind, he uses the word pneuma. Just like when he’s talking about the spirit, he’s calling it pneuma. So Jesus is talking about the pneuma is like the pneuma, or it’s conjugated a little bit. That’s how you do pneumatos. But it’s from the greek word root word pneuma, which also in the Greek means this wind moving air.

Speaker 2

So the Hebrews, when they’re rewriting the Bible and not rewriting it, but translating it into the Greek, they go from using the word ruach to using numa. So that’s sort of how we got there. Then we go to Genesis, chapter two, and we see God breathing in the breath of life to Adam, and we see Genesis two seven says, and the Lord God formed of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Now, the words, and there’s actually three times there’s this word or roots of this word that’s used. So, like man becoming a living being. That’s the word nephesh. Or in the KJV, it says soul, but it’s still nefesh, that if you really literally take it probably means like a breathing creature. And then you see nafak. And another word related to this. These nf words starts with an n, and then it has another symbol that starts with an. And so the verse is emphasizing three times that God is breathing. God breathed the breath, and Adam became a living, breathing being. So this emphasis here, breathe, breathe, breathe. And we don’t necessarily see the Holy Spirit specifically in this section or in this verse.

Speaker 2

But if you read later on in the Bible, it comes very clear that the Holy Spirit really was a part of it. The Holy Spirit is what animates what gives life to things. It’s sort of how God does that. And if you go to the New Testament, you see that it was by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is raised. You see that in, for example, Luke 23 46, it says, well, sorry, I’m not finding that verse, but there are verses where we hear it’s the Holy Spirit, by which oh, two Corinthians three, six, it says, for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life. And John 663, it is the spirit who gives life, the flesh that profits nothing. The words I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life. And romans 811. But if the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you. So now the question becomes, okay, what’s the difference between the spirit, the breath of life, and the ongoing breathing we do? Are they one and the same, or are they different?

Speaker 2

And I would say they are conceptually different, but the Bible wants them to be very closely related. Now, I want you to visualize a fire. So there’s a log that’s sitting over a gas burner, and that gas burner turns on and ignites a flame on that wood. Now, that, let’s say, would be like the Holy Spirit, breathing and conveying the breath of life to Adam. And by the way, fire is another symbol closely associated with the Holy Spirit and spirits in general. So the fire turns on, kickstart the burning process on the log, and then you could turn off that gas flame, and the log will continue to burn on its own. But maybe at some point it might burn out. Could be a couple of hours, whatever eventually could go out, and maybe you could turn on that gas flame again, boom. And then it’ll connect and restart, rekindle that fire again, or it could even just keep going and really power the burning of that log. I see. That’s sort of how the Holy Spirit and breath of life works. The breath of life was the Holy Spirit sort of igniting life within living beings.

Speaker 2

It was sort of that spark of life. And that spark is able to continue burning in us even if we’re somewhat severed from God, even if the Holy Spirit no longer is continually conveying it to us, we could still burn for a little bit of a time. And likewise, the fire can spread, too, so we’re able to have kids and spread that life on to them. And what happens, though, is once that spark burns out, though, it’s not within our ability to bring it back. And this is what’s interesting. Even science today cannot tell what is that spark? What is that thing that makes the difference between a cell being alive and functioning and metabolizing to do its thing versus a cell that has just died and ceased. Like, we can’t even bring back a dead cell. We don’t know what just changed between that moment of life and death. But, but from a spiritual sense, we have the answers here in the Bible. It’s kind of that breath of life aspect that’s sort of driven by the Holy Spirit. And this is why it’s so important for us to continue to be connected to God, that draw closer to the source of life.

Speaker 2

This is why the Bible associates one reason why it associates the spirit and God in life to breathing. It is our most important thing. Once we stop breathing, what happens? We immediately black out and then die. It is so essential for us. Almost every breath is kind of a reminder of our dependence on the heavenly realm. The air, the earthly realm, is us. We dwell on the earth, but we’re depending on the heavenly realm. We’re depending on God for our continual sustainment of life. So it’s really fascinating the more you dig into it and realize the themes going on here of God in the air realm, the heavenly realm, us in the earthly realm. There’s so much deeper. So by the way, I have a question to ask you, Robert. If you play Minecraft, let me know, because I have a whole Bible study built out on Minecraft on this very topic that I’ll be happy to open up to you. So Tina, Wendy, any other thoughts on this topic?

Speaker 3

No, I think that was good. And I really appreciated that reminder that every breath is should remind us that our dependence on God and his life support because we can’t even make ourselves our next breath only. It’s a gift from God. Yeah, that’s a really good point.

Speaker 2

I’ve even heard the name Yahweh or Yahweh is sort of this reminder of the breathe in, breathe out. So it’s really interesting. Yeah.

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BibleAsk Team

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