Basic Lessons on Life, by Witness Lee

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Genesis 2:7 says that God formed a body for man with the dust of the ground. The physical body is for man’s existence. Without such a physical body formed with the dust, man cannot exist. When man’s body dies, the man dies, so man’s existence is altogether dependent upon his physical body.


God created man with the breath of life for a spirit that man may receive God. This is also recorded in Genesis 2:7. After God formed man with the dust of the earth to give him a physical body, God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of man. The Hebrew word for breath in Genesis 2:7 is translated into spirit in Proverbs 20:27. Proverbs 20:27 says, "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord" (NASB). This is a strong proof that the breath of life God breathed into man’s body was eventually the spirit of man.

Our body of dust is a physical organ, and our spirit of the breath of life is a spiritual organ. We have a body of dust as our physical organ to contact the outward, physical world; we also have the spirit that comes from the breath of life as our inward, spiritual organ so that we can contact God in the spiritual world. Thus, it is clear that the man created by God has two organs: the body formed with dust and the spirit that came from the breath of life.

Here we need to point out that the breath of life breathed into man at his creation should not be considered as something of God’s eternal life. When God breathed the breath of life into man, He did not put His eternal life into man. The breath of life was not the eternal life, because God’s intention was that man would exercise his own free will to choose God’s eternal life. Because of this God surely would not put His eternal life into man just by His own will, His own decision, without letting man exercise man’s own will, even man’s free will, to choose the divine life. According to His divine principle, God would let man exercise his own free will to choose God and take God as his life. This life is the eternal life, which man did not have at the time of his creation.

Another proof that man did not have God’s eternal life when he was created is that after man ate the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God closed the way to the tree of life lest man partake of the tree of life and live forever with his evil nature (Gen. 3:22-24). This proves that at the beginning when man was created, man did not have the life of God. What he had was the breath of life getting into him and becoming his human spirit, which is the organ for him to receive God into him as the eternal life. We must be clear about this.

According to the Bible, man was never able to receive the eternal life of God until the Lord Jesus came and died on the cross to accomplish redemption for us, thus opening the way for us to contact God as the tree of life. After Christ’s death and resurrection, man could believe in the Lord Jesus and receive Him as the eternal life. Before Christ’s death and resurrection, man could not have the life of God.

(Basic Lessons on Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)