Becoming a Living Soul

The Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. -Genesis 2:7

Dear members and friends,

How does one define a human being? We could survey all aspects of what it means to be a human from cultural, social, religious, philosophical, and even biological studies and find many different ideas. We may not be fully conscious of it all the time, but most of our moral and ethical rules are based on the communal definition of what it means to be human. In other words, how we define who we are forms the very foundation of our value system, and thus the rules of how we treat each other and treat all other creatures on earth.

According Genesis 2:4-7, there were two elements necessary in creating a human being: the dust of the ground and the breath of life from God. Even if one does not believe in God, this is quite an insightful description of the characteristics of a human: what forms the visible portion of the human is from the physical elements, while what gives birth to the real character of being a human is something invisible. Now, if you believe in God, this is an amazing description of what makes us human: a physical body from nature and a spiritual mind from God. To be a human, we must be able to not only dwell in both realities – spiritual and physical – but also be conscious of both realities and their differences. Yet, at the same time this is the very reason that we sometimes feel deeply conflicted within our own mind when it comes to choosing which reality to inhabit; the attractions from both realities are pulling us in two different directions.

The message from Genesis 2:7 is that God’s design for humans was not just about creating a creature that lives on earth, but creating a being who would become a living being. Here, the word “living” is not so much about bio-organic life. Rather, living means becoming a vibrant and living being before God, who dwells in spiritual realm. We are humans by birth, but we become “living” beings by realizing the God-given gift within us and by living it out.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee