Man was made from the dust a living soul, ie mortal

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”  Gen 2:7 KJV

God made Adam a living soul Gen2:7.  We rightly understand a living soul to be a breathing frame, whether that be human or animal (Job 12:10).  The description of being a living soul is applied pre and post Fall without change or inflection in the Hebrew.  Bro CC Walker (no friend of EC) agreed with this

These, and a multitude of similar passages, give us to understand that when Moses speaks of “life,” “creatures,” and “souls” in relation to man or beast he means mortal life, and mortal souls[1].

Without a doubt the term references the human body in its mortal state post Fall.  After the Fall, Adam is told by God that he would work “till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art , and unto dust shalt thou return.”  Gen3:19.  There is no hint of a change from amortal to mortal, just a logical conclusion – you were made of dust and will return to it.

Indicative but less definitively, we are also told Adam was made from the dust (or clay H6083).  This expression is used of humans after the Fall eg “For He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”  Psa103:13 KJV.  Ie the Psalmist draws no distinction between our frame being dust/clay and Adam’s.  The language is consistent.

A natural reading of the text is Adam was mortal pre Fall.  A high burden of proof rests with those who propose an alternative understanding to the plain reading of the text and the way the two expressions are used in the Old Testament.  Ie if you want to insist Adam was not mortal you need a lot of good unambiguous evidence given the way Scripture is pointing.

The logic of this position (that Adam was made mortal) becomes all the stronger when Paul uses Gen2:7 in his argument in 1Cor15:44-51 talking about our own mortal bodies.  Paul makes the following comparison:

Us now In the future
v44 Natural body Spiritual body
v45 living soul Adam quickening spirit Christ
v46 Natural body Spiritual body
v47 of the earth earthy from heaven
v49 image of the earthy image of the heavenly
v50 corruptible/mortal incorruptible/immortal

Paul very explicitly compares the earthy mortal Adam with the spiritual/immortal Christ and sets up that we are in the image of Adam and will be in the image of Christ.  His specific context is about the body/nature we possess now versus in the Kingdom.  Surely there is no doubt we will be in the image of Christ means the nature (immortal and without any bias to sin).  For the comparison to work, we must also conclude Paul is drawing no difference between our nature/state and Adam’s when created.

Two points are impressed.  Firstly there are only two states of being, mortal and immortal.  Amortal doesn’t appear.  Given Paul is talking to people post Gen3 this is perhaps of less consequence.  Secondly and significantly, Paul quotes Gen2:7 to underpin his argument on the mortal and corruptible state of our body.  To suggest Adam in Gen2:7 was anything other than a corruptible body means Paul’s argument is careless at best.  Paul uses Scripture carefully and respectfully of inspiration (eg In Heb 7:2 Paul makes a point out of the order of words).  One would have to be very sure of the argument to suggest the apostle shows a paucity of scholarship to the extent of inaccurately representing the inspired Word.

That Paul was quoting from Gen2:7 and that the clear teaching is Adam was mortal pre Fall is not only clear, it is not a new reading.  It was explicitly set out by Bro Roberts in 1869 with reference to 1 Cor15:44-45 as his proof text [2] (see the ful  and Bro Whittaker[3].  Note neither of these brethren any accepted evolution (their exposition isn’t biased).  I will deal with the pioneer views separately.  (Roberts later changed his view about Adam but never addressed this expositional issue).

The only explicit new testament text about Adam’s body links his pre fall body to our current mortal body.  The expressions and descriptions in Genesis 2 are also used in scripture of us now.  This is the simple and consistent testimony of Scripture, Adam was made mortal.


[1] Walker CC “Genesis” The Christadelphian, Vol 47, page 502. (1910).

[2] Roberts. “Notes on the Mystery of Godliness” The Christadelphian Volume 6 page 242-243 (1869).

[3] Whittaker, H. “Commentary on Genesis 1-4” Biblia (p. 58) (1986).

8 thoughts on “Man was made from the dust a living soul, ie mortal

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