This chapter gives us a fuller account of man. Three distinct movements are chronicled in the brief but comprehensive account.
First, "Jehovah God formed man of the dust." The Hebrew word "formed" suggests the figure of the potter, molding to shape, material already existing. It is a scientific fact that all the elements in man's physical life are found in the dust of the ground.
Second, "Jehovah God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." This is the final divine act, mysterious and incomprehensible, indicating the communication to the dust, of the very life of God.
Finally, "man became a living soul." The word nephesh, here translated "soul," refers to complete personality. This being is now placed in an environment which demands his care and cultivation. His relationship as subject to the sovereignty of God is sacramentally symbolized for him in a tree. He can only fulfil the highest function of his being only as he is living and acting within the will of God. By supernatural action, the man is completed in the woman. Here the declaration is most significant. "God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them" (Genesis 1:27). In God are fatherhood and motherhood, parenthood and childhood. This great chapter on human nature ideally reveals it in its relationship with God in being and in purpose. The ultimate meaning of this is not revealed here and will be known only in the ages to come, when, beyond all failure, the divine thought and purpose are fulfilled.
the Second Week after Epiphany