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Holman Bible Dictionary


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A being with life. The phrase used in the Hebrew Bible nephesh chayah is translated by “creature,” “living [thing, soul],” and “beast.” In Genesis 2:7 it is used of mankind and translated “living soul.” In all of the other references the phrase applies solely to animals. Because the same term is used of mankind and the other creatures, interpreters believe that it applies to the similar physical makeup (same matter) rather than the higher relationship with God that is special to humans.

In the first creation story God created moving creatures both in the water and in the air (Genesis 1:20-21 ) and then the beasts that roamed the land (Genesis 1:24 ,Genesis 1:24,1:30 ). In the second chapter mankind is created first (Genesis 2:7 ) and then the land and air creatures (Genesis 2:19-20 ). God made a covenant with all the creatures of the earth in which He promised never again to destroy the world by a flood. God communicated this covenant to Noah (Genesis 9:10 ,Genesis 9:10,9:12 ,Genesis 9:12,9:15-16 ).

Leviticus 11:10 ,Leviticus 11:10,11:46 communicate God's directives relative to the Hebrew dietary laws. No water creature that has no fins or scales are to be a part of the diet ( Leviticus 11:10 ). Ezekiel 47:9 refers to the living creatures in the prophet's vision of the restored Temple in Jerusalem. The entire chapter is a description of the paradise on earth that God will create in the age of peace. According to the prophet, all the living creatures (fish, fowl, and beasts) that existed in the old age are to exist anew in the age to come.

Mike Mitchell

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Creature'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Monday, November 11th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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