When a baby is born, in many cases the baby will be born already breathing, and in some cases even crying.

According to Genesis man did not come to life until God breathed the breath of life into him:

Genesis 2:7 New revised King James translation.

And יהוה Elohim formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Does the Bible tell us whether God breathes the breath of life into every new person or is the original breath of life passed down from generation to generation.

  • This question seems to be asking a very related thing as my question. Mar 28, 2014 at 18:28
  • 2
    Where do you get a "New revised King James" that has Hebrew words in text? Mar 29, 2014 at 6:02
  • @davidbrainerd I thought the same thing :) Mar 29, 2014 at 9:57
  • @davidbrainerd This translation along with several others were downloaded as a part of a Bible study program I downloaded from www.theword.org. It is a comprehensive Bible study program offered free on the internet. It has multiple Bible translations including Hebrew and Greek versions and most Commentaries, along with many other informative addons.
    – BYE
    Mar 29, 2014 at 13:08

3 Answers 3


Your question is essentially the age-old question of vitalism versus mechanism. That is, is life purely a process that can ultimately be understood and explained in terms of the same physics and chemistry that govern non-living things (mechanism), or is there something fundamentally different about living things (vitalism). Or to put it another way, is there such a thing as a "soul" that is something above and beyond the electrical and chemical processes in the brain? Or, Is every life a new miracle of God?

People have been debating this question for thousands of years, and I don't suppose that we'll resolve it here.

The Bible clearly teaches that people have an immortal soul, so to at least some extent the Bible contradicts the mechanists.

Mechanists like to say that the debate is over and they have won because it has been proven that many processes in living things can be understood in terms of ordinary chemistry. Scientists can't explain ALL biological processes, but given time they will figure it out.

I think this is pretty weak. Any serious biologist will admit that we have only scratched the surface of understanding how living things work. It's like someone who is just learning auto mechanics saying that, now that he understands what 10% of the parts in a car are for and none of them have anything to do with radio waves, therefore it is a myth that cars have radios. As all the parts he knows don't use radio waves, he's sure that as he understands more, he will have the ultimate proof.

  • I never knew there was a phrase for this thought process--"vitalism vs mechanism". Thank you! Would you happen to have any links on this topic that you are favorable towards? I would enjoy reading them. Mar 29, 2014 at 10:01
  • Thank you I also had never heard that term used but will now research it.
    – BYE
    Mar 29, 2014 at 12:35
  • The question doesn't really read "is a new life a scientific or supernatural process," but more, "do we inherit Adam's breath of life, or do we each get our own?" It sounded like the OP's assumption was that humans do have a soul. That said, I did think that this was a well thought out and interesting answer.
    – user991
    May 13, 2014 at 4:01

The scriptures seem to use breath as a metaphor for life. Life is a gift that comes from God.

Psalms 127:3

3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord

Job 33:4

4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Acts 17:25

25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

It is also important to note that God commanded Adam and Eve to multiply and replenish the earth, so he delegated the power to create life to them.

Genesis 1:28

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth

The Bible has about a dozen references to the breath of life, and it would be difficult to interpret them all as a literal breath. We can't say there is one breath that is inherited. I think the easiest interpretation is that "breath of life" means "gift of life." With this interpretation, God is the true source of the gift of life to all living people; and since Adam and Eve, mankind has inherited the ability to bestow this gift.

  1. Does the bible tell us whether God breathes the breath of life into every person? Yes.

Job 33;4

The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

Ezekiel 37;2,5,8,10

2 And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 5 Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered the above: but there was no breath in them. 10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

  1. Is the original breath of life passed down from generation to generation? No.

Genesis 2:7

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.

Genesis 3;22

And the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil, and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Man's life is not inherent. His immortality was dependent upon his obedience. Man does have immortality with himself.

1 Timothy 6;15,16

15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

The misconception, that man has a soul, although widely preached and promoted, is error. Genesis 2;7 clearly indicates man is a living soul. Specifically; dirt + breath = soul (life). As in; how many souls were lost?

Matthew 10;28

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.

Man does not have life within himself, nor can he create life.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .