20th July 2009, mgh
This Article: (8 Pages)
3) Developing the Definition of Spirit
The early chapters in the book of Exodus also show the word 'ruach' as a word that has multiple uses.
And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit (ruach), and for cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:8-9)
Moses found that the people of Israel did not listen to the hope of escape from slavery in Egypt because of the great burden they bore. The word 'ruach' again expresses the strong emotion felt by the people.
The following verses, also from Exodus, show the word 'ruach' again used to refer to the natural phenomenon of the unseen forces that exist every day in our experiences. We cannot see the wind but we can feel and see its effects. The wind (ruach) in the following account is carrying out the will of Yahweh to punish Egypt with the plague of locusts.
And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind (ruach) upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind (ruach) brought the locusts... And the LORD turned a mighty strong west wind (ruach), which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt. (Exodus 10: 13,19)
What is emerging is a set of intangible unseen energising life forces. This study of the various uses of the Hebrew word reveals what Yahweh Elohim intended. The word spirit describes the effect of our emotions and also the very different special work of Yahweh miraculously moving locusts. The two must not be confused. The word 'spirit' (ruach) has a set of specific applications, all speaking of effects with an unseen cause.
There are levels of application. The spirit of the Creator results in a set of all pervading energy forces, from miraculous winds, to the wind of daily weather and all life.
The air we breathe gives life, and, the blood of the body is the life in man. (Genesis 9: 4; Deuteronomy 12: 23; Leviticus 17: 14). The breath of life stimulates the heart, lungs and brain, which then allows the creation in humans of motivation, mind, intellect, feelings, thoughts and emotions. Man's complex physiology produces what becomes the spirit of man.
Summary of the set of applications of Spirit
Based on the scriptural evidence before us so far, the following conclusions are suggested.
The spirit of God, through natural and pneumatic laws sustains all life, animal and human, in the opening verses of Genesis, appears as an all pervading energy force the Hebrews called 'ruach'.
The specific power of the Creator, we call wind is 'ruach'.
Human and animal life is sustained by the air that is breathed and the natural pneumatic laws. Science has not as yet explained the differences at the moment of death between a breathing animal/person and a body. This pneumatic life force principle was called by the Hebrews 'ruach'. Death occurs when the action of breathing ceases. The best human minds are only beginning to understand the very complex system which sustains life.
The very complex physiology of man, sustained by the breath of life, produces the actions, mind, emotions and feelings in man, also 'ruach'.
Just as the unseen wind produces movement, the energy forces around us are complex beyond comprehension. Who can fully explain the air we breathe with its complex components, the waves we describe as light, sound, radio, the electricity that is essential to our modern lifestyle but indefinable, electromagnetism and other energy forces. Who can really understand the many forces we harness and utilise? Electricity, light and sound waves, and radio waves, are all associated with movement
As the text is analysed it becomes increasingly apparent that the word 'ruach' must be examined in the context of the text because of its multiple applications.