Genesis 2:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 2:7, NIV: "Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."

Genesis 2:7, ESV: "then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature."

Genesis 2:7, KJV: "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 2:7, NASB: "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."

Genesis 2:7, NLT: "Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man's nostrils, and the man became a living person."

Genesis 2:7, CSB: "Then the LORD God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being."

What does Genesis 2:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This is the moment when all human life begins. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the entire universe. As part of that story, men and women are also formed (Genesis 1:27). Genesis chapter 2 narrows focus on the creation of the first man, giving additional details, and helping us to see that humanity is special among all the rest of creation.

In Genesis 1:1, God's creation is described using the term bā'rā, which implies "creation" in the sense of "coming into being," or of "something from nothing." But here, in Genesis 2:7, the creation of the first human being uses the Hebrew word for "formed:" yi'ser. This describes the actions of an artist, a sculptor, or a potter. This term is specific in that it always refers to work done on some existing substance. In this case, God is forming human life from the ground itself. That Hebrew word is ā'pār, which refers to dirt, powder, debris, or ash.

Following the storyline of this verse, after being "formed," man was merely a lump of well-formed dirt. It's what God did next that made us alive: He breathed into the man's nose the breath of life. Literally, God breathed life into the lump, transforming it into a living being, or "creature," or "soul."

All of life originated with God, but human life began with the personal breath of God. Without God, we simply would not live. The name Adam is directly from the Hebrew ā'dām, which literally means "man." This name reflects the dust from which we were formed: the Hebrew word for ground is adamah.

All of this, as one can imagine, adds fuel to the debate over exactly how God went about bringing human life onto the earth. Regardless of the specific process involved, this verse clearly states that God Himself formed man out of the dust of the ground. God personally designed the size, shape, and detail of the first man. God was intentional, fashioning exactly what He set out to make. According to the book of Genesis, the form of that first man was "very good" (Genesis 1:31).