The Breath of Life

Does an Individual's Life Begin at First Breath?

Timothy S. Morton

When Did "You" Become "You"?

This has been an age-old question, "When does human life begin?," but this question is multi-faceted. All will agree that an adult man or woman is fully human. The same will be said for a child, even a newborn. However, when one considers the existence of human life from birth and earlier, that is where the fireworks start. There are sharp differences among those considering this question today, primarily for political reasons. Abortion has been hotbed issue ever since it became "legal" in the United State in 1972. Many who are pro-abortion care nothing about when life begins or if the child which they call a "fetus" is a human being. They are interested in power and control. Not in right or wrong. They want their "rights" regardless of who else's rights they trample on, even to the point of a child's death.

As for when an individual, human life starts, there are those in society who insist this life begins at conception. Others contend it begins at the cutting of the cord after birth. Still others must wait for the child's first breath before they consider it fully human, and today, in our "advanced" society there are a few who claim the child is not human until it grows and develops its own personality and identity a few weeks or months after birth! Infanticide anyone!

Nevertheless, this article is not about the abortion debate. As long as there are selfish and self-centered people in the world the abortion issue will never be settled. Furthermore, there is a wealth of material already available on both sides of the abortion issue. What we are going to look at is what the King James Bible has to say (or doesn't say) about human life; when it began, when it begins in each individual, and even when it ends. When these questions are answered, the position a believer should hold will become clear.

A Body of Life?

When considering human life there are at least two aspects: the physical and the non-physical or "spiritual." Man is more than just a body. The Bible is clear man is a tripartite being with a body, soul, and spirit (1Th 5:23). The body is the part that is tangible and seen. The soul is the unseen part "made without hands," and the spirit is what seems to "animate" both. Man is not a soul that only lives in a body; he consists of all three parts. He his not whole otherwise.

Biologically, it is clear that physical life begins at conception. The proof is that the new body is constantly growing. From the instant of conception or fertilization the body grows through cellular reproduction and division. Dead things don't grow. Inanimate objects don't grow. Only a form of life truly grows. Later on this child can hear, feel, react, and move under its own power while still in the womb. No reasonable person will contend this is not life. However, is there such a concept of exclusively physical life? That is, life that is only physical without any "spirit" to initiate it?

The fact of physical life raises the question, however, "What kind of life is it?" Some will contend that the unborn "human" body, even though biologically alive, does not demand it be "human life." They mention that fish, birds, dogs, and even bugs are also biological life, and that is true, but how does one determine what kind of biological life is growing inside a mother? Simple, what kind of life are the parents. If the parents are dogs would it not be true that their offspring are also dogs at any stage of development? Whether they are in the womb or not does not make any difference to their DNA makeup or their very nature. Dogs don't bear cats, bats, or squirrels. They bare only dogs. The same for human beings. Humans begat humans. Everything was designed to reproduce after "their kind" (Gen 1:21).

In spite of this sound, rational reasoning that any third-grader could understand, there are those who try to defeat it. They will admit the body contains human tissue, and is in that sense human life, but then claim this tissue is no different that any other human tissue found in the body. This is a faulty and desperate tactic. A complete human body is very different that an appendix, liver, heart, brain, or even the sperm and egg that produced it. None of these tissues or cells are a new human body that can eventually live outside the mother as an independent individual. Yes, they have DNA and grow to some extent, but they can never become conscious or an individual living separate from their host body.

From the genetic standpoint the result is the same. As another said,

"[A] genetically unique individual is created at the time of fertilization, each human life begins at fertilization. The zygote formed at fertilization is different from all others and, if it survives, will grow into a person with his or her own unique set of genes. In this view, the terms fertilization and conception are interchangeable. Thus, in this view, life would be said to begin at conception."

There are some in the scientific world who claim individual physical life doesn't begin until the "zygote" is implanted in the uterus a few days after fertilization, but this cannot be proven. The only safe view is to go all the way to the beginning at conception. This allows us to make a reasonable postulation we will call axiom #1,

#1. Physical life and existence begins at conception or fertilization

This axiom is the easy one where there is essentially no dispute. The next one, however, is where things get more "lively."

Is it a Person or Not?

A "person" is generally defined as,

An individual human being consisting of body and soul. (Web. 1828)

All will agree man has a body. Some will insist man IS a body; that's all he is, but he still is manifest in a body. However, using the same argument as those above, all creatures have bodies, dogs, cats, bats, and bugs. So what makes a man, a man; what makes him a human being in contrast to the other creatures? It is his soul. A human's soul is what actually makes him a person. Webster defines a soul as,

"The spiritual, rational and immortal substance in man, which distinguishes him from brutes; that part of man which enables him to think and reason, and which renders him a subject of moral government...."

Thus your soul is the "real you" that thinks, reasons, feels emotion, and is able to interact with our Creator through your spirit. The account of the "Rich man and Lazarus" in Luke 16 details this perfectly. Both Abraham and the rich man had full access to all their "mental faculties" including memory, reason, and thought, while their brains and bodies were "molding in their grave."

So a "person" is a human being consisting of both body and soul. Now the questions are, does a human body in the womb always possess a soul since conception, and is it always a person, or is the soul acquired sometime during the process of development, or is the soul gained when the infant takes its first breath at birth?

If you ask science or modern society this question one will get a plethora of answers, but basically it all boils down to two contentions. One group, usually consisting of the more conservative thinkers, will contend the soul is formed at conception or very soon after. Long before the mother even knows she is "with child." The other group, which tends to lean more liberal, will insist the soul or "person-hood" does not exist until sometime much later, even at birth or beyond. (Francis Crick, one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, says that a child should not be declared “human” until three days after birth!).

Needless to say, the vast majority of abortion proponents are in the latter group, but ironically some otherwise conservative Fundamentalist Christians are in the later group as well. They insist the Bible states man becomes a "living soul" when he takes his first breath.

Your author's contention is neither group can conclusively prove their claim from either science or the Scriptures. Science knows nothing about a soul or the spiritual aspects of a man and the Scriptures don't definitively address the matter. Nevertheless, the Scriptures do say quite a bit about these issues even if it doesn't make any absolute statements, and we will look at some of those below.

The Precedent Has Been Set

Remember our axiom #1 above that states physical life must start at conception? Since this one aspect or dimension of life has already been established to begin at conception, it is reasonable to claim the other aspects of man, that is his soul, begin then as well UNLESS the Bible shows conclusively otherwise. This is an important precept. Let's consider this it a couple different ways.

First, all agree an adult person is a true person with both body and soul as Adam was. If we go backwards in time in that person's life, when is that person was not yet a "person"? Was he still a person when he was an immature teenager? Yes. Was he when he was a newborn infant? Yes. Was he a day before he was born...? This is where it gets tricky for some people, but this is mainly because of presuppositions they harbor. Where does the Bible (or even science) prove that a "babe" is any less a person or human being a day before birth compared to a day or year after?  It doesn't. Again, unless one can specifically point to a Scripture that definitively states a pre-born child does not have a soul, then the precedent must take precedence; all aspects of life begin at conception.

Consider this for a moment. Can you directly prove from the Bible that Adam had a brain? How about Noah, Abraham, or Moses? Can you prove any of them had a liver, kidney, or spleen? No, you can't prove they had any of these specifically, but you can prove they were men, and we know that all men have these body parts. This is simple deductive reasoning. Since the Bible in no way says these men did not have any of these human body parts, there is no sound or sensible reason to even suggest they didn't have them.

It is the same with a soul. All human beings have souls and unless one can conclusively prove that at some point in the past a human body does not contain a soul then it must be considered fully human all the way back to conception. Life must ALWAYS be given the benefit of any doubt and considering the existence of a soul, there is not even a reason to doubt.

So this leads us to postulate axiom #2,

#2. Unless one can conclusively prove through Scripture that a living, human body at any stage of development does not have a soul, then it must always be considered that it does.

Apart from sure proof otherwise, this is all that needs to be said. Human life should always be given the benefit of the doubt so it must be taken for granted that every living human body, at any stage of development, contains a soul.

Ah, but we know the brethren, and this will be hard to swallow for some of them. They have their verses they rely on to indicate otherwise and they are not going to let sound reasoning stand in their way (Isa 1:18). Therefore, we will consider their verses as a Bible Believer and see what they actually say.

What About Adam?

As mentioned above, there is a group of Bible Believers who claim that a human body does not become truly human or gain a soul until it takes its first breath of air. They have a few verses they appeal to and act as if these verses prove their claims, so let's consider them.

Almost always the first verse mentioned is the creation of Adam in 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.

They state that it was not until after God breathed into Adam's lifeless body that he became alive with a living soul, and that is true. God formed Adam's body from the elements of the earth and then with His breath animated this lifeless dust into a living man. This was the beginning of the human race, but what does this have to do with a baby being born? Consider these contrasts,

Clearly, there are distinct differences between the creation of Adam and the birth of a child. Actually, there is very little in common. The key difference is the child is ALIVE before it is born and breathes under its own God given strength which was nine months in development. Adam was lifeless; he had no power to breathe, so God breathed for and into him. This an important distinction.

The perfect physical body of Adam was incapable of initiating life on its own. It had no innate "spark" to cause life. If a modern day doctor could have examined the body he would likely not be able to find any reason why it was not alive. As another said, "The spirit or breath is therefore the principle of physical (biological) life as well as the immaterial ground of consciousness and personal identity." Not until God "formed the spirit of man within him" (Zec 12:1) was any kind of life possible.

This raises a very relevant question for our Life at Breath brethren. Where in the Scriptures do you find any kind of "human life" apart from a human soul or spirit? Where in the Bible is an example of this human physical life without a soul or spirit you insist an unborn child is limited to? The creation of Adam shows there is no physical life until it is animated by the human spirit given by God, and once animated the soul is present. Since the body of an unborn infant clearly has life, what kind of spirit brought it about?

Job gives us some very pertinent information in this regard. In Job 3 he says,

Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? (Job 3:11)

Notice how Job asks why "died I not" at birth; why did he not "give up the ghost" WHEN he was born. Before one can die they must be alive, and before one can "give up" the spirit or "ghost" he must have it to start with! "When [he] came out of the belly" speaks of the moment of birth when he "popped out." He wished he would have died as he was coming out. This would have happened before he could draw his first breath.

As most who have ever attended a live birth can testify, it can be anywhere from a few seconds to several seconds before a baby takes its first breath of air after it is born. Sometimes the shock of the change in temperature will get them started and other times its when the doctor or nurse suctions their nose. It was the latter for my two kids.

Since the unborn Job was alive and had the "ghost" or spirit, there is every reason to believe he had a soul (Job 10:18). Look at the next verses,

13, For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,
14, With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;
15, Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

Why would a dead fetus, which according the the Life at Breath crowd never had a human soul, be sleeping with human "kings," and "princes"? Would it not be as insignificant as a dog, rat, or rubbish? Job attributes fully human dignity to his pre-born self.

If the Life at Breath proponants want Bible Believers to take their doctrine seriously, they need to demonstrate from the Bible that life without a human spirit to initiate and sustain it is even possible. We contend they can't do it. Every human life can be traced back to Adam and the spirit given to him. James said very clearly,

For as the body without the spirit is dead... (Jam 2:26)

...and this makes a "tough row to hoe" for the Life at Breathers

God is Still Creating?

To claim that the soul is not given until birth requires that a new soul be created by God for every person born. This contrasts with Gen 2:2-3 where God is said to rest from his creating activities.

In relation to this, look at the formation of Eve in Gen 2:22-23. Here the Lord uses a part of Adam to make Eve. No where does it say the Lord breathed into her as he did Adam to make her a living soul. Instead Adam proclaims,

"...she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man."

Or in other words she derives her life from the "Man" which derived his life from God. This is further indicated in Gen 5:2 where God calls them BOTH Adam. The same can be said about Seth when he was born (Gen 5:3) because he was made after Adam's "likeness" and "image." This "image" represents the whole makeup of man, both body and soul. If one tries to force it to refer only to the physical body then that makes a mess out of Gen 1:26-27 where "image" and "likeness" is also used in reference to Adam being in the image of God. Is man only the image of God physically? Not at all, man was created with three parts, like God has three parts, as we mentioned above. 

The Bible has established a pattern of "image" inheritance from Adam and there is absolutely no Scriptural reason for anyone deviate from it. To claim that a person doesn't get his soul until birth has the Lord individually creating over 375,000 souls a day (in 2019) and more every year! Furthermore, what about the animals? They have the breath of life as well (Gen 6:17)!

Does God Create Dead Souls?

If God creates a new, individual soul that is not inherited from or connected to Adam for each human being when it is born, then a thorny issue develops: where does this new soul get its sin nature? David said,

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (Psa 51:5)

Well...if David got a brand new soul when he was born, where did the iniquity come from unless God created the soul with it! As another said,

[The Life at Breath proponent] allows for only the physical or corporeal connection between Adam and his offspring, and has to explain how human souls, immediately created by God, with no soulish connection to their parents, become evil.  Whereas Traducianism [belief that souls are derived from one's parents] has a ready answer for why the individual is guilty in Adam and is thus corrupt." Source.

And another said,

"Since throughout Scripture God is the source of good and not of moral rebellion against Himself, it seems unthinkable that He, the Holy One, should specifically create each human soul with a bent toward disbelieving and disobeying him."

Scripture links sinfulness not to the fleshy, physical body but to one's inner heart or soul. Jer 17:9 says it is the "heart" or inner man that is deceitful (see also Gen 6:5). In itself our body is just a house or tabernacle with no nature for sin or righteousness of its own.

One needs to remember, here, that "flesh" in the Bible and especially in the New Testament does not refer only to one's fleshy body, but primarily refers to one's old, fallen nature he got from Adam. This is the heart of the "likeness" and "image" of Adam after the fall. Paul shows the distinction in Romans 7:5

For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Paul is speaking to believers still in fleshy bodies but are no longer "in the flesh" or in Adam. We are now in Christ.

The Bible speaks of the natural man being "in Adam" and all die in him (1Co 15:22), but if man only has a physical connection to Adam and is not connected to him in a soulish or spiritual manner, how does a man share in Adam's spiritual death and fallen nature? Does God create brand new, spiritually dead souls? These questions are little addressed by the Life at Breath supporters.

A Few More "Proof" Passages

A couple passages in Job are also quoted to allegedly support the Life at Breath claims,

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4)

All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; (Job 27:3)

The first verse is often used to show that since a grown man is speaking, Elihu, God gives the breath of life at birth. This is a distortion of the text, however, because there is no reference to anyone being born.

The obvious reference is to the creation of Adam. Elihu, as all the rest of us are sharing the "breath of life" God breathed into Adam. There is an unbroken chain of life from Adam to every person reading this page and that chain was started by God's initial breath. Not only do we share Adam's life, we share his blood (Act 17:26), and death (1Co 15:22). So each one of us can make the same statement as Elihu.

What Job himself said in Job 27:3 is along the same lines; we all live by the spirit of God that breathed life into Adam's body, and since everything reproduces or procreates after its own kind, that life is passed on to all descendants. Job can then call this breath "my breath."

These three verses by no means prove that life begins at birth. In fact, I'm surprised that anyone would try to use them as such, especially a Bible Believer.

Another passage of last resort some use is Eze 37:5-14 where the dry bones are brought to life. This is a desperate grab for a "proof text" for the simple reason these bones are dead; dead as a door-nail. As dead as Adam was before he was given life. There are no babes in the passage; no one is born. Basically all it says in regards to our topic is the spirit of God can bring the dead to life, which is obvious to all.

When Men Strive...

Another key passage the life at birth proponents invariably bring up is Exo 21:22-25, 

22, If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
23, And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,
24, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Their reasoning here is (from the Christian Left Blog),

"In Exodus 21:22 it states that if a man causes a woman to have a miscarriage, he shall be fined; however, if the woman dies then he will be put to death. It should be apparent from this that the aborted fetus is not considered a living human being since the resulting punishment for the abortion is nothing more than a fine; it is not classified by the bible as a capital offense." (source)

Do these "Leftists" not believe anyone will check the passage their self to see if this is what it says?

The scenario is straightforward. At least two men get in a fight and somehow a pregnant woman gets in the middle of it. Maybe she was trying to protect her husband, who knows, but she gets bumped around enough to cause her "fruit" to depart prematurely. If no "mischief" follows then there is just a fine for hurting the woman and causing her to prematurely have the child. If there is "mischief," then life is given for life.

The keyword here is "mischief" and who it applies to. The Life at Breathers want to claim that it only applies to the harm or death of the woman, but the text doesn't make that restriction. It can refer to an harm to anyone involved, including the "fruit"!

Consider these scenarios,

All of these scenarios can fit the passage, and even many of the old commentators understood this. John Gill said,

"...but it may refer both to the woman and her offspring, and not only to the death of them, but to any hurt or damage to either of them: now though there was none of any sort:"

Matthew Poole said likewise,

"...neither to the woman nor child; for it is generally so as to reach both, in case the abortive had life in it."

Some Life at Breathers like to insinuate that believing an unborn child is fully human is a fairly recent idea, but Gill, Poole, Benson, and others show otherwise. Instead of helping the "Breathers" claims, Exodus 21 hinders them.

Believe it or not, this is pretty much the extent of the "proofs" that are supposed to show that life is not imparted until first breath. The remainder of the Life at Breath proponents efforts are to try and disprove or at least weaken the verses that indicate human life before birth/breath.

"Yes, but..."

One of the passages the Life at Breath proponents must deal with is the account of John the Baptist before he was born. In Luke 1:41 and 44 John was called a "babe" months before he was born. In other places a "babe" refers to an already born young child (Exo 2:6; Luk 2:12, 16). The Greek word "brefos" (G1025) is also translated as "infants" (Luk 18:15), "young children" (Act 7:19), "child" (2Ti 3:15), and "babes" (1Pe 2:2). Furthermore, the babe in the womb leaped "for joy" while his mother was in the presence of Mary while she was carrying Jesus.

Can an unborn babe in its sixth month express joy? That's what the text says, yet some try to go to "the Greek" and claim that the joy is Elizabeth's instead of John's, but look at the order of events,

The babe responded first.

In this regard science is even on the side of the Scripture concerning an unborn child's consciousness. As a Pediatric doctor stated, 

"[An] assumption that an unborn fetus is not conscious of its surroundings is in fact unsupported by science. Research has shown that unborn infants have response to light, music, and voice. In fact, unborn infants are even able to differentiate between "known" voices (i.e. the parents) and unknown ones." (source)

With such clear proof that the Bible makes no distinction between a pre-born "babe" and a child months or years old the Life at Breathers have a dilemma. They usually answer by claiming John the Baptist is a special case and an exception to the rule since he was “filled with the Holy Ghost...from his mother’s womb” (Luk 1:15), but this excuse all melts away according to what Job said in Job 3:16,

...Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light. (Job 3:16)

Here the infant is clearly unborn and will never be born alive, and yet it is still an "infant"! Thus an infant in the Bible can refer to born, living children as in 1 Samuel 15:3, Isaiah 65:20, Hosea 13:16, and Luke 18:15 or unborn miscarried or aborted babes not developed enough to even see. (And for those of you with "originalitis" the Hebrew word for "infant." "olale" (H5768) is also translated as "children," "babes," "little ones," "child," etc.)

Some may try to claim Job saying "I had not been" means he was stating he would have never existed at this stage of development, but this is nonsense. The context is being born alive and later suffer as he currently was suffering. Earlier he said he wished he would have died when he was born (Job 3:11-13). Here he wishes he would have died earlier while in the womb and then miscarried. That is, he is saying, "...I had not been [born alive]...."

That John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit from birth and no man greater than him has ever lived (Mat 11:11), has nothing to do with his humanity. John was a fallen human being just like the rest of us and was conceived and born just like the rest of us. The fact he had a special ministry after he was born and grown is irrelevant.

Another argument sometimes used is that the Bible only speaks of people in the womb who were already born; infants who went on to breath and grow (John the Baptist, Jeremiah, Jesus, etc). First, that was not the case for the "infants" in Job 3:16 who died before birth! Yes, Job wished he was one of those, but it wasn't. Second, the argument is meaningless. Whether or not an infant lives to breathe air in the future has absolutely no bearing on the state it is in at the time!

Levi Wreaks Havoc

Consider Heb 7:10 with the Life at Breathers contentions in mind. How can they make much sense of it when it says,

For [Levi] was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

If the building blocks or substance for all the components that make up the person of Levi were not present in Abraham, how is this verse true? If just the substance for his physical body components were present, and the building blocks for his soul, were not, the essence of Levi's future existence was not actually in his father's loins.

Some may wonder here, "What about the female ancestors in Levi's ancestry? Since we know mothers also contribute to the formation of a child, how could Levi be said to be in Abraham without any consideration for his "mothers"? Good question. The Bible indicates a "patriarchal" view towards human reproduction and family relations. Genesis 3:16 also speaks of this with, "and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." This declaration is actually part of the curse. So in view of this patriarchal setup, the Bible usually only considers the man in these "seed" or family relationships. Men "begat" children; woman "bear" them.

(We could claim without any scriptural proof that maybe only the male carries the components for the soul, but that is pure speculation.)

Of course, Levi as a complete person was never in the loins of Abraham for the obvious reason that he did not yet exist as a person. That is obvious. He was only in him in a "seminal" manner. The text is speaking of Levi being in Abraham as a "seed" or descendant, but if Levi's soul was created when he was born, no part of his essence or soul substance was ever there.

The obvious question the Life at Breathers must answer is, "Just how was Levi in Abraham's loins if no part of the 'real him' was present?"

Breath By Proxy

Breathing is defined as, "to draw air into and expel it from the lungs," but the purpose of breathing is, "to take in oxygen and give out carbon dioxide through natural processes." Strictly speaking breathing in itself does not have any benefit. If one was breathing mustard gas it would actually be very harmful. It is what is breathed that is of benefit—oxygen. The body needs a constant supply of oxygen to live. Interrupt the supply for around 8-10 seconds and you will pass out; in five minutes you have brain damage; a few more minutes and you are dead.

For any human being to live, at any stage of life, they must have oxygen. While in the womb an infant cannot breathe itself. First because it has no lungs yet, and later because it does not have access to the air. Nevertheless, the child receives oxygen from its mother who does breathe. Thus the mother is breathing for the child by a proxy the Lord established at the creation of Adam and Eve. He determined that the woman would bear children and supply all the physical needs of the infant while it was growing in her womb. She eats for the child, drinks for the child, and breathes for the child. As a medical page states,

The mother's placenta helps the baby "breathe" while it is growing in the womb. Oxygen and carbon dioxide flow through the blood in the placenta. Most of it goes to the heart and flows through the baby's body. source

So even though the child cannot breathe itself, it is breathing in a very real sense through its mother. It is getting all the benefits of oxygen from the air, just not through its own lungs.

An interesting spiritual parallel is how believers in Jesus Christ have all the benefits of Christ's life as their own by being "in Him." We cannot live a sinless, righteous life ourselves, but we have access to His sinless and righteousness life! We have all these blessings because we are "in Him;" much like an infant has many of his mother's benefits because it is "in her"! As any Bible reader knows, the material world often shadows the spiritual.

How Does It All Happen?

The mechanics of how the soul is joined to the body is another an area where the Bible is ambiguous. Your author has never read any real explanation of the process from the Life at Breathers of how breathing material air (nitrogen, oxygen, etc)  somehow transmits to the body an immaterial soul or imparts life. I suspect they will just say, "God does it when they breathe," without any other explanation. Nevertheless, this would have to be an overt act of God for each individual that is born because the life and soul are quite real. He could not just reckon or impute a soul. So is God sitting up in heaven watching for someone to take their first breath so he can somehow create a dead, fallen soul within them at that instant? I doubt it. What is much more plausible is God set up a process with the creation of Adam that produces both body and soul in all his descendants. Just like the physical body is derived from the parent's physical bodies, the soul is derived from the parent's souls in some manner. This would work for animals as well; everything after its kind.

There are really only two options as to how a soul could originate: God creates each soul individually either at conception or birth (the "Creationist" view), or the soul is derived from the parent's souls at conception (called "Traducianism" or "Generationism"). Both views have their pluses and minuses. As we mentioned, the biggest problem for the Creationism view is how does this newly created soul, not in any way connected to Adam, take part in Adam's original sin and sin nature? Does God create each new soul dead in sin? This is a big problem for them. That is one of the primary reasons your author holds to the Traducianist view. It has an unbroken chain to Adam and his fall.

Since the Creationist view can have God creating the soul at conception or birth (or anywhere in between), it is not critical to this study except in that a Life at Breath proponent must also be a Soul Creationist. There is not really a conceivable way he could say the soul comes from the parents unless he tries to claim there is some kind of "magic" in the air that when it hits the lungs it causes dormant soul components to form into a living soul. (We know this stuff sounds silly, but that is what one gets into sometimes with some of the brethren.)

To Sum It All Up

As we stated at the start, the Bible does not definitively state when the soul and the body are joined. As we have seen, it does indicate that unborn infants are human and have human life, but it does not state precisely when or how this life is started. Therefore, we are left to surmise what we can from what the Bible does say, and try to determine what the most scriptural and sensible approach to this doctrine should be.

In your author's view, the teaching that life does not began until one's first breath is heavily flawed and a largely contrived doctrine. At first glance it may seem plausible, but with just a little study it begins to unravel into a mess on the floor. From our perspective it is so scripturally deficient that we are surprised that some Bible Believer's even hold to it. Most likely few have really studied the matter.

This leads us back to the two axioms we stated previously,

  1. Human physical life and existence begins at conception or fertilization
  2. Unless one can prove through Scripture that a living human body at any stage of development does not have a soul, then it must always be considered that it does.

We believe these statements remain valid. The Life at Breath proponents have not produced any sound scriptural arguments to refute them. If they want their claims to be taken seriously they need to scripturally deal with some of the glaring problems with them we mentioned above.