The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 1


VI. Fundamental Distinction Between Man and Beast


We would once more stress the fact that there is no justifiable basis for the frequent assertion that the inbreathing of the “breath of life” into man’s nostrils made the resultant “living soul [nephesh chayah]” immortal. Man is not intrinsically the breath of life. He simply has the breath of life. CFF1 158.1

Adam had life through the “breath of life,” or “spirit of God,” that was inbreathed, infused, or inspired into him at creation (Genesis 2:7). This principle and provision of life came to man from God, the sole origin of life, and at death it goes back to God, who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7). To die is to expire, and to expire is to emit the last breath. CFF1 158.2

Death is therefore the separation of the “breath of life” from the body. Man’s present physical life, as with all the animal creation, is dependent upon the breath. When that is gone, both man and beast die. In that respect man has no pre-eminence over the beast (Ecclesiastes 3:19). And this is irrespective of whether good or evil. Such is God’s universal law. CFF1 158.3


But, in the sight of God there is a vast difference between the nature and character and value of the respective lives of man and beast. Man was expressly made in the “image” of God (Genesis 1:26, 27; Genesis 9:6; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:7; 1 Corinthians 15:49); the beast was not. CFF1 158.4

Furthermore, man’s power of speech, his moral nature, his distinctive capability for religion and worship, and his capability of constant progression and fellowship with God are totally different from that of the brute creation, which ever remains at the same level of intelligence, and does not have fellowship with God. Man is a “son of God” (Luke 3:38); the beast is not. CFF1 158.5

In addition, a fundamental difference was established by God in the relationships and destiny of man and beast. Thus man was given dominion over the lower animal creation (Genesis 1:26); never the reverse. And while both man and beast return to dust, the brute simply ceases to be thereafter, whereas man sleeps under the watchcare of God until the resurrection. According to the Word, man’s “spirit,” or “breath,” goes back to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7; cf. Numbers 27:16; Job 12:10; Job 34:14, 15; Psalm 104:29, 30; Isaiah 42:5; Zechariah 12:1; Hebrews 12:9), and is hid with Christ in God awaiting the glad reunion of spirit, or breath, and body at the final resurrection day. CFF1 159.1


Such are the fundamental distinctions between man and beast. They are as far apart as the poles, and were so designed, created, and kept by God. At death the beast permanently ceases to be, has no awakening, no future life. That is its end. But redeemed and regenerated man will be called forth from his sleep by Christ the Life-giver, to a life that measures with the life of God, and in eternal communion thereafter with God. CFF1 159.2

Let none say, then, that because both have life and breath from God, man has no fundamental pre-eminence over the beast. There is no pre-eminence in this—that both die, or cease to live. They both expire. But there the similarity ends. Upon man alone will be conferred the gift of immortality, to be bestowed at the Second Advent and its concurrent resurrection. Thus man is indeed the crown of creation, made in the “image of God” (Genesis 5:1; Acts 17:29; 1 Corinthians 11:7). CFF1 159.3