“As you do not know what is the way of the wind, 

Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, 

So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.” 

Eccl 11:5 (NKJV) 

Rûaḥ (pronounced roo’-akh) is a little-known Hebrew word referring to the breath and spirit of life. Rûaḥ is defined as “a gift preserved by God, God’s spirit, departing at death, disembodied being.”  

The beginning of rûaḥ, of life, is at the heart of the pro-life debate. What exactly is rûaḥ? When does it begin? What power does it hold?  

What Is Life Made Of? 

We read about rûaḥ for the first time in Genesis 1:2 (NKJV), “The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of (rûaḥ) God was hovering over the face of the waters.” 

We see the spirit of life again after the fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 6:3 (NKJV), “And the LORD said, ‘My Spirit (rûaḥ) shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years’.” 

From these two verses, we learn that God has the breath and spirit of life. Another definition of rûaḥ is “Spirit of God, the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son.” Therefore, the spirit of life is the Holy Ghost, the very life and presence of God Himself.  

What is Life Capable of? 

We see the power of God’s Spirit working all through the book of Genesis, and again in Exodus. The Lord gave Moses the same spirit to bring the plague of the locusts upon the Egyptians (Ex. 10:13), to part the Red Sea (Ex. 14:21), and to bring the waves crashing down on the Egyptian army (Ex. 15:8, 10). 

When Does Life Begin? 

In the book of Job, we learn that God preserves and protects our rûaḥ by covering it with skin and flesh, and then holding it altogether with bones and sinews. The spirit already exists. It just needs the right clothing for life on earth.  

“Your hands have made me and fashioned me, 

An intricate unity; 

Yet You would destroy me. 

Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay. 

And will You turn me into dust again? 

Did You not pour me out like milk, 

And curdle me like cheese, 

Clothe me with skin and flesh, 

And knit me together with bones and sinews? 

You have granted me life and favor, 

And Your care has preserved my spirit.” 

Job 10:8-12 (NKJV)

Perhaps the most fascinating and convincing scripture is the story of Ezekiel who witnessed life reverse-engineered outside the womb. Every reference to life, breath, and spirit in the scriptures below refer to the Spirit of God.

“The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: ‘Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD’.

Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

Also He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live’. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it,” says the LORD.’”

Ezek. 37:1, 5-6, 8-9, 14 (NKJV) 

Moving on to Psalm 104:4, we learn that God made the angels spirits (rûaḥ), which means that angels have the same life as the Holy Spirit. We cannot see or hear angels, but we know they existed before life on earth, and they will continue to live through eternity.  

In Psalm 139, King David described the same process as Ezekiel but as it takes place during pregnancy. From these two passages, along with many others like it, we learn that our spirit, the same Spirit of God He gifted to us and the angels, exists long before any flesh or bones.  

Pregnancy is the time during which God knits our body around our spiritual frame as a protective covering for life on earth.  

“For you formed my inward parts; 

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 

Wonderful are your works; 

my soul knows it very well. 

My frame was not hidden from you, 

when I was being made in secret, 

intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; 

in your book were written, every one of them, 

the days that were formed for me, 

when as yet there was none of them.” 

Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV) 

When Does our Personality Begin? 

Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that not only does our spirit exist before conception, but our spirit is just as alive and active as the Spirit of God from which that life comes. God knows us before we are formed in the womb. No scripture describes this “knowing” as a plan or a thought. The knowing is a reality as real as the people we kiss goodnight. He knew us so well that He set us aside with special jobs for after our spirit has an earthly body.  

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV). 

The scriptures tell of other people sanctified and ordained even centuries before birth, including Isaiah, many of the prophets, Isaac, Samson, John the Baptist, King David, Jesus, and Paul.  

One of the most passionate arguments in the pro-life world is over the time at which awareness and personality—that thing that makes us human—when does that begin. The Bible tells us that we are quite aware of our existence and our surroundings during pregnancy.  

To anyone who doubts the teachings of original sin, I’d like to introduce you to twin brothers Jacob and Esau. Not only did their sibling rivalry begin in the womb, but they were born fighting over who would be the first to see the light of day. True to their character at birth, Esau was a wild man and Jacob was a con man.

“Now Isaac pleaded with the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If all is well, why am I like this?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. 

And the Lord said to her: 

‘Two nations are in your womb, 

Two peoples shall be separated from your body; 

One people shall be stronger than the other, 

And the older shall serve the younger.’ 

So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.” 

Genesis 25:21-26 (NKJV) 

It also seems that King David’s personality was established well before birth. He knew he was sinful, yet he knew God’s desire for faithfulness (which means it was possible for pre-infant David to be unfaithful), and that David listened to God’s teachings, all in the womb. Such a busy clump of cells was surely destined for greatness.  

Surely I was sinful at birth, 

sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 

Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; 

you taught me wisdom in that secret place. 

Psalm 51:5-6 (NKJV) 

We also see babies who were friends before birth, such as Jesus and John the Baptist. Mary was early in her pregnancy with Jesus when she visited her aunt, Sarah, who was about to give birth to John the Baptist. Note in this instance, it’s the purely human baby who expresses joy for his Savior. 

“For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” 

Luke 1:44 (NKJV) 

The Greek word translated as joy means “exultation; specially, welcome:—gladness, (exceeding) joy.” Please, someone show me a welcoming, exceedingly glad clump of cells. There is only joy where there is life, and even then, only in mammals with advanced awareness. 

Is a Baby a Clump of Cells? 

Through our study of scriptures from Creation to the Birth of Jesus, we have discovered that the Holy Spirit not only lives in His believers, but He gives us life. We learned that our Spirit existed as a live being with a personality, a will, gifts, and jobs. We read that the same spirit inside of each of us also created the earth and parted the Red Sea. We found that pregnancy is the time during which God makes an earthly jacket for our spirit, and that while He’s at work, our spirit is both learning and causing trouble.   

The goal in this journey through scripture is to illustrate that life begins long before, and even independent of pregnancy. However, I fear I may have inadvertently affirmed the clump of cells argument because scripture says that life is not in the body, but in the spirit, and the body is merely a covering.  

However, if this is true, then abortion strips the spirit naked, revoking God’s rûaḥ, His gift of life, the very Spirit of God Himself. Abortion not only tells God, “Thanks, but no thanks,” but it shreds His very clothing, leaving His Spirit naked and soaking in a pool of blood, just like His Son at the cross.  

Help for Hurting Moms 

To hurting moms:

You are forgiven.

You are loved. 

Just as Jesus knew you and your little one centuries before the appearance of a single skin cell, as He hung on that cross, He knew your little one’s spirit would return to Him in very short time.  

And with one of His last breaths, He pleaded for you, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But the Rûaḥ of God, the spirit of the child you never met, and the Holy Spirit within you lives on.  

If you are hurting today, in Jesus’s name, open your Bible, put your hands together, get on your knees, whatever you need to do to join them, and accept the love and forgiveness He died to give you. 

You are also invited to visit our resources and contact us for prayer.  

For every reader, let’s continue supporting the mission of PreBorn! in saving more babies and souls.