Creation by breath
Left: The goddess Isis (left) imparting the breath of life into two clay-formed human figures, made by the god Khnum (right), with brings them to life (animates them). The Khnum cult dates back to the pre-dynastic period (3,100BC) and is also associated with the cosmic egg from which all living creatures stem, which played a dominant role in the Brahmaic faiths. [3]Right: A depiction of the creation of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut), at the Temple of Deir el Bahari (1475 BC), who after being formed from clay by Khnum, is brought to life by having the goddess Heket impart the breath of life into her nostrils, using the ankh (key of life).
In creation theories, creation by breath or “breath of life” theory argues that humans are given life when a god moves the ankh (or key of life) close to the nose and mouth of the un-animated clay-formed body (dead), which thus acts to impart the “breath of life”, spirit, or ka into the body, made of ba-infused (soul-based) clay, after which the body becomes animated.

The original model for the creation by breath theory seems from the 3100 BC Heliopolis creation myth, according to which out of the self-engendered “Nun” arose the primeval land mound out of which “Atum”, in the form of fire, the first god, came forth, who created the first to offspring, Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture), by the power of breath and spit, respectively.

This model was expanded upon in the next millennium to explain the creation of humans out of clay, imbibed with the breath of life, as shown adjacent (1475BC), in the Ab-ra-ham-ic faiths, or creation of humans from the cosmic egg (c. 2000BC), in the B-ra-ham-ic faiths.

Ab-ra-ham-ic / B-ra-hma-ic religions
The original Egyptian creation by breath theory was rewritten in Christianity (Ab-ra-ham-ic theology), in the second chapter of Genesis as follows, in the original Hebrew version (500 BC):

“And Yahweh, Elohim (Shining One), fashioned the Adam of the clay of the soil; and He blew in his nostril the breath of life, and the Adam turned into a living soul.”
— Anon (500BC), Genesis 2:7 (ΡΊ)

This key passage was latter re-written in the famous King James version of the Bible (1611) as follows, where Yahweh, a volcano god, and Elohim, a shining god, were linguistically morphed, via syncretism, into one perceptual term "Lord God": [1]

“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.”

In modern terms, this has been re-written in the New American Standard Bible (1995) as follows:

“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.”

Similar versions can be found in the and the Koran (Ab-ra-ham-ic theology), wherein the creation by breath theory was re-written to the effect that the god Allah created man from clay by shaping clay into human form and breathing a spirit into him: [2]

“I am going to create a human being out of clay. When I have formed him and breathed My Spirit into him, fall down in prostration to him! Then inquire of them: Is it they who are stronger in structure or other things We have created? We created them from sticky clay.”

The details of the creations of humans and in particular "life", according to the Rig Vida (B-ra-hma-ic theology), is not as straight forward, but nevertheless have the same origin in the birth of Ra, born out the land mound (clay or Nile soot). Hence, this outline substantiates the view that for over 72 percent of the world, the notion of "life" and "death", which is a defunct theory in the context of modern physical science, is a hold-over from the creation by breath theory of the Egyptians.

Other depictions
A few other original Egyptian depictions of the ankh acting to impart the breath of life into the dead are shown below:

Thoth resurrects Osiris

Isis (breath of life)
Akhenaton (breath of life)
Left: Thoth (right) resurrects Osiris (left), using the ankh (key of life) to impart the breath of life into his dead body.
Center: Isis is receiving the breath of life from Ra and transferring it to Horus via her breast. Standing before her, ankh or Key of Life in hand, is Amon-Ra the Egyptian ‘Lord of Eternal Light’. Standing behind her is Thoth. Right: Akhenaton and his bride Nefertiti receive the Key of Life from the Aton disk.

1. Author. (1611). Bible (Genesis 2:7). King James.
2. Author. (630AD). Qur'an (38:71-72; 37:11; 23:12-15). Publisher.
3. Bunson, Margaret. (2009). Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt (pg. 202). Infobase Publishing.

TDics icon ns