What makes us think that man already makes his appearance as a separate entity at this earliest part of creation?
Doesn't the Torah describe man as being the very last creature to appear in God's pantheon? The Torah teaches that the purpose of the entire universe is to provide a living-working space for man.
In spiritual matters Hebrew is very precise; Briah signifies the creation of something out of nothing [known in the language of theology as creation ex nihilo].
The separation of Briah is described in Genesis as coming about through the medium of speech: God said, 'Let there be...' ten times in the actualization of the world of Briah.
As far as the rest of the world is concerned the painting in the artist's mind does not yet exist. He sees it in his mind's eye clearly and already relates to it as something separate from himself, a vision that he will pour out his artistic talent and energy to actualize.
God organizes the masterpiece of creation in His own being in preparation of launching the enterprise of actualizing it.
He is the ultimate distillation of humanity and he therefore has the spiritual equivalent of human shape and form.
In the next step of the unfolding creation, the Divine energy separates out of/from God by means of the descent of the first obscuring curtain.
The world on the other side of this curtain is known as the world of Briah -- "creation" in English.
This energy of creation is organized in two packets in Azilut; there is the Divine energy that will be poured into the creation of man, and there is the energy that will shape the remainder of the universe.
There is another essential stepping stone to comprehending the soul in the statement just made.