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Humans are a composite of normal dust and divine breath.

[/ultimate_heading][us_separator height=”20px” size=”custom”][us_sharing providers=”email,facebook,twitter,gplus”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]In 1931, the Dust Bowl swept across the mid-west. The terror and devastation of these storms were overwhelming. It’s hard to imagine a cloud of dust, as high as your eye can see, approaching at an alarming rate. Then, after experiencing a dust bowl, my guess is that it would’ve been difficult to imagine any good use for such a material. This is where we pick up the narrator’s description of the creation of human beings in these verses.

and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. –Genesis 2:6-7

What does the author of Genesis mean when he posits God created Adam out of dust? There is much debate about that question, but one thing it means is that part of being human is to have a physical body. Dust was representative of matter. The fact that we are dust and have a physical body is a reminder of our mortality. I didn’t fully understand the concept of “from dust you were created and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19) until I held my mom’s cremated body when we spread her ashes in the ocean. She had returned to dust. And one day, we, too, will return to dust – because that’s where we originated from. Dust is the stuff of humanity. Although it was a terrible thing in the mid-west during the 1930’s, dust is a beautiful thing in the hands of God.

However, we’re not only dust. According to Genesis 2, humans are DUST + BREATH. We have God’s breath – God’s life flowing through us. Paul says, “…for ‘In him [God] we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28). Part of what it means to be human is to have our being in God. In fact, every person alive is a ‘spiritual’ being. Humans are a composite of normal dust and divine breath. We are body and soul. We are material and spiritual. To view ourselves as solely one or the other is to deny a large part of what it means to be human.

Today, take some time to appreciate how God made you both dust and breath. Do something physical and something spiritual – go on a walk or a run or simply breathe, then pray, meditate on the Scriptures, or spend time in silence. There is more to you than just a body and there is more to you than just a spirit, you are dust and breath.


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By Ryan Paulson

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