Humanity Lowly Yet Exalted

Humanity Lowly Yet Exalted

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 being. (Genesis 2:7)

On the last day of creation – the sixth day, before God rested from His work as Creator on the seventh day – God created man (Genesis 1:26-31). This passage from Genesis 2 tells us how God created man, making him out of dust, out of dirt.

Humanity Lowly Yet Exalted

The verse plainly says that God formed man of the dust of the ground. When God created man, He made him out of the most basic elements, the dust of the ground. There is nothing “spectacular” in what man is made of, only in the way those basic things are organized. God took simple substances and so brilliantly combined them that truly, we are fearfully and wonderfully made – the human body is marvelous (Psalm 139:14).

When the Bible uses dust in a figurative or symbolic sense, it means something of little worth, associated with lowliness and humility. In the Bible, dust isn’t evil, and it isn’t nothing; but it is next to nothing.

When Abraham spoke of himself as being merely dust and ashes, he emphasized his humility (Genesis 18:27). When Hannah thanked God for lifting her up, she proclaimed that God raises the poor from the dust (1 Samuel 2:8). When God spoke to King Jehu of Israel of his humble beginning, the LORD said that He lifted Jehu out of the dust, making him a ruler (1 Kings 16:2).

God did something wonderful with that lowly dust. He breathed into Adam the breath of life. With this Divine breath, man became a living being, like other forms of animal life. Genesis 1:20-21 describes animals as living creatures and living things, and the same phrasing is used in describing Adam as a living being. Yet only man is a living being made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).

The word used for breath in Hebrew is ruach, a word that imitates the very sound of breath. This same word can also be translated as spirit. God created man by putting His breath, His Spirit, within him. God breathed some of His own breath into mankind, making man after His likeness.

Dear friend, in one sense you are a collection of very normal, not-very-costly chemicals. By some calculations, the value of all the chemicals and compounds in the human body (oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and so forth) is worth less than $600 USD. That’s something, but for many people it is not a fortune.

In a greater sense, you are so valuable that it is difficult to comprehend. You are so valuable that Jesus Christ laid down His life for you as a demonstration of His love.

What makes humanity so valuable? It is the breath of God that gives us life, making us in His image. Today, appreciate both your lowliness and your great value before God – both are true!

Click here for David’s commentary on Genesis 2

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