“Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and the man became a living being.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
The story of creation has attracted its fair share of attention over the years…probably more than that actually. Most of the focus is on how to understand what the “days” mean and whether we should understand them literally, figuratively, or in some other way. There’s certainly a time and a place for those discussions, and they aren’t without significance importance, but I don’t want to go there in this post. Instead, for just a minute, let’s set aside the technicalities and look at the beauty of what was happening here.
There are actually two creation stories. Did you know that? It’s the same story, but we get to see it from two different angles. The more well-known angle is contained in Genesis 1. That’s the big picture version. We get big and important themes there. We learn some important ideas about God and about people. The shape of that narrative is a true wonder of literary skill. It blends poetry and prose into an almost seamless web that has left interpreters arguing about which part is where for centuries.
The second angle comes in Genesis 2. This part of the story zooms in close and gives us more of an on-the-ground look at what God was doing. In particular here, we get a much more intimate look at just how it was that God created people. In Genesis 1 we are simply told that God spoke humankind into existence like everything else. He made us in His image, yes, but the mechanism of our creation isn’t all that different from everything else.
Here, though, as we see it from up close, the creation of people is entirely more…earthy than that. Moses writes, “Then the Lord God formed the man out of the dust from the ground…” Have you ever formed anything out of dust? We have a dirt pit in our front yard where no grass will grow. Because we don’t have a sandbox for our boys to play in, they play in the dirt pit. It’s awesome. Right in the front yard.
In any event, the other day they were all three out there in the dirt and one of them shouted, “Hey guys! Let’s make a mud castle!” Three buckets of water, one castle-shaped bucket of mud, and three incredibly dirty boys later, we had a mud castle. They formed it with their bare…okay, well, their mud-caked hands. We’ve got to get a sandbox…
The only way to make something out of dust is to get it wet. That turns the dust into moldable mud. Mud is…well…muddy. It’s dirty. It sticks to you. By the time you are finished with whatever it is you’re making, you’re going to be covered in it. It’s a deeply hands-on process.
When God made us, He didn’t just sit back in His lounge chair, say, “People!” and move on. He got right down in the ground He had spoken into existence and did something remarkable with it. He formed. He sculpted. He crafted what was His greatest creation of all: Human beings.
Then He did one more thing: He got right down in our lifeless faces and breathed. He breathed out His Spirit into our mud-clogged nostrils and life began to spread through our carefully formed bodies. We became, as Moses writes, living beings. Living beings who bore His image, His Spirit, His communicable characteristics, in a way nothing else in all of creation did. He’s been crafting us with the same unique care and precision ever since.
You aren’t an accident. You aren’t a twist of genetics. You aren’t the end of some long, random process of evolution. You are a unique being crafted with incredible intentionality at the hands of a master craftsman who created you in His image and for a purpose. When you’re having one of those days where you’re feeling worthless, lean back into this mind-blowing truth and rest easy. Nothing created with such skilled intentionality is worthless. Nothing. That includes you.