Our Destination: Dust, and Beyond

by Gene Shelburne, Contributor



In what was probably his most famous novel, John Steinbeck described us humans as God's "little handiwork of mud."

Obviously -- at least to any of us who are Bible readers -- Steinbeck was referring to the Creation account in Genesis that tells us, "The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground."

Just a dozen verses later in that same passage the Creator told Adam, "Dust you are

and to dust you will return." He was not predicting such an end just for Adam, of course. That is what all of us can expect. When we open caskets or tombs a century or more after they were sealed, that is what we find: dust.

I love the lines in James Weldon Johnson's poem "The Creation" where he says that God

Kneeled down in the dust

Toiling over a lump of clay

Till he shaped it in his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,

And man became a living soul.

Like Abraham, each of us can truthfully acknowledge, "I am nothing but dust." "From everlasting to everlasting, you are God," Moses wrote in his famous 90[th] Psalm. And, he went on to say to the Lord, "You turn men back to dust."

Between our time from birth to death, the human bodies God crafted for us -- the dust particles that God turned into flesh -- are amazing. As our scientific skills keep growing at an increasing pace, medical experts keep finding out more and more about the incredible interactions of invisible genes and microbes and neurons that keep our brains and hearts and livers and lungs functioning efficiently.

Our physical systems are absolutely mind-blowing, far more intricate and complex than anything any human could design or construct. But none of it will last. Sooner than most of us might prefer, all of this awesome anatomy is destined to become dust.

But, thank God, that's not the final line for us. Most of us will sleep in the ground with our ancestors, perhaps for millenia. But on one grand day a trumpet will sound "and the dead in Christ will rise first," the Bible promises us. Just as Jesus rose from the grave to live eternally, so will we.

That's one glorious message of Easter -- the fact that all of us who trust in Jesus will one day rise from our graves. Because he lives, we will live. No longer will we be dust.

Gene Shelburne may be addressed at GeneShel@aol.com. Get his books or magazines at www.christianappeal.com. His column appears weekly.

Lyric Theatre Now Showing