Yeah, can you believe someone actually made a movie about dirt? I started watching it the other day, but didn’t have time to finish it. The filmmakers and the interviewees shared some very interesting insights about the ground beneath our feet.
Did you catch the one guy in the trailer who said, “We are dirt”? As a matter of fact, fertile top soil contains pretty much all the building blocks of human life–carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, water, and various other elements and minerals. When any living organism dies, it is broken back down into these fundamental elements to become…dirt.
[This is where I’ll throw in this week’s eco-tip: Composting! Is simple, it’s green, and it will help replenish parched dirt or fertilize your own gardens. For some helpful ways to get started, check out these websites: howtocompost.org; composting101.com; compostguide.com]
When God made humans, Genesis 2:7 says that He formed man out of the dust of the earth. When a person is dead, they are molecularly the same as when they were alive. Yet, the moment their heart stops beating, their bodies begin the decomposition process, which turns them back into dirt. It’s really the breath that makes all the difference.
God formed the first man from the dust of the earth, and then He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Breath. It’s a simple, unconscious action that we take for granted. We can live without water for a few days and without food for a few weeks. Yet we can only live a few minutes without breath. That breath you just took is the most essential thing we take into our bodies.
Okay….duh? So what’s the point?
In nearly every ancient language, be it Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, etc., the word for breath is the same word for spirit. English has two different words – spirit and breath. Yet to ancient peoples, spirit and breath were the same. When a person died, their spirit and their breath had departed from them. We think of it as a double meaning, yet to them, it was the same. It is the spirit that sustains life. Our physical bodies cannot survive apart from our spirits.
So what is it that separates us from dirt? Our spirits. The breath we just took is a taste of the divine, it is a gift from God. It is a physical manifestation of our spiritual reality. Apart from God’s Spirit, we have no true life in our bodies. The same held true in the valley of dry bones found in Ezekiel 37. And again, the same language is used in Acts 2 when the Spirit of God fills the room like a violent wind.
Breath is essential for our bodies to survive. But it is just as essential that our lives be filled with the breath of God. If not, then “all we are is dust in the wind.”