After creating the earth, dividing the light from the darkness and the water from the land, and populating the earth with living things, God created people in His own image. We look like Him, but whereas He is eternal, we are fragile—subject to disease, injury, and death. Underscoring the temporary nature of our current existence, the writer of Genesis tells us, “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). And before Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, God said, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19).
This recognition that our bodies are mortal can keep us humble. It can motivate us to make the best use of the limited time that we have. And, as the prophet Jacob pointed out, it can also remind us how much we have in common with each other.
“All flesh is of the dust,” Jacob said to his people, when they were beginning to be divided into social classes. He was worried that they were losing sight of the equality of God’s children in His eyes. “One being is as precious in his sight as another” (Jacob 2:21).
King Benjamin taught the same principle about 400 years later, using the same imagery. “I am like as yourselves,” he said to his people, “subject to all manner of infirmities of body and mind” (Mosiah 2:11). Then he said:
Ye were created of the dust of the earth…. And I, even I, whom ye call your king, am no better than ye yourselves are; for I am also of the dust.
Today, I will remember that “all flesh is of the dust.” I will resist the temptation to think of some people as more important than others. I will remember that God loves all of His children and that we are all precious in His sight.