Ashes to Ashes

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground.” ¬†Genesis 2:7a NASB

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I’ve been known to say, often, that these are amazing times in which we live. The technological advances made since my childhood are astronomical.

We’ve come a long way since Asteroids and Pong, baby.

Such a long way, in fact, that I’ve officially entered the embarrassing stage of having to ask my 4 year old how to use my phone. This begs the question: what was so bad about Asteroids, anyway? It provided instantaneous mind numbing. No need to invest hours figuring out the function of 19 buttons on a control. One button? I’m good.

Alas, time and tide wait for no man, and progress marches on. Man has conquered the moon and set his sights on Mars. The lives of babies are being saved in earlier stages of development and access to the world is at our fingertips. Amazing.

It’s no wonder we’re impressed with man’s creative abilities. And why shouldn’t we be? There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with improving the lot of civilization, is there?

Just earlier this evening, I found myself captivated by man’s seemingly endless capacity to generate new ideas. All that changed when my thoughts were suddenly interrupted by my oldest daughter who, bursting into the room asked, “where’s the toilet paper? The upstairs bathroom has no toilet paper.” I directed her to the linen closet. Bounding back through the living room and up the stairs, she announced, “I took the last roll!”

Great. I need to buy TP. Again.

And within the time span of approximately 10.2 seconds, my thoughts went from the marvelous creativity of man to being largely unimpressed. So, what changed within the span of 10.2 seconds?

The benchmark.

In the time it took my daughter to go from the living room to the linen closet and back, the standard of comparison shifted from men to God. Consequently, I was left with simply no comparison at all.

Because, while man can create moon rockets, he cannot create moons. While he can save lives, he cannot save souls. While he can put information at our fingertips, he cannot hope to put a unique design on the tip of each one.

It’s not for a lack of trying. Many a man will spend his entire life striving to create something of great achievement only to realize that victory is fleeting and without mercy. Even at the height of his greatest success, there is one who follows closely at his heels with something better still.

Even at their very best, neither will create a moon. Neither will create something from nothing.

There was a time not long ago when man had only leaves and the great outdoors. Someone came along and built a little building for protection from the elements. Soon thereafter, outhouses became a quaint symbol of yesteryear as man enjoyed the benefits of indoor plumbing.

Impressive.

Until a child interrupts man’s delusions of grandeur with the realization that, even given the advent of cottony softness to the nth degree, we haven’t come as far as we’d like to think. While man can rightly bask in the accolades of his fellow man for eliminating (ahem) the need to use leaves, he has not eliminated the need to use something.

I still have to buy toilet paper. Again.

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