"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us" (II Corinthians 4:7).
We are earthen vessels--pots made of clay. Paul's description of our mortal bodies as "earthen vessels" relates to man's creation in Genesis: "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). The very breath of Jehovah Elohim, the Self-existing God-Creator inhaled His own existence into the vessel He had created from the dust of the earth--man, whom God created in His image (Genesis 1:27). Throughout the Bible there are references that substantiate the fact that mankind was formed from dust; the Creator is referred to as the potter and we are the clay. "But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isaiah 64:8).
After Adam's decision to sin, God reminded Adam that he was taken from the ground, he is dust, and that he would return to the dust (Genesis 3:19). It is this aspect of life and death that we have inherited from Adam, and this body is perishable. "The first man is of the earth, earthy . . ." (I Corinthians 15:47). We too are perishable vessels because of Adam's sin.
The physical man is dirt: when he dies his body decays and returns to dust. But there is hope! Our earthen vessels are formed by God and can become "vessels of . . . honor" (II Timothy 2:20). Because the Word poured Himself into an earthen vessel (John 1) and became flesh to die for our sins, we have the promise that "in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:22). When the Holy Spirit dwells in "this earthen vessel," the treasure brings life and power over the grave. PN