Two hundred years from now, on a fine spring afternoon, scientists look up at the heavens and tell God that it is all over — humans can stand on their own.
The scientist says, “Look, God. You were good in your day, but we can do everything ourselves now.”
“Really?” says God. “You can make a human being from dust?”
“Absolutely,” say the scientists.
“Let me see,” answers God.
The scientist reaches down to scoop up some soil, but is interrupted.
“Oh, no” says God. “You get your own dust.”
Human beings have learned a remarkable amount about manipulating the world. But the risk of hubris remains. Too often we treat the world not as a gift but as a birthright. It is easy to imagine we know how to stretch the world to our whims and wishes without consequence.
The Rabbis explain that God told the first inhabitants of the garden — “If you destroy My world, there will be no one to repair it after you.” Our weaponry and our technology are powerful beyond what our ancestors dreamed. We would be wise to remember we are still playing with God’s dust.
Rabbi David Wolpe is spiritual leader of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter: @RabbiWolpe. His latest book is “David: The Divided Heart” (Yale University Press).