Humans are made of dust (earth or clay) (Gen 2:7) (Gen 3:19) (Ecc 3:20). It seems clear that the Godhead wanted a container which would hold the spirit, (breath of life) soul (Gen 2:7) and image of God (Gen 1:26). Humans also were, “…made a little lower than the angels; and crowned with glory and honor…” (Heb 2:7). God then “…made His light to shine in our hearts…” (2 Cor 4:6). But to keep us humble, He put all these treasures in jars of clay (v7).
Most types of dust are considered a nuisance to be vacuumed up or washed away. During the Dust Bowl in the Western States of the U. S. A., it was a choking plague. My mother’s generation had to turn their plates over until just before eating. It is amazing that God does not consider His “dust” a nuisance because of all their rebellion and apathy. Instead He loves us (Jo 3:16) and has shown great patience towards us (2 Pe 3:9).
Jars of clay can be fragile, break and return to dust, even though they once were useful vessels. Even though most were of little value and plain looking, at times their owners would hide treasures in them. Very similar are humans who are frail and destined to return to dust (Ecc 3:20) yet have a soul that will last forever (Mt 10: 28) (Rev 21:3-4) (Rev 22:3-5). One day we will graduate from dust to an imperishable body (1 Cor 15:42-44).
It was a special gift from God that He gave us “jars of clay” so we could move about and enjoy His wonderful creation. He could have created mankind as fixed-location beings who would never run, swim or climb. However, even the most sturdy jars are sure to crumble in time. Those who are wise will use these present “jars” to the glory of God (1 Cor 6:20).