Dust in the Wind; Nothing Lasts Forever but the Earth and Sky?
by Greg West
One of my all-time favorite rock groups is Kansas, known for their multi-platinum albums of the 70’s, and for their hit songs such as Carry on Wayward Son; Point of Know Return; and acoustic fan favorite, Dust in the Wind. One of the things that I’ve always liked about Kansas is that they not only mix rock and roll with a heavy dose of classical music influence, which created a distinctly unique sound, but I also like the fact that the typical themes that most rock bands of the same era sang and wrote about were always strangely missing from the music of Kansas. To me, Kansas’ music always focused more on the spiritual aspects and questions of life, of which the song, Dust in the Wind, is a prime example.
On a side note, a couple of years after the release of this song, more than one member of Kansas, including Kerry Livgren (the song’s composer), became devout Christians, and several of their subsequent releases contained songs that reflected a Christian worldview. But that is an entirely different story and outside the scope of this article.
The lyrics of Dust in the Wind seem to paint a bleak and pessimistic picture of life:
Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind
Now, don’t hang on
Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won’t another minute buy
The lyrics also seem to echo one of the recurring themes found in the Bible: the brevity of life. 1 Chronicles 29:15 says that ‘Our days on earth are like a shadow; without hope.’ In several passages from the book of Job, the writer laments that his days, “are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…but a breath… pass more swiftly than a runner, or a fast boat… are like an eagle swooping down on his prey.” Doesn’t sound very optimistic does it?
The apostle James, in the epistle that bears his name, writes that our lives are like a vapor that is here a little while and then is gone.
In Psalm 90:3-6, Moses prays, “You turn people back to dust, saying, ‘Return to dust, you mortals!’ For you, a thousand years are as a passing day, as brief as a few night hours. You sweep people away like dreams that disappear. They are like grass that springs up in the morning. In the morning it blooms and flourishes, but by evening it is dry and withered.”
And in Psalm 103, David wrote that, “[The Lord] knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here.
The lyrics of Dust in the Wind seem to be in accordance with the scriptures, that is until it comes to the line, “Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky’”. This line seems to echo the late Carl Sagan who once said that the cosmos is all that ever was and all that will ever be. Contrary to that, the scriptures state that although “The grass withers and the flowers fade, the word of our God stands forever.” (Isaiah 40:8)
Modern science tells us that the universe is running out of energy; that it is dying. One day, although far beyond our lifetimes, our sun, along with every other star in the universe will eventually burn out, and the universe will no longer be able to support life. What this means is, that no matter what humanity does to try and pull itself together and create a better world for ourselves and our descendants, that it really won’t matter in the long run anyway. Dust in the Wind…
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