One aspect of reading the Bible is that there are so many ways to understand it. There is poetry, legal text, history and didactic teaching. The imagry and poetry stands out. Perhaps because the images are often so common. It is easy to understand Paul’s point in the first reading. We are of the earth. We are fragile. To be of the earth is the root of the word human. While we can do good, we are also capable of real harm, real violence.
Contrast the natural analogy, earthen vessel, to God. God is not natural. God is supernatural, above the natural world. It is often this contrast that causes people to misunderstand the claims of religion. For as much as humans accomplish, they cannot accomplish eternal life. That is gift. It comes from God. As much has human beings can do tremendous things, God is far greater. When we recognize this, when we allow that God enables the truly great, it is then that we understand faith.