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Categorized | Religion

Ashes to Ashes…dust to dust.

Well guess what…Every living thing in this planet turns into dust. If your doggie dies it turns to dust. So does your neighbor’s cat, the fish in the aquarium, oysters, elephants, a newt, a gecko – and even a petunia.

Yet you won’t see any word in the Bible that says they too are made from the “dust from the ground”.

Turning to dust is just a natural process.

Decomposition is a process where an object is separated into its simplest constituent parts. Since living things are made up of organic molecules like water, iron, a lot of carbon, calcium…etc. – these molecules will someday return to Earth.

Made from clay.
The Torah never said that God created man from “dust”. It says that man was created from wet clay.

וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָֽאָדָם עָפָר מִן־הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים

וַֽיְהִי הָֽאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּֽה׃(v’yyitzer YHWH ‘Elohim ‘et ha’adam ‘aphar min ha’adamah ) – Genesis 2:7

The word “dust” was translated by the Greek writers (which is very uninspired by the way) from the Hebrew word “aphar”, which means “clay, earth, mud, ashes, ground, morter, powder, rubbish. .” So let see…since the word aphar has a lot of meaning, which word is right?

Don’t ask me…Let’s ask Job.
Job 10:9 – “Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?”

How about Isaiah?
“Woe to those who hide deep from the LORD their counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, ‘Who sees us? Who knows us?’ You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay; that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me;’ or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding'”? (Isaiah 29:15-16)

Still not convinced? Let us ask Paul.
“Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” (Romans 9:20-21)

Now…do other religions other than Judaism and Christianity teach that man is formed from clay?

From the middle Paleolithic culture, there are evidences of clay use. Clay was a crucial raw material for the manufacture of utensils for daily use. It is also use to create container for storage. Man has been using clay to create his pots and pans. He uses it to create bricks for his home. He even uses clay to create an image and likeness of himself and call them gods. So it is not a surprise that the use of clay has been incorporated to his mythology. In the creation story of the A-Hsi (a small tribe of the Yi people in China) for example, it is said that man came from yellow clay. T’oh-lo and Sha-lo first took the clay and used it to create man’s body. Then, using the black coal and the white mud they formed man’s eyes. The woman was then fashioned from the mans’ rib (sounds familiar?).

One of the clearest Babylonian descriptions of a deity creating man out of clay is preserved in the Gilgamesh Epic 4: . . . “the Goddess Aruru nipped off clay, cast it upon the ground, the hero Enkidu she built.” In ancient Mesopotamian myths, man is made from clay. The term “adama” (after which the name Adam was coined) means “red clay”. According to the myth, The Mother Goddess: Mix to a core the clay from the Basement of Earth just above the Abzu -and shape it into the form of a core.

The Fon of Dahomey (people living in the south of Benin (called Dahomey until 1975) and adjacent parts of Togo) believe that after he created and ordered the universe, Mawu formed the first human beings from clay and water. But clay was in short supply in those days, and so when men died, Mawu took their bodies to make new men.

Native origin stories in America, and elsewhere, frequently feature clay and mud in the creation of the world and of people, and of course in the invention of ceramics. In the Blackfeet of Montana, the Old Man created the first woman and her child from clay ( Blackfoot Lodge Tales pp.137-138).

Just wondering…Does the myth of humans come from clay only reflects the idea that ancient civilization used it to build potteries and their brick houses.

DISCLAIMER: The opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the position of the Filipino Freethinkers.