Formed from the dust

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Made from the dust, earth or clay

The Bible describes all of humankind as made from the dust or from earth or clay.

Genesis 2:7 — made by the potter
Numbers 23:10 — "dust" as a collective image of the descendants of Jacob
Job 10:8-9 — fashioned like clay
Psalm 103:13-14 — all of us, God's children
See 1 Corinthians 15:47 and F.F. Bruce: "a man of dust"who was "the first man"?

Birth and death

The images of people being made by God from earth or clay, and the related image of returning to it in death, are common in the Bible.

Examples:

Psalm 103:13-14
Psalm 119:73
Job 10:8-9
Psalm 90:3
Ecclesiastes 12:7
Isaiah 29:15-16

Mother Earth

A further extension of the image of humankind being formed from earth is the personification of "Mother Earth". This is scriptural, but rare.

Job 1:21 — very clear in the literally translated KJV, NRSV etc.
John 3:4 — perhaps an allusion to Job (but it was a common idea – see reference to Sirach 40:1 below.)
Ecclesiastes 5:15 — not explicit, but see REB's free translation at the link
Sirach 40:1 — also very clear in the KJV, and other translations
Bruce (talk)


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