Is there a correlation between the human substance and that of of dirt?

I’m an ordained minister and have read “The Genealogical Adam and Eve” which I found very interesting as well as helpful. I have been researching the topic of origins for a book that I am writing.

Please excuse my non-scientific wording. :slight_smile:

In “The Genealogical Adam and Eve” it talks about how human genetics are much older than a few thousand years. To my understanding the dirt on the earth is a few million years old. I have also read that protein can form in mud and after a substantial amount of time form DNA. (Please correct me if any of these facts are incorrect.)

In keeping with the Genesis creation narrative which states that we were made from the dust of the earth, is it a logical and scientifically sound conclusion that there could be a correlation between the age of human genetics and the age of dirt/mud? If not, is there any Biblically compatible correlation that could be drawn?

Thank you!

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Welcome @bodette. It is great to meet you.

I’m really glad it was helpful to you.

That is correct.

So the dirt on earth is much older than a few million years. Protein and DNA does not easily form in mud all by itself.

So it is worth hearing from an exegete like @deuteroKJ on this.

We are, essentially, made up of the same “stuff” as stardust and of dirt.

So, we are made up of the “stuff” of cosmos and of the earth. Some of argued that “from the dust” means made “mortal.” That might be true, as whether we are talking about mortality or materials, that phrase portrays us as continuous with the created world.

At the same time, we shouldn’t read to much into it:

As for poetic expansions, I’ve often said:

Evolution is how God formed the dust into us.

I don’t think Scripture teaches evolution, but its language is certainly evocative of evolution, at least to me.


Hi - I just wanted to welcome another female to this forum who is interested in learning more about the science and has an imaginative hypothesis!

I’m really the wrong person to answer your questions, but as far as I see things, in the current paradigm, there are no “human genetics” per se. If life shares a common ancestor, it all shares common genetics. So I’m not sure there’s a way to make sense of your question - someone else can correct me. The most recent common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees would not be as old as dirt. :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m just learning but I’ve never heard of a hypothesis of DNA forming in mud. It might be helpful for you to find the source you read for the scientists here to respond to.

Happy learning!


Even if one wanted to find concordance (assuming a literalistic reading of Genesis), nothing suggest humanity began when dirt also began. But I think @swamidass is right here:

That is, “from the dust” is used elsewhere in Scripture to speak of our mortality and frailty. And, Genesis 2 emphasizes the connectedness began God/human, man/woman, human/animal, and human/land. These seem to be some of the big ideas going on in the text. How one handles the text with respect to historical or scientific issues is another matter (one I personally don’t think the text is interested in, but obviously many others do).


It is important to realize that the chromium ions so important to the workings of your red blood cells were created billions of years ago in the collision of neutron stars billion of lights away, long before the Earth and humans were created.


Thank you all for your responses. The article that sparked my original question is posted below:

“The outspoken 75-year-old wrote mud, in the form of clay, may have learned to replicate and eventually the process led to the creation of the famous DNA double helix and life itself. Some Christian fundamentalists – a group often in conflict with Dawkins’ ideas – claim the theory backs the Bible”.


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as far as i know there is also no experiment where all DNA bases can form by a natural process.

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Would it be a sound conclusion to say that God used dirt/mud as a catalyst to form our DNA?

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You should note that in the theory you mentioned, but “mud” is used to form the DNA in the sense that it provides a catalyst. The mud itself doesn’t turn into DNA.

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Yes, correct. The intent of my question was not to imply that mud was used for anything other than a catalyst.

Not really, because that theory is not at all established.

Rather, I’d say something like,

DNA and proteins are made up of the same atoms as dust. Scientist don’t know how the first molecule of DNA and first protein was formed. However it actually happened, whether by natural processes, miracle, or some combination of the two, that would be how the “land gave forth” the first life.

When it comes to Adam, he was formed “from the dust” or “from the mud.” But science cannot tell us if he specifically arose from a preexisting creature of the dust, or as a de novo creation sculpted from inanimate mud. Either way would be how God created him: “from the dust.”

Thank you for your response! That makes sense.
Would it be okay if I quoted you on this?

Sure, but I already see one typo in it. So be sure to send me a draft of the usage for a typo/refinement edit before you publish.

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Will do, thanks so much!

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Sure there is. Plant a bean seed in the ground and the moisture in the dirt (i.e., dust)—which when combined in excess proportions with that dirt is called mud—will trigger a series of natural processes through which the inorganic components of that soil are converted into DNA bases.

The Bible says that humans and all other animals are made from dust. The ancients realized that their food ultimately came from the dust of the ground. Every time we eat a meal we are continuing that process of natural processes forming DNA bases.

It should come as no surprise that at some point in the past the elements of the earth’s crust first combined to force DNA bases. The fact that natural processes were involved (also known as physics and chemistry) in no ways rules out the involvement of a creator. Indeed, everyone should agree that abiogenesis took place for the first time at some point in the past, the living material forming from chemical interactions of atoms which were first formed in a star.


No, we should not agree since this is explicitly against what the Bible teaches (that we came from the dust of Adamah).

Unless you prefer that God supposed humans in the past didn’t need to know how life actually began and for millennia He gave them something that’s figurative language only - the earth forming separately from the heavens (perhaps that’s all humans needed - they were not as curious about actual beginnings). Meanwhile He privileged our generation to have so much more knowledge about reality: He knew we’d listen to scientists in our time could tell us a story how living material somehow formed out of nothing even though they don’t have a clue and keep changing the story (the newest one is the primordial DNA and RNA formed together). I suppose He knew we’d understand that the science story of how the entire solar system forming in less time comparable to a human baby forming in the womb is far more factual than Genesis 1.

I think that is silliness obviously. I’d rather believe the biblical story because I don’t find that one believable.

Aren’t those literally saying the same thing?

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No? Allen is saying we should agree that life is made of atoms that were produced in dying stars. Valerie is saying we shouldn’t agree because that’s not what she understands the Bible to say. I’m pretty sure she thinks the atoms that make up life were created by God directly, not in dying stars.

Nobody says living material formed out of nothing. Well except you, actually.

You’ve confused yourself again. When we don’t know how X, then many different hypotheses are proposed. This is pretty a pretty standard occurrence in developing fields, with biology not being an exception. That doesn’t mean “the story is changing”, it just means another hypothesis has been proposed. Because the previous hypothesis was not taken as a sort of unassailable fact, believed on consensus, and then replaced with a new one, it does not make sense to speak of a new proposal as a “changing story”.

You have to try to wrap your head around this idea that science isn’t a religion, with preachers relaying the word of God to be taken unquestioningly on authority. That’s just you.

I will not be the first person to have stated that when a group of scientists propose a new hypothesis, nobody should take it to be the equivalent of a Bible verse, assumed to be handed down from above and to be instantly believed on consensus until proven false. It’s “just” another hypothesis. There is no “latest story” handed down about how DNA and RNA formed together. It’s another hypothesis that can be added to a growing list of proposals, that’s it.

All these different hypotheses for the origin of life will have to be tested in different ways. Through their ability to explain data, their predictive power and utility, and their corroboration of experiment. This is an ongoing process, and nothing at this stage is known at much certainty. Incidentally there is much disagreement among scientists about the origin of life, and this new pop-sci headline you read about is no exception.


Your statement reveals differences in how different Christians interpret the text of Genesis.

  • YECs seem to believe the text was intended to teach science in addition to theology
  • Christians who accept that the universe is very old believe that the text was not intended to teach science, but was written to teach very important theological points, including that God created everything.

The second interpretation is supported by the clear use of metaphorical language (e.g. formed out of dust). This does not mean that people back then were not curious, it means that the text has a different purpose and a clear focus.