Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust: Behind the Saying

dust blowing in the wind

The phrase ashes to ashes, dust to dust has its origins in the Bible and conveys the notion that humans are made of dust and return to dust after passing away. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust is a phrase that is still used in entirety or alluded to in popular culture today.

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust

The origin of ashes to ashes, dust to dust was first mentioned in the Bible in the book of Genesis. Over time, this phrase has been used in poetry, literature, and speeches to convey that humans are made of the earth and will return to the earth after passing away.

What Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Means

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust means that your body is made of elements of the earth and will return to earth's basic elements after passing away. In other words, you are made of dust and return to ashes and dust after passing away.

What Bible Verse Says Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust?

The Bible makes several references to dust to dust and ashes to ashes. Some include:

  • In the book of Genesis 3:19 the reference to ashes and dust reads, "By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
  • From Genesis 2:7, "Then the Lord God formed a man[a] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being."
  • From Genesis 18:31, "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes..."
  • From Ecclesiastes 3:20, "All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return."
Ash Wednesday religion concept

What Is the Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Prayer?

The ashes to ashes, dust to dust prayer is known as a committal. These are often read graveside at a funeral. There are three committal prayer options, two of which mention ashes and dust. Examples of ashes to ashes dust to dust prayers excerpts:

  • "...we therefore commit his/her body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for that blessed hope when the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first."
  • "...we therefore commit his or her body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God in our Savior Jesus Christ who shall change the body of our humiliation and fashion it anew in the likeness of His own body of glory according to the working of His mighty power wherewith He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself."

Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust Poem

There are many poems with ashes to ashes, dust to dust incorporated in them. Some include:

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust Funeral

You may hear a poem, speech, or prayer with ashes to ashes, dust to dust alluded to or spoken verbatim at a funeral service. It may be recited as a reminder that life is precious, yet fleeting, and everyone, no matter what, is made up of the earth and will return to the earth after passing away.

Dust to Dust

Dust to dust is mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3:20, "All are from the dust, and to dust all return." In the Bible, this passage emphasizes that humans and animals are no different and that everyone is made up of the earth and will return to the earth.

Dust to Dust Ashes to Ashes

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes is another reference to ashes to ashes dust to dust. While the more common wording is ashes to ashes, dust to dust, you may also hear dust to dust ashes to ashes referred to in speeches, poetry, and in music.

What Does It Say in the Bible About Cremation?

The bible remains neutral regarding cremation. It is not noted to be a sin to cremate a deceased individual. The only allusion to cremation occurs in 1 Samuel 31, when Saul and his two sons are burned, with their remains buried under a tree.

mortician on funeral with urn

What Is the Difference Between Ashes and Dust?

According to Your Dictionary:

  • Ashes are defined as, "the unburned particles and white or grayish powder remaining after a thing has been burned" and "the part of the body left after cremation."
  • Dust is defined as, "...fine bits of dirt or other matter that hangs in the air and settles on surfaces."

Where You'll Find Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust

Alluding to ashes to ashes, dust to dust can be found in:

Ashes to Ashes Meaning

Ashes to ashes is typically used in reference to someone passing away. It means that humans are of the earth and will return to the earth after death.

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Ashes to Ashes Dust to Dust: Behind the Saying