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“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return".

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In the beginning of the _Bible_, Genesis 3:11 to 3:13, God asked Adam “Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?” Adam replied “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” God then asked the woman about this and she replied “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Interestingly, words used in the Ash Wednesday ceremony come from only a few lines later when God then said to the serpent “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” One of the other places in the _Bible_ where ashes are used are to mark destruction as in Malachi 4:3. “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.” Also a ritual of mourning is common as in Jerimiah 6:26. “O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us.” And, of course, there is  Hebrews 9:13’s purification rite, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:”