11. Moses is more nearly right when he says that God formed man out of the dust of the Earth. * Science proves to us, in fact (see chap. X) that the human body is composed of the elements gathered up in inorganic forms of matter, otherwise called the dust or mud of the Earth..
The formation of a woman from one of Adam’s ribs is an allegory, apparently puerile if we consider only its letter, but profound in its significance. It undertakes to demonstrate that woman is of the same nature as man, consequently his equal before God, and not a creature designed to be his slave and treated with disrespect. Being taken out of his side, the image of equality is very much more startling than though she had been formed separately from the same dust. This is to say to man that she is his peer and not his servant, and that he must love and revere her as part of himself.
* The Hebrew word haadam, “man”, which gives us Adam, and the Hebrew word haadama, “earth”, are from the same root.