Dust is feared by many, and no one really knows where it comes from or its purpose. It is viewed as a bad thing, but no one except Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel were willing to experiment and research it. The church said that dust was something that came into existence from original sin. As Lord Asriel is telling Lyra what Dust is he tells of Adam and Eve and their sin, saying ‘“And that was how sin came into the world,” he said, sin and shame and death. It came the moment their daemons became fixed”’(326). He is saying that when Adam and Eve committed the first sin, they were no longer innocent, and they matured. This is just like how their daemons become fixed once they mature, and are no longer innocent. Their daemon becomes who they truly are. The more innocence that is lost in children, equals the more negative characteristics that come out in their adulthood.
The General Oblation board was set up by Mrs. Coulter to study dust more closely. She believed that she could rid children of original sin. She received money from the magisterium to run her own experiments with children. Asriel says ‘“Your mother has always been ambitious for power”’(328). Mrs. Coulter knew that people feared dust, and used that to gain power and open up her own site. The General Oblation Board would have never been made if she was so power hungry and ready to find out what dust was all about. Mrs. Coulter thought that cutting the daemons away from the children would possibly take away their sin. Asriel said that she had a feeling that dust and adolescence were related. ‘“the change in one’s daemon and the fact that dust began to settle. Perhaps if the daemon were separated from the body we might never be subject to dust-original sin”’(329). Just like the church, she believed that dust was the physical form of original sin and that simply by removing daemons, she could ultimately remove all original sin and children would grow up free and pure from it. Unfortunately the only thing she was doing was causing the children to die.
Lord Asriel had his own thoughts about dust. He believes that dust comes ‘“from the other universe we can see through the Aurora”’(330). He had realized and was fascinated by dust traveling through the different worlds, and that it had to have originated somewhere other than people in his world. He says ‘“Somewhere out there is the origin of all dust, all death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world”’(331). Asriel is determined to rid the world of dust, and by doing this he also believes that he will rid the world of sin, and all other negative characteristics of the world.