He it is Who created you from clay, then He decreed a term; and there is a term named with Him; still you doubt
M Shakir's Quran Translation Creation from Clay
The Quran says that humans have been created from طين. Imam raghib says that it means the soil mixed in water, even if the effect of water has vanished from it, means even if it is quite dry still it'll be called طين .
Allah created the first human being out of clay and then the human race evolved by reproduction. These are two different phases of creation. When Quran mentions the creation from clay it is mentioning the first phase and when it mentions the creation from sperm then it is referring the reproduction phase. When Quran mentions creation from water it can refer to both sperm and mud. Water is a part of both phases of creation. In fact there are many different phases of creation and Quran has discussed them using various different 'accurate' terminologies. (Discussed in detail under Surah Ale Imran 3:59)
There are many places in which the Quran informs us of the creation from clay especially for the first human being i.e. Hazrat Adam. When your Lord said to the angels; surely I am going to create a mortal from
dust (Surah Saad 38:71)
It is very accurate to mention creation from clay for all human beings because that is the starting point of all. We are in this world because of the 'process' which started from Hazrat Adam and he was created out of clay so in other words we are also created out of clay. From it (clay) We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time
(Surah Taha 20:55).
When the human body is examined today, it may be discovered that many elements present on the earth are also to be found in the body. Living tissues contain 95% carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur, with a total of 26 different elements (Kevin Griffin, "The Elemental Composition of Life). Once again the information revealed in the Qur'an 1,400 years ago confirms what modern science tells us today.
My thoughts: Also, keep in mind that there are various forms of clay, for example, cement is made up of different elements and formed in specific conditions. So also are human beings. If we look at our skin, we certainly don't look like clay, but Allah created us in a different form and shape.