And indeed, We created man from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.[15:26]
Verily, the likeness of 'Iesa (Jesus) before Allah is the likeness of Adam. He created him from dust, then (He) said to him: "Be!" - and he was.[3:59]
First define the terms:
Mud: soft, sticky matter resulting from the mixing of "earth" and water.
Clay: a stiff, sticky fine-grained "earth" that can be moulded when wet, and is dried and baked to make bricks, pottery, and ceramics.
Dust: fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of "earth" or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air.
The difference is evident i.e. dust is scattered whereas mud and clay is in a solid state (appearance wise). The 3 (clay) is dried to give the solid design. Do note though clay is much harder than mud. If we were just mud, for argument sake, then we would indeed by very "bendy".
So to arrange a human from dust means to gather those particles and make them stick. Here is the sticking component is water. If you notice the word highlighted in above definitions is "earth".
The exact composition and chemistry employed though only Allah knows and I have only but little knowledge of it.
Here I have only explained to you the difference that three are not contradictory terms. They all have common element earth, and water is added to make them stick.
I can explain to you in this diagram in a more detail so you get the detail. Do note that for us this may seem a complicated procedure (to form a life from dust) but for Allah it is "be and it is!":
If you notice the design improves after each step in the above diagram (from scattered to some shape and then from there to a proper design). After last arrow the design is completed. This is too simple because my understanding of knowledge of Allah is very weak.
Check out the things that can be designed from clay for your enlightenment:
In my humble opinion what Allah may be trying to tell us is that only Allah can give life (this is most important: life as you can't give life to a pot as in the linked diagram above) and design to the meaningless dust.
Allah forgive us and guide us to the straight path. Any errors are on my part.
Note: you may want to ask geologist explaining what the terms above mean in more detail if you wish to study it further.