If the pneuma is generative, the sarx is barren. When Paul uses sarx, it is translated as flesh, but not in reference to the material body. Instead, it is a psychological aspect of the embodied soul that is opposed to the spiritual. Put more pointedly, the sarx is opposed to the things of God.
The central Hebrew word in the book of Ecclesiastes is hevel, which translates to “vapor, smoke, or enigma.” This word is often translated to “meaningless” or “vanity.” The preacher in Ecclesiastes 1:2 is saying something close to, “All things are like smoke: you cannot grasp them.” I thought of hevel as I considered the word Paul uses to describe a person whose only understanding of reality is a sarx-dominated one: psuchikos, which translates to soul-ish. Another great translation would be breath-like. Real, but impossible to grasp in your hands. Such is the embodied soul that is grounded solely in the sarx. It unites itself to the things of the world, thing which pass away. It is opposed to the intangible things of the spirit. It is enthroned on the ash, and it passes away like smoke. In Ecclesiastes 1:4, the preacher says that human “progress” is hevel: A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. King David also presses into our transience in Psalm 39: O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. It seems there is no way to escape this fleshly impermanence as a human soul tethered to the earth. The hope offered in Christ includes transformation through the pneuma, which changes this embodied soul from a body of death into a body of glory. It is a mystery, this process of glorification of the immortal soul. In Romans 4:17, Paul says that God gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. That this body which returns to the ash will one day stand before God in glory is a profound, rich mystery that is filled at once with a tension of hope and painful longing. In this tension I find myself praying for the confidence of Job: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand on the earth at the last day: And though worms destroy this body, yet in this flesh shall I see God.