There is a fresco painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, done by Michelangelo in the early 1500s. It is called the Creation of Adam and is one of many frescoes on the ceiling. Being one of the most famous paintings of all time, it has countless interpretations and there are so many perspectives on it. This is what I see personally when I contemplate the painting.
God the Father is seen on the right, surrounded by angels and a red cloak. He’s reaching out to Adam, who’s on earth with a hand lurking beneath him. First of all, look at both faces. The father has a fire in His eyes; a fire of love. He intently gazes at His creation, Adam, with the love and concern of a father. In Genesis, it even says that when God had made man he said it was “very good”, whereas His other creation was “good”. Adam is seen as special in the eyes of God. Now see Adam’s face. He seems distracted, preoccupied and lost. The interest is there, but it almost seems as if he’s looking past God, at something off in the distance. What might he be searching for when God is right in front of him? Sometimes I feel like this, like God somehow isn’t enough for me. Like I have to chase after something else.
Take a look at the surroundings of both figures. There is a huge red cloak around God. This shows that He’s welcoming everyone; that there is room for us all in Heaven. There are angels surrounding the Father, tons of them. All around Him, and all having the same distressed expression of the Father. These angels hold the same concern for Adam; they yearn for him to join them. It’s representing the angels and saints up in Heaven. They see us struggling and they are praying for us to see God and turn to Him. Adam’s surroundings are interesting, too: a rocky, grassy landscape that’s sloped down, but with no other people. That is, except for that hand below him, reaching up and grabbing something. I see that hand as temptation and sin, which comes up and destroys God’s creation (hence the earth falling away below Adam). Adam is alone, on earth at least. Haven’t we all felt like this? Feeling isolated in our life, and sensing sin creeping up? But taking a step back and putting things into perspective, we see that Adam is not alone.
God’s hand and Adam’s are mere inches apart, so close to touching. How relatable is this to life, we know God is there but can’t quite make the connection? The father’s arm is completely outstretched because all He wants is to reach His son. And Adam is halfheartedly giving his arm to God; his hand limp and loose. I do this all the time. I know of God’s infinite love for me, but I’m merely indifferent to it and shrug it off. He is trying so hard to reach me, why can’t I just put in a little effort and accept his hand?
Most of all in this image, I see the story of our lives and the love story between God and his children. It shows the specific part of the story where there is a crossroads. The image seems to be just on the verge of something monumental happening, like the seconds before an incredible event. God with his truth and beauty are there, the devil with his lies and ugliness are there, and we, with our choice and free will, are there.
Here’s the thing: the choice is ours.
Will we say yes to God’s invitation?
Image courtesy of: wikipedia.com