This stunning Michelangelo, “The Creation of Adam” is on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Who hasn’t seen this image? It has been a source of wonder for art enthusiasts everywhere, but also at times a mockery of the relationship between God and man (we’ve all seen God handing Adam his first beer, or a similar rendition). Although I have personally chuckled a time or two at these comical versions, there is so much to say about the original. Here is one gander at my own personal interpretation, and how it applies to love.
The first thing I’d like to mention, is how much love I have for this image. To me it portrays the thirsting of God for His children, even from the beginning. The way that the Father is extending himself, straining to reach out for Adam, is the same way He is reaching out to you. Right. Now. I like to think that the Father’s eyes in this image are protective, determined, and focused on someone that He loves with all His heart. The Father had no need for Adam, and really, God has no need for us. But He still reaches because Love is who He is. I’ve heard before that if God ceased to think of you for an instant, you would cease to exist. He is always thinking of you at every moment with the same intensity as in this image.
Adam on the other hand makes me laugh, because he is so like us. He seems to be looking at God (or on the person behind him, it’s hard to tell). However, his body language shows that he is looking, but in a relaxed, lazy manner. He won’t extend himself past his comfort level and seems to be in no eagerness to reach God. Although, there seems to be a curiosity in his eyes which makes him reach, and that is enough. The Lord will always be reaching out to us. He only awaits the tiniest extension of our hands to Him.
The last character in this scene seems to be hidden. There are some who say that the woman tucked in the crook of the Father’s arm is Eve. She is beautiful. I’d like to note that she is right where she needs to be, held in the most loving embrace of the Father. However, she seems to be looking out to Adam in fear? Or like Adam, in curiosity? By the way, my readers can interpret this image how the Holy Spirit moves in them, they don’t have to agree with what I take from it. But in my mind, it is almost like the two newly created humans are awaiting each other, like they know that there is good and beauty in the other. Eve seems content to be in the Father’s arms for the present moment, which is just how she should be before meeting the one that God will give her.
Ladies, “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Be satisfied in Him. The Father is holding you and has good things in store for you. Do you struggle with letting yourself rest in the Father’s arms? We all do. To help with that rest action, I recommend saying the “Be Satisfied with Me” prayer by St. Anthony of Padua. It’s life altering.
Men, Adam had to go through a period of being alone, so that He could say, “At last, this is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23)! Reach with all your might toward the Lord as He is reaching out to you, and understands you. God is giving life to Adam in this picture, after all.
Men and women: you are not alone. Don’t be afraid. We are both reached for and held by God. Rest in Him and you will find Peace for your soul. Keep your eyes on Him, and He will show you incredible things!