Historical Events  Art
Creation of Adam

MMDE: God's hand above Adams

Current: God's hand below Adams

Which is the upper hand?

Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam" forms part of his world famous Sistine Chapel masterpiece. Some people remember the hand of God being higher than Adam's, and claim Michelangelo would not have painted such a detail any differently. Seen today, however, it shows Gods hand below that of Adam's.

This isn't the only famous religious artwork which is the subject of an MMDE - many statues show the Horns of Moses where most people don't remember them. And of course, having the hand of the creator directly involved in one has all kinds of mind blowing implications...

The first man

The artwork depicts the creation of the first man, Adam, and was painted by Michelangelo in 1512.

In those days, art was a massive feature in the entertainment world. There was little else to stimulate and inspire people, so they would study and scrutinise every detail for meaning, hidden or otherwise. Religion completely dominated every aspect of their lives, so it is natural that when art and religion were combined, such as in The Creation of Adam, details such as the position of God's hand in relation to Adams held great significance and would have been discussed at length. Absolutely nothing which remotely hinted at disrespect for the religion would go unnoticed, which is why showing anything - even man - as being superior to God in any way just would not happen.

From michaelangelo.org:

Genesis tells how the Lord created Adam from the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. This story is never illustrated literally in Renaissance art. Usually, as in Jacopo della Quercia's beautiful relief on the facade of the church of San Petronio in Bologna, which must have impressed the young Michelangelo deeply, the Creator stands on earth and blesses the already formed body of Adam, read together with the ground, since his name in Hebrew means earth. Michelangelo's completely new image seems to symbolize a still further idea - the instillation of divine power in humanity, which took place at the Incarnation.

Few people realise the idea of God creating Adam appears in many non-Christian religions too. In particular, Islam has it that God created him from handfuls of dirt he scooped up from the ground, which explains why some races are of different colors.