Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Creation of Adam

April 27th, 2016 by Vader

I have been regarding Michelangelo’s great work.

This image came up on social media recently, and I have to confess that I’ve not closely studied this iconic work of art heretofore. So my first reaction was to think that the fetching lass on God’s arm had been Photoshopped in, as a joke. (The social media post was from a venue not particularly well-disposed to religion.)

I was startled to look up a trustworthy reproduction of the fresco and discover that she really is part of it.

There’s an awful lot to this fresco, as one would expect from the work of a Renaissance genius. Adam and God mirror each other, reminding us that Man was created in God’s image. God’s Pavilion is painted in the shape of a human brain, as God the personification of Reason. Unless it’s a uterus, complete with freshly-cut umbilical cord. (You can pick up all kinds of interesting ideas on infogalactic.)

There are two competing interpretations of the fetching lass. One is that she is Eve. But, if so, she is coming into the story prematurely, and she’s emerging from the wrong chest.

The other is that she represents Sophia, the personification of Wisdom, and the allegorical spouse of God.

I’m going to speculate that Michelangelo meant us to think of both Eve and Sophia. The figure mainly represents Sophia, but we are to see a parallel with Eve. Sophia is God’s spouse. Eve will be Adam’s spouse. Both were apparently formed from a rib taken from the side of her husband. Sophia as God’s Spouse would be an aid to the Divine. Eve is spoken of as a help (ezer) meet for Adam. The word ezer is usually used to describe the strength of God exercised on Man’s behalf. In other words, Eve is a divine aid to Adam.

I rather like the thought that Eve as Adam-spouse is a parallel with Sophia as God-spouse.

Comments (3)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: , ,
April 27th, 2016 11:44:43

Pecos Bill
April 27, 2016

I reckon you purty much nailed it. Mizz God has that “Dear, are you sure this is a good idea?” look.

April 27, 2016

Most interesting post I read all week. I’ve never spent much time on that painting either, so after I read your first line I spent some time perusing the painting. Practically my first coherent thought was “Hot dang, God has a wife!”

Also, what Pecos Bill said.

April 29, 2016

I am marveling at how Michelangelo was able to depict Sophia as quite beautiful without being sensual.

And now I’m finding myself focusing on the angel directly above God’s left shoulder. The one with the male-pattern baldness and fierce expression. I do believe he’s depicted as consciously imitating God’s pose and expression.

If nothing else, Michelangelo had a puckish sense of humor.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.