19th January 2018
Adam lazily stretches out his limp left hand towards what appears to be God – Michelangelo featured God as an elderly bearded man floating., as if in motion, amid a cluster of angels. God is extending his right hand towards Adam in an attempt to discharge the spark of divine wisdom. In the original work of Michelangelo – their fingers were depicted few millimetres apart, set against a neutral background that suggests an electrically charged field. The “Creation of Adam” fresco is probably the first in the history of art, where God has been painted as an elderly. bearded man in a horizontal position.
The major impression generated by this picture is the comparison between divine dynamic energy – illustrated in the illusionistic movement of the Creator who appears to radiate action – and human lassitude, represented by Adam’s aura of slothfulness. The contrast is encapsulated in the nearly-touching fingers of the two hands, as the spark of divinity is transferred to Adam.
God’s index finger is fully stretched and tense with energy; Adam’s fingers so limp that they cannot even be fully extended. No image better sums up the physical and conceptual chasm between God and Man!
The finger is like the conduit through which God’s intelligence, his ideas and his morality seep into Man. And if you look at the original fresco closely, you see that God isn’t actually looking at Adam, he’s looking at his own finger, as if to channel his own instructions and thoughts through that finger.
Now look at their hands. God, on the right, cannot reach out any more, as his index finger is fully extended. Adam’s hand is a little limp and his index finger could be extended more. Actually, from this image, all Adam has to do (literally and figuratively) is to lift a finger, and he will make the connection with his creator.
Now going back to the full picture again. God is reaching out with all his might, and Adam just has to lift a finger.
Perhaps suggestive that God wants us to come to Him. Being God, of course he should be able to reach out and embrace his creation, but that’s doesn’t seem to be the point. He wants Adam to want Him – at least want Him enough to lift a finger! Like that proverbial. saying, “you can only lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” And, maybe God’s so-called chosen people are not the people God chose, but rather, the people who choose God, consciously and out of desire to establish that connection with the Divine Presence.
Well, in a spiritual context, we get reminded by many of the world’s religions that it is up to us to make the conscious choice toward the divine. Or, in a more existential sense, if we want something, we have to be willing to move toward it and not expect it to fall in our lap. And because., divinity is right there, fully available and eager to connect, maybe our dreams and goals are also right there waiting for us to reach out toward them.
So is Adam just lazy? Maybe so, or maybe he’s afraid, but he is curious and if he does lift that finger he will make the connection.
This painting is just a tool to convey that concept. The image is a reminder to lift that finger, to reach out to the divine. A tool to stop looking for a key to unlock the door to the higher self. The door is unlocked; it’s wide open, in fact. There is a hand of the other side of the threshold wanting so much to pull us in, but it’s not going to grab us against our will. This simple act of will – the will to connect – can bring us the unfathomable human potential and treasures buried in our hearts.
Go ahead., now. Lift that finger!