The Creation of Adam...
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Posted 2/21/10 , edited 2/22/10

The Creation of Adam is a section of Michelangelo's fresco Sistine Chapel ceiling painted circa 1511.

Michelangelo, of course, is best known for his renditions of men with tiny penises.

On a serious note, he is not very well known among laymen for how immensely precisely and accurately he captured human anatomy in his art. The above image comes from his sculpture of David, the biblical warrior who slew Goliath.

The statue itself towers over 13 feet high, but the phallic falls short of five inches. (A brief fact of anatomy: the average penis is about 6 inches.)

This was not a mistake. Michelangelo's sculpture is meant to represent David as he faced the giant of Philistine.

The shrunken phallic piece is in acknowledgement of an anatomical phenomenon jokingly called, “the scare turtle effect.” It’s an automatic defensive function in which…well, you get it. With that calculated in the statue’s dimensions are all perfectly proportional-from the size of the fingers and phallus to the shape of the eyes and nose.

Michelangelo, you see, was fascinated with anatomy. As a hobby, he used to dissect and study human cadavers with his free time.

In 1990 a physician named Frank Lynn Meshberger noted in the medical publication the Journal of the American Medical Association that the background figures and shapes portrayed behind the figure of God appeared to be an anatomically accurate picture of the human brain, including the frontal lobe, optic chiasm, brain stem, pituitary gland, and the major sulci of the cerebrum. In addition, the green sash follows the path of the vertebral artery perfectly.

So, what was Michelangelo trying to say? When the bible says that god breathed life into Adam, the word it actually used was nephesh. Nephesh, throughout the Tanakh, is typically translated to mean either “spirit,” or “soul.” The New Testament of the bible, however, is written in Greek. The word translated to “soul” is “psyche,” and Catholic encyclopedia’s define the soul as “the source of all thought.”

It is feasible, then, to say that Michelangelo was attempting to elude to God bearing reason down to mankind… Conversely, it is also possible that Michelangelo meant to suggest God was created in the mind of mankind.

What’re your thoughts?

Posted 2/21/10 , edited 2/22/10
I see penises. Artfully produced penises. Such is sometimes the focus of our artistic expression. Adam was created by God not form sexual activity, but from the power of God. So we can see how by Christianity's telling our image was taken from. God is to me one of our creations. It might never be known really how we gained our appearance aside from the fact we descend from apes. We are each beautiful and created to appeal to the eyes of someone in particular. Not all men will be like Adam and not all women will be like Eve.
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Posted 2/22/10 , edited 2/22/10
I wouldn't be surprised, given Michelangelo was at the forefront of "enlightened thought". His attention to the accuracy of anatomical measurements down to the golden ratio was testament to the "perfectness of man", not in the sense of the biblical notion to which it is attributed to; rather, to the very nature of man, which is to seek the "infinite".

The nice thing with these ideas is that it leaves room for ambiguity. It is neither affirming nor denying the existence of God. In fact, it is trying to pique the mind beyond blind acceptance of theory beyond reason. If Michelangelo's intent was to bring about the possibility of God being a creation of the human mind, in itself, he would simply be tickling his fancy to know that such a theory is, in and of itself, still a theory.

So in effect, I believe what Michelangelo is trying to say is, "What's so wrong about thinking of the contrary?" Thinking of the possibility of the non-existence of God is not an act of blasphemy - it's a trait of human thought. I believe Michelangelo is broadening the perspective of the metaphysical realm by creating a proposition of entertaining non-existence of God and not shoving it aside as an attack against he faith. How better to show this new mindset by plastering the very idea on the ceiling of the Church, itself?

On an end note, I'd just like to share the "ambiguity" of the creation of Adam from a theological perspective. It is believed that the position of Adam was intentional - one of a "lazy creature", slouched on one arm and lazily reaching his hand out towards a "rushing" image flying on angels with arm outstretched. It is an irony of theology that poses God's desire to be with man. In short, it's not enough to say that God give's life to man through his touch; rather, God DESIRES to give life to Man through his saving grace. God is wiling, but man is not.
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