Creation of Humanity

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

Genesis 1:26-30 (NIV)

One of the most famous ceilings in the world can be found in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was commissioned by Pope Julius II to paint the vaulted ceiling of the chapel. One of the panels depicts the creation of Adam and has that exact name today. Below is a picture of that panel as it appeared in National Geographic.

1. What do you see first in this image? Why do you think this stands out to you?

2. How do you interpret the relationship between God and humanity as depicted here?

3. Why might Michelangelo have chosen to place a space between God’s finger and Adam’s finger? Do you agree with that choice? Why or why not?

4. Was there anything missing in the painting which would be important based on your reading of today’s passage?

Jesus Knocking

A famous picture painted by Warner Sallman is entitled, Christ at Heart’s Door. Sallman completed this painting in 1942. Many churches and some homes can be found with this painting hanging within them. There is much symbolism found within the painting. Take a moment to study the image here. Then respond to the following questions:

  1. What do you notice missing? Why may it not be there?
  2. What shape can be found created with the light and architecture?
  3. Why are there blooms on some of the stems and some have no blooms?
  4. What is noticeable about Jesus’s hand? Does that communicate anything to you? 
  5. Why might Sallman have chosen to include the plants which he did?
  6. What change would you make to the painting in view of Jesus’s heritage?
  7. The imagery in this picture is to communicate a message. How would you articulate the message?

Forgiven

Today, I have decided to introduce a different type of devotion.  I want to walk you through a process to hear a message that the Lord intends for you today.  Below is a copy of a painting drawn by artist Thomas Blackshear.  He entitled this piece of art, “Forgiven.”  You may have encountered this painting previously.  Today, I want you to spend some time with it and reflect upon it.

Start by looking at the image for five minutes.  Observe what details stand out to you.  You may wish to take time to write some of these details down.  

What do you notice about the man who Jesus is holding?

What does the hammer and spike communicate to you?

Is there anything about the man’s jeans which stands out?

What about the flowers in each of the bottom corners of the painting?

Notice anything about the ground on which they are standing?

Why is Jesus holding the man in this way?

What contrasts exist between Jesus and the man?

Is there anything missing from the painting which you would add?  What and why?

How does Blackshear use light and what does that communicate to you?

What is the overall message you receive from this painting today?

What do you wish to say to the Lord at this time?