Sunday, February 2, 2020

I Corinthians 2.1-16: The Mind of God...Maybe

Who has known the mind of the Lord? asks Paul. (I Corinthians 2:16) Paul's question follows comments about wisdom - God's wisdom - and human understanding. Paul's phrasing seems to imply that no one has known the mind of God, though, he says, we have the mind of Christ. How could we human creatures possibly know the mind of God, or imagine that we, with our limited human understanding, could possibly think to instruct God. However, it doesn't stop people from wondering about the mind of God.
Michelangelo Buonorroti. Creation of Adam. Fresco. 1508-1512. Vatican: Sistine Chapel.
Michelangelo Buonorroti might be one of those people who was wondering. We're used to seeing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling frescoes. The hands of Adam and God reaching out to one another have inspired movie posters (think E.T.), coffee mugs, t-shirts, and more. But recently the question as been asked if we've been missing a message left by Michelangelo all those centuries ago.

Does the Sistine Chapel ceiling show us the mind of God? Or at least the brain of God?

Here's a brain.
Do you think the flowing pink fabric behind God is designed and placed in such a way that it echoes the shape of the brain? We know that Michelangelo studied anatomy by dissecting corpses when he was as young as 18. Corpses of criminals were allowed to be dissected, and the artist reportedly received cadavers from the hospital at the Monastery of Santo Spirito in Florence, Italy. He also received special permission for additional anatomical study of cadavers. He probably knew what the brain looked like. Is this the artist's way of letting us see the mind of God active in the days of creation? 

We do see the mind of God in creation, as we see the mind of any artist in the works they produce. What does the creation - here, the creation of human beings - tell us about the mind of God? 
If you want to read more about this idea, search the internet for Michelangelo and concealed neuroanatomy.

For thoughts on Isaiah 58:1-12, click here.
For thoughts about salt in general (not specifically the Matthew passage), click here.
For thoughts on Matthew 5:15-16, see Art&Faith Matters on Facebook.

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