Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling
Leonardo da Vinci’s The Creation of Adam is as an iconic symbol of intimacy between God and His creation. Beginning with the first breath of human life and continuing throughout biblical history, God reveals his love and desire for a meaningful relationship with His children. In the Old Testament, we read of personal encounters between the Lord and his chosen people, whether it be wrestling with Jacob, speaking to Moses from a burning bush, or telling Samuel that David is a man after His own heart. Yet, these biblical stories provided only glimpses into the personal and loving nature of God. The fullness of the Father’s affection is manifested in the life and mission of His Son. Until sin was atoned through the death of Jesus, we could only approach the King of the Universe through human mediators and animal offerings. On the Cross, however, Christ became our final sacrifice (Hebrews 9:26). At the Empty Tomb, the Son gained victory over death so that we could enjoy an everlasting relationship with the Father (Romans 6:23). Now, having ascended to the Heavenly Realm, Jesus intercedes on our behalf so that we might persevere in staying connected to Abba, Daddy (Romans 8:34). If this is true, if the work of Christ on earth and in heaven confirms the Father’s love for us, then why do we sometimes struggle to draw near to Him?
Da Vinci had a rough start on life. Born out of wedlock to a peasant woman named Caterina, Leonardo spent the first five years of his childhood with his biological mom. He then came under the care of his father, Piero, who was a wealthy, but distant man. Driven to find a legitimate heir to his estate, Piero married a sixteen-year-old maiden who was the first to show genuine love toward little Leonardo. Unfortunately, she died while he was still young. So Piero continued his quest for a legal successor to his fortune through multiple marriages. Meanwhile, Leonardo pressed through the heartache of rejection and made the most of a common education—developing into a renowned philosopher, artist, and inventor. Yet, for all he suffered and overcame, da Vinci never lost sight of the importance of personal relationships. History records that he was a friend to common folk, king, and pope. He even settled his father’s estate for the benefit of his half-brothers. How is this possible? How does anyone who has experienced intense emotional pain rise above the ashes and risk being hurt all over again? Perhaps Da Vinci revealed the answer in his masterpiece. We can’t do it, but God can. Our Creator extends His strong and loving arm towards us and touches our lifeless hearts of stone. Over time, fear, distrust, and bitterness are chiseled away to reveal our hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). Throughout this transformation process, we learn to love Him, because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Like Leonardo, we all need to persevere, and then put it into practice with others! It’s personal!