Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Curse

I thought it would be good to add some illustrations to my Fall PowerPoint. Specifically the curse/promise.

The snake bit is easy:
‘Cursed are you above all livestock
    and all wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
    and you will eat dust
    all the days of your life. 
And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.’



Adam is easy:
‘Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life. 
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field. 
By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.’

Eve, on the other hand...
‘I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
    with painful labour you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
    and he will rule over you.’
No-one even seems to agree about what this means (never mind it being tricky to illustrate for kids.)

That's a moiré

Alt text: ♫ When the spacing is tight / And the difference is slight / That's a moiré ♫
from xkcd

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Two commissions


Just noticed something. Is it just me, or are there very obvious parallells between these two passages?

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
 
     So God created man in His own image;
     He created him in the image of God;
     He created them male and female.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you...

Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

  • Just after creation/new creation.*
  • God/Jesus has authority.
  • He sends people out as his representatives.
  • They are to fill the earth with God's people (by having children/by making disciples).
  • They are to bring God's rule on the earth (rule animals/teach people).
  • He will provide what they need to do it.


*By which I don't mean the final new creation, but the resurrection and the fact that 'if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation'

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Literal? Symbolic?

an analogy or type used in Scripture can be both literally and symbolically true
~R.L.Copple
This is what I've been thinking lately. Some of the speakers I've been listening to recently - good guys who are extremely helpful - seem to too easily dismiss the literalness of some bits of the Bible that have obviously very important symbolic meaning. Sometimes I'm sure they're right. And there is an opposite error of not seeing the wood for the trees. But sometimes it's OK to see both.

P.S. This quote is from a very interesting article and discussion about creationism here, which I'll need to read more fully, but I'm not specifically quoting it in reference to that topic - just in general.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Adam & Eve's ethnicity in picture books

Out of all the pictures I looked at in my previous post, only two seemed to show Adam & Eve as non-white - one looked a bit middle-eastern, but only one (Jane Ray's beautiful book) gave any indication that these were meant to be the ancestors of the entire human race.


This is astounding! I can understand this in secular books, where they are just telling a traditional story and haven't really thought about it - although Jane Ray herself is non-religious.

But Christian publishers and illustrators should certainly be thinking a bit more.

I'm aware that people have different views of the literalness of this account. But even if you look on it merely as a Hebrew folk-tale, it's a Hebrew folk-take about the ancestors of the human race, and ancient Hebrews were obviously well aware of different ethnicities!

If we say everyone is made in the image of God, but then show the ancestors of the human race with genes that could only produce white people, what are we actually telling kids?

How people draw Adam & Eve


The tricky thing (or one of them) about drawing Adam & Eve, is that you have to draw two completely naked people in a way that you (and your customers) feel is appropriate for children.

So I did some research. I looked at every children's Bible story book that I could find in my church - and a couple I have at home - and took photos of the Adam & Eve pictures.


It was interesting to see the different solutions. Some more successful than others. My definition of successful is if it looks natural - it just 'so happens' that you can't see anything you're not supposed to. You want to give the impression that they 'were naked and felt no shame', while catering for the fact that it's not like that now.

Of course, different people have different ideas on what is appropriate. A couple of the ones below actually show Eve topless, which I don't have a problem with myself, but would not want when teaching other people's children :-)

My comments below are based entirely on the success or otherwise of the censoring, not whether I personally like the pictures.

Plants

 


By far the most common solution. Understandable - they're in a garden. Rarely looks natural, though.

Either they seem to be skulking waist/chest deep in bushes, or individual plants just 'happen' to be in the right place - but nowhere else. E.g. pic 9: it would look natural, except that there are no other similar clumps of plants around.

Sometimes it would make sense to cover up more than you need to, so it looks more accidental. Pic 10 is the most convincing.

Could be a good solution in extreme moderation - instead of being the default.

But actually often the same result could be achieved by...

Cropping


Many of the above pictures (e.g. 8) could simply have had the figures a little closer up and cut off at the waist.

Here are some good examples:


It's perfectly normal to draw clothed people from the waist up, just head & shoulders, etc. It looks very natural. So I'm not sure why more people don't jump at this easy solution when drawing Adam & Eve.

Careful Posing



This is another good solution. Usually looks quite natural. Trickier to achieve, of course. Some really creative ones here - like pic 4 and 8.

It also depends what you're happy showing, and the more realistic, the less appropriate people might think it was.

Animals



I think this is much more successful than the plants, because animals are mobile. Also, they can interact with them.

Long hair



Giving Eve long hair can be successful. As long as she has a style of hair that would naturally come forward like that. These ones all look pretty good, though I've seen much less convincing ones.

Back view



If you're happy with bare bottoms, an easy solution that is surprisingly little used. Also good for Eve.

Although if you only had one picture of Adam & Eve in the book, it would want to be a front view.

 

Water



Does the job, and creates a paradise feel. But I wouldn't use it unless (like pic 1) I had lots of other pictures of Eve. Otherwise seems a bit too much like she's hiding.

Holding things



Really good solution - hardly any examples except animals. I wonder why.

Top view



Very clever, but only works because the book has lots of other 'God's eye' views of clothed people too.

Eve has the body of a toddler, with nothing to hide.



Just no.


Some other interesting observations

 

I looked at pictures by 13 artists.

Of these, only three showed Adam with a beard, and only one gave him long hair (one was slightly long). A few did have Eve with short-ish hair.

Only one showed Adam & Eve doing work of any kind.

Out of all the pictures, only two seemed to show Adam & Eve as non-white - but that will be another post!