From the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Vatican City
At different times, people have challenged me about my selection and use of this particular image as a cover for a book about biblical redemption from homosexuality. Why did I use it?
First and foremost, I've used it because I am sure that this is the one image that God inspired me to use.
We who desire to become free from homosexual behaviors are trying to get back to God's original intent-back to the way the Designer himself created human beings to experience their sexuality, from the very beginning. This painting, "The Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo, is a beautiful illustration of that event, and of how mankind was created in the very image of God.
Second, the image may actually persuade a person who is living a life of homosexual behavior to at least pick up the book and examine it out of curiosity-not because Adam is depicted unclothed within the painting, but because this image is already so widely recognized within the openly homosexual "community" itself.
Much like their misappropriation of the biblical rainbow as an identifying symbol of pride, and their distortion of the word "gay" away from its original definition and meaning within the English language, this particular image has also been hijacked by homosexuals, and misused to represent and suggest evils that it was never intended to symbolize. Gay activists have done this for their own evil purposes, and they are calling upon an entire generation of young people to join them in thumbing their noses back at God in arrogant "pride." But God created and designed each one of us to live and remain within the guidelines that He intended for us as we experience our human sexuality: Through heterosexuality within the confines of a biblical marriage between one man and one woman.
The sexualizing of this image today, because of Adam's depicted nudity within it, was certainly not Michelangelo's intent as he painted it upon the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, nor is this my intent while using it for the cover of my book! In our overly sexualized western world, however, this is exactly the kind of conclusion that people often seem to jump to when becoming critical toward my selection and use of it for the cover. But if you can understand that the painting itself is depicting humankind at the very moment of our creation, then perhaps you can also begin to understand why this image was a perfect choice for a cover.
Homosexuality is already an extremely volatile and controversial topic all on its own, with or without my use of Michelangelo's painting. But it shouldn't be! The Bible left no room for such controversy about the topic, and my book will not leave any room for it either.
That being said, I am quite accustomed to dealing with the fact of the human side of the controversy that does exist around this issue, both inside and outside of religious or "church" settings. The people who do insist on criticizing my cover selection can go right on being critical, because I have no intention of changing it. It was never my intent to try and please every critic as I was writing the book to begin with. So it is also not my intent in any associated part of my ministry efforts to reach the lost. My only interest is in obedience to God. Therefore He is the One that I am truly concerned about pleasing. It was God, after all, who has inspired this entire project from start to finish.
The simple intent of the cover-like the rest of my book-is simply this: If I can lift up an image of Christ and present him genuinely to the people reading the book, then He will draw those people to himself, no matter what sin it is that they have struggled with in life.
~ Dean Bailey