Some religious artistic motifs and scenes have been done to death while many have barely been touched. Since text-to-image came online I’ve been cogitating about its possibilities for creating religious artistic imagery at scale for every…single..event in the standard works. However, as I have mentioned before, what we have so far, while great in many ways, is not so great at understanding complex scenarios with multiple people. So far it’s primarily good at contexts that can be described simply. As sort of a pilot study I created a Midjourney Art Edition of Genesis Chapter 1. Here I draw inspiration from both my own vision of The Creation from a modern-day scientific perspective as well the perspective of ancient Hebrew cosmology (e.g. the dome covering the earth with an ocean on top of it), as well as some higher-order symbolism (e.g. Adam and Eve as an interracial couple to better represent the creation of all humankind). I use the King James text for its more poetic prose.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Then God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.” Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the third day.
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
I like these images. Thank you for sharing.
I enjoy the visual narrative. It’s a beautiful journey.
Some could be cover art for the Watchtower magazine.
@KLC: Yeah, I noticed that for the last two especially. MJ has a harder time doing photorealistic images for more fantastical scenes. I could have spent more time trying to get those images less kitschy, but I thought it was good enough at that point.
No offense to any Witnesses (just to the art editor for that particular publication).
This is a very cool set of images. I’m impressed.
Some of them work better than others as illustrations for Genesis 1. A lot of them say “alien planet” to me due to a blue-white sun, a sun that doesn’t make the other stars invisible, or the oversized moon. Maybe the minds of people who read less science fiction than me won’t go there. And I don’t think the dome is doing what you want it to do. I confess I scrolled through the pictures before reading all the text and had no idea what that one was about.
Still, very cool and I’d love to see more.
@ RLD: Yes, the “firmament” of heaven was a little tricky, and that’s a good point about the blue sun. I did notice the close-up moon, but I post-hoc justified that based on the fact that early in earth’s history the moon was indeed quite a bit closer (https://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/space-science/tide-marks-moon-orbited-closer-earth/).
That’s gotta be the coolest rendering of Adam and Eve I’ve ever scene. Put that one in the Ensign! And I also like the futuristic bio-dome firmament.
I’m curious what Midjourney would do with Abraham 3.