Hamburg Kunsthalle, Hamburg, Germany/Bridgeman Art Library

DRAPED IN ROYAL RED, God creates Adam in the 14th-century Grabow Altarpiece by Master Bertram of Minden. According to Genesis 2:7, “God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” In this tempera on panel altarpiece, Adam appears to slowly rise out of the earth from which he is made. His name reflects his origins; Hebrew adamah means “ground.” This symbolism, Sasson argues, is important: The Earthling Adam will later be forced to toil upon the ground for sustenance and, as punishment for his sins, he will return to dust when life ends.