An astonishment a day- 
drives your depression away...

The bellybutton of our forefathers.

The question of whether Adam had a bellybutton has bothered philosophers from the beginning of time. Adam did not need a bellybutton, but it seems silly to imagine the father of all humankind without one. The matter was finally solved by Philip Henry Gosse. About 125 years ago he wrote a serious work entitled "Omphalos" (bellybutton in Greek). He states in this work, that God created Adam in such a way, it was as though he had a human past. Therefore he had a bellybutton, fingernails, hair, and features suggesting preceding growth and development. The arguments seem to be convincing - therefore we will just leave it at that - Adam had a bellybutton. The same line of reasoning was taken up by current Creationists. It is also a view accepted by many artists. I looked through a few dozen works of art depicting Adam and Eve and could not find even one example of the mother and father of humankind without a bellybutton. 

I also find it quite strange that in all of the literature available to me about bellybuttons, I could not find a single clear statement about the number of bellybuttons that a person is meant to have. It looks as though no one has thoroughly counted. It seems too simple, but yet there is no data available. There is also no data on how many of us are two-bellybuttoned or three-bellybuttoned. If we can have people with three arms, or two heads, surely someone can have a couple of bellybuttons! It's also strange that nymphs have bellybuttons, but I'm not sure about their origine. 

One more thing comes to mind on this topic. On the fabulous painting by Flemmish artist Hugon van der Goes (1440 - 1482), entitled "Downfall", apart from Adam and Eve, we also see Satan - in the form of a girl. And the devil-girl does not have a bellybutton. Have a look. 




(C) (selected from publications of 
 R. Antoszewski

Titirangi, Auckland, 
New Zeland

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February  2003