When the star went supernova, what was left was a pulsar (called PSR B1509-58) which spins at about 7 times per second blowing a wind of particles into material ejected during the star's death throes (pulsar wind nebula). As these particles interact with nearby magnetic fields, they produce an X-ray glow in the shape of a hand. (The pulsar is located near the bright white spot in the image but cannot be seen itself, NASA officials said.)
The red cloud appearing at the fingertips is a separate structure called RCW 89. The pulsar's wind may be heating the cloud to produce the low-energy X-ray glow, astronomers believe. The Hand of God is an example of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of perceiving familiar shapes in random or vague images. Other common forms of pareidolia include seeing animals or faces in clouds, or the man in the moon. Despite its supernatural appearance, the Hand of God was produced by natural astrophysical phenomena. It's still pretty impressive, in my opinion.