Interafaith: Comparative religion: world religions

Go Back   Interfaith forums > Religion, Faith, and Theology > Abrahamic Religions > Christianity




Christianity Christian issues and discussions of Christianity.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old 02-06-2009, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
Soul Adventurer
 
TealLeaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 127
TealLeaf is on a distinguished road
A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Are there any major denominations of Christianity that consider God to be non-anthropomorphic?
TealLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 03:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
Interfaith Forums
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,264
Nick_A will become famous soon enough
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
Are there any major denominations of Christianity that consider God to be non-anthropomorphic?
The Christian God is outside of time and space so by definition cannot be anthropomorphic. Meister Eckhart describes the Christian God.

"The mind never rests but must go on expecting and preparing for what is yet known and what is still concealed. Meanwhile, man cannot know what God is, even though he be ever so well of what God is not; and an intelligent person will reject that. As long as it has no reference point, the mind can only wait as matter waits for him. And matter can never find rest except in form; so, too, the mind can never find rest except in the essential truth which is locked up in it--the truth about everything. Essence alone satisfied and God keeps on withdrawing, farther and farther away, to arouse the mind's zeal and lure it to follow and finally grasp the true good that has no cause. Thus, contented with nothing, the mind clamors for the highest good of all."
Nick_A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:01 AM   #3 (permalink)
wil
UNeyeR1
 
wil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 12,545
wil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to all
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Heck, as far as I know if you speak to the scholars or the head muckety mucks of any denominaton they will see G!d as non-anthropomorphic.

Seems like study gets you away from our sunday school analogies and allegory.
wil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 02:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
Executive Member
 
Dondi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 2,615
Dondi has a spectacular aura aboutDondi has a spectacular aura about
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
Are there any major denominations of Christianity that consider God to be non-anthropomorphic?

Most descriptions of God in the Bible are in the form of metaphors, similes, and other figures of speech. It is language meant to understand God in human terms. For example, the phrase "right hand of power" describes the omniscient power of God. God doesn't really have a physical right hand. Another example is "seeking the face of God". You're not trying to actually 'see' God's face, but rather come to terms with God, turning to Him for wisdom, instruction, and understanding, seeking His will. Being made in His image denotes that we have the capbility to create and think and decide. Not that we are carbon copies of some physical pattern of a cosmic Galaticus.

Jesus said that God is Spirit (John 4:24), and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

It is understood by most Christians that God not a grandfatherly figure sitting on a throne up in heaven somewhere.
Dondi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-07-2009, 04:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
Soul Adventurer
 
TealLeaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 127
TealLeaf is on a distinguished road
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

In the Theology subsection of the Comparative Religions section of this forum a person name Thomas who appears to be very knowledgeable on the subject presents the official Catholic view in which God is most definitely anthropomorphic. That is the fact that man has been created in God's image is taken quite literally.

Unless it is stated in an official church position that God creating man is his image is not supposed to be taken literally I would not be satisfied that said Christian church did not have an anthropomorphic view of God.

Are there any Christian churches that officially state that God is non-anthropomorphic?
TealLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2009, 03:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
Soul Adventurer
 
TealLeaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 127
TealLeaf is on a distinguished road
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

I take it then that there is no such Christian denomination?
TealLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2009, 04:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
Interfaith Forums
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,264
Nick_A will become famous soon enough
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
I take it then that there is no such Christian denomination?
There was a fourth century Syrian sect called Audians that was such a denomination. I don't know of any other similar expressions of Christendom.

The problem seems to have arisen with the expression that Man is made in the image of God. If this is true then God is also in the image of man. It is a fallacy but many do not see why.
Nick_A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 01:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
ouden estin
 
Thomas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 6,120
Thomas is a glorious beacon of lightThomas is a glorious beacon of lightThomas is a glorious beacon of lightThomas is a glorious beacon of lightThomas is a glorious beacon of light
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
Are there any major denominations of Christianity that consider God to be non-anthropomorphic?
Yes ... Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox Patriarchates, in fact most of Christianity. I think the Latter Day Saints believe that God exists as a substantial being, occupying time and space.

The distinction you're looking for is between cataphatic and apophatic theology.

The first makes positive statements about what God is:
"God us love" 1 John 4:8.

The latter makes 'negative' statements about what God is not:
"The true knowledge and vision of God consists in this Ė seeing that He is invisible, because what we seek lies beyond all knowledge, being wholly separated by the darkness of incomprehensibility" (The Life of Moses, Gregory of Nyssa).

"God is infinite and incomprehensible and all that is comprehensible about Him is His infinity and incomprehensibility" (On the Orthodox Faith, John of Damascus).

There is a marked difference between East and West on this point ó Eastern Orthodoxy holds that God is unknowable, but made known through His energies, whereas the Latin West believes God is knowable in His communication of Himself as 'person' to man.

But to assume that Christianity is anthropomorphic is technically an error.

That God chooses to reveal Himself in and as a person, however, shapes the Christian view.

Thomas
Thomas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 01:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
wil
UNeyeR1
 
wil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 12,545
wil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to all
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
In the Theology subsection of the Comparative Religions section of this forum a person name Thomas who appears to be very knowledgeable on the subject presents the official Catholic view in which God is most definitely anthropomorphic. That is the fact that man has been created in God's image is taken quite literally....Are there any Christian churches that officially state that God is non-anthropomorphic?
Namaste TL and Thomas,

I didn't want to put words in Thomas's mouth but I was positive you misinterpretted him and waited for him to respond here for you.

Again, most denominations as far as I know see G!d as non anthropomorphic. However in Sunday school and in stories the analogy is utilized to facilitate understanding...after you graduate from that level of education you leave that behind. So why do they use it at all?? Because it is something we can hold onto at that age.
wil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
Soul Adventurer
 
TealLeaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Earth
Posts: 127
TealLeaf is on a distinguished road
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

I think the problem that I have with such long winded explanations is that most often they are used to hedge on a particular position. That is if Catholic doctrine states states that God is both anthropomorphic and non-anthropomorphic to cover both bases they can disguise this fact by burying it in enough verbiage.

It is similar to the Vatican's fairly recent statement that essentially said that evolutionary theory was valid. In the same unnecessarily long document the Catholic church supports creationism.

One of the things I (and i assume others) look to religion for is clarity. There is plenty of confusion and contradiction in the world without me adding to it by adopting a contradictory dogma or doctrine. No offense.
TealLeaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 08:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
wil
UNeyeR1
 
wil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Maryland
Posts: 12,545
wil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to allwil is a name known to all
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TealLeaf View Post
One of the things I (and i assume others) look to religion for is clarity. There is plenty of confusion and contradiction in the world without me adding to it by adopting a contradictory dogma or doctrine. No offense.
Hence your interest in forming a new religion?

IMO tis just an attempt to cover all bases...the church has had to eat crow enough time what with these dang planetary things revovling and such.
wil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 11:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
Executive Member
 
Netti-Netti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,571
Netti-Netti has a spectacular aura aboutNetti-Netti has a spectacular aura aboutNetti-Netti has a spectacular aura about
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas View Post

"God is infinite and incomprehensible and all that is comprehensible about Him is His infinity and incomprehensibility" (On the Orthodox Faith, John of Damascus).
This is rhetoric, isn't it? Just because I don't fully comprehend G-d now doesn't mean I don't know Him.

Quote:
There is a marked difference between East and West on this point — Eastern Orthodoxy holds that God is unknowable, but made known through His energies
Contradiction in terms? How could His energies not reflect on His character and intentions? Even if they are disguised, those energies or expressions would at least support inferences.

Quote:
whereas the Latin West believes God is knowable in His communication of Himself as 'person' to man.
Eternal Life is also identified with the availability of another helper to facilitate knowledge, the Holy Spirit: “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you always." (John 14:16) The abiding action of the Holy Spirit serves to increase knowledge of and love for the Heavenly Father. It is such that you will "know Him because He abides with you and will be in you" (John 14:17) in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Quote:
But to assume that Christianity is anthropomorphic is technically an error.
Mmmm. It seems to me that part of the Incarnation was to demonstrate G-d's anthropomorphicity and overcome the remoteness via Immanence (which includes the Holy Spirit as well as Christ's incarnate personhood). To me the spiritual revolution inaugurated by Jesus was to make the relationship to G-d more personal via G-d's communication.

Among Christians the Bible is considered G-d's Word. It is also believed that G-d's will has been made known to us by revelation. If we can know G-d's will, then we know something about Him that approximates our own capacity for agency, moral judgement, and commitment. Recall from the Scripture that G-d offers His love to reciprocate the love He receives.

If G-d were so "Other" as to be incomprehensible, then we would not be able to understand any of His revelations. And we also would not know what it is to do His will. And arguably, Jesus' mission as the most perfect revelation of G-d's character would have been less purposeful as a revelation.

As reflected in numerous covenants, the G-d of the Bible is very interested in having a relationship with His children. Just because G-d is not totally comprehensible doesn't mean we can't know Him. And there is no reason to believe that G-d is unreasonable. He doesn't expect you to respond to His initiative and commit your life to Him without knowing Him.

Would you enter into a relationship with anyone you can't know even if it be in an incomplete sense? Again, we can know G-d even if we can't totally comprehend Him or the Divine Plan.
Netti-Netti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2009, 11:56 PM   #13 (permalink)
Interfaith Forums
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 2,264
Nick_A will become famous soon enough
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Netti-Netti View Post
This is rhetoric, isn't it? Just because I don't fully comprehend G-d now doesn't mean I don't know Him.

Contradiction in terms? How could His energies not reflect on His character and intentions? Even if they are disguised, those energies or expressions would at least support inferences.

Eternal Life is also identified with the availability of another helper to facilitate knowledge, the Holy Spirit: ďI will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you always." (John 14:16) The abiding action of the Holy Spirit serves to increase knowledge of and love for the Heavenly Father. It is such that you will "know Him because He abides with you and will be in you" (John 14:17) in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Mmmm. It seems to me that part of the Incarnation was to demonstrate G-d's anthropomorphicity and overcome the remoteness via Immanence (which includes the Holy Spirit as well as Christ's incarnate personhood). To me the spiritual revolution inaugurated by Jesus was to make the relationship to G-d more personal via G-d's communication.

Among Christians the Bible is considered G-d's Word. It is also believed that G-d's will has been made known to us by revelation. If we can know G-d's will, then we know something about Him that approximates our own capacity for agency, moral judgement, and commitment. Recall from the Scripture that G-d offers His love to reciprocate the love He receives.

If G-d were so "Other" as to be incomprehensible, then we would not be able to understand any of His revelations. And we also would not know what it is to do His will. And arguably, Jesus' mission as the most perfect revelation of G-d's character would have been less purposeful as a revelation.

As reflected in numerous covenants, the G-d of the Bible is very interested in having a relationship with His children. Just because G-d is not totally comprehensible doesn't mean we can't know Him. And there is no reason to believe that G-d is unreasonable. He doesn't expect you to respond to His initiative and commit your life to Him without knowing Him.

Would you enter into a relationship with anyone you can't know even if it be in an incomplete sense? Again, we can know G-d even if we can't totally comprehend Him or the Divine Plan.
Netti, when you are sleeping in your bed at night are you aware of what is going on around you? I know I'm not and presume that neither are you.

We are asleep to a higher reality just as we are asleep to what we call reality when in bed at night. How then is a sleeping person to know God? Yet when awake, a person could have a realistic God/Man relationship beyond our comprehension.

When asking what a human being is capable of, it is necesary to refer to what kind of person you are speaking of in relation to awakened humanity.
Nick_A is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2009, 02:51 PM   #14 (permalink)
Executive Member
 
Dream's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Eastern USA
Posts: 3,677
Dream is just really niceDream is just really niceDream is just really niceDream is just really niceDream is just really nice
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

It is a debated and a side issue among non-trinitarians. Most people most of the time say references to the hand or face of God are metaphors, but some people who have points to prove find it necessary to say otherwise. One person in particular was excited to the opinion that God dwelt bodily in the center of the universe.
Dream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2009, 03:59 PM   #15 (permalink)
Executive Member
 
Netti-Netti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 2,571
Netti-Netti has a spectacular aura aboutNetti-Netti has a spectacular aura aboutNetti-Netti has a spectacular aura about
Re: A Non-Anthropomorphic God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream View Post
One person in particular was excited to the opinion that God dwelt bodily in the center of the universe.
It seems even photons that have no mass are subject to gravity.

Dimensional objects usually have a center of gravity. Particles that lack mass probably don't, but they may nevertheless be involved in gravitational processes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dream View Post
It is a debated and a side issue among non-trinitarians. Most people most of the time say references to the hand or face of God are metaphors
I don't understand the emphasis on superficial/observable properties in the persistent effort to prove the point that G-d is Non-Anthropomorphic. This tendency seems to be a byproduct of 20th century theology and the Rudolph Bultman demythologizing bandwagon run amuck.
Netti-Netti is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What I don't like about God ! soleil10 Christianity 22 02-23-2012 03:33 AM
Nontheistic Christianity wil Belief and Spirituality 96 05-25-2009 03:10 PM
The God is just akbar Belief and Spirituality 6 02-12-2006 09:33 PM


All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:26 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0 ©2008, Crawlability, Inc.