Discussion in 'Theology' started by TealLeaf, Feb 6, 2009.
Is God anthropomorphic or non-anthropomorphic? And what makes you think so?
I don't think God is either anthropomorphic or non-anthropomorphic by definition, but we are entitled to take an anthropomorphic approach to conceptualising him.
Non-anthropomorphic - we reduce reality to a level we can understand, and throughout human history expressions of divinity have tended to be very anthropomorphic in order to help the commons identify with divinity on a personal level. The Greek mythology is a classic example - gods as projections of the harsh bronze/iron age rulers the people were familiar with.
It's only when we can accept that humanity is not the pinnacle of evolution, and that a larger universe and reality exists than we can comprehend, that it becomes obvious that it becomes impossible to describe God truly, for humanity is a limited mortal vessel, and God is anything but.
The opening words of the Tao are spot on with this.
I think you guys were supposed to quote an "expert" source to back up your opinions.
In the Catholic Tradition, God transcends all modes of determination.
"God, who, at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all... "
In Scripture God speaks in dreams, oracles, visions, manifestations ... including a burning bush (Exodus 3:2) and a pillar of cloud, and a pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21).
"In these days hath spoken to us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the world."
Thus the Incarnation is not the human conceptualisation of God, but rather the means by which God chooses to bring His creature to Himself:
"God became man that man might become God"
"what is not assumed is not saved"
St Gregory Nazianzen
What is overlooked, in Christian doctrine, is that it is not the soul alone that is saved, but the whole nature, the human person ... so any idea of a salvation purely of the soul, or the spirit, but not the body, which is itself as integral to the human person as the soul, is a misreading of Christianity.
Another way of stressing the point I'm trying to make is the God-man Jesus Christ is not a false anthropomorphism in which we require that God condescends to make Himself known in a manner comfortable to us, but rather by a free act of grace, the Divine Condescension, is that God chooses to make Himself known to us as we are, to emphasise His desire that we should know Him as He is.
Hence the teaching to say "Abba" — by addressing the Deity as Father, we are affirming the most intimate unity of being which He extends to us.
By condescending to come to us through our humanity, Divine Immanence then is not simply an Indwelling that illuminates our knowing of the Transcendent as an objective reality, but an Indwelling by which we know God as a subjective and thus substantial reality — something our senses can not only know, but also feel and touch — even though the Divine is not a materially substantial being.
Christianity then believes in a union of two natures, the divine and the human, in one person, that of Jesus Christ.
Once this union is established — in Jesus — it becomes immediately possible for all to become sons and daughters of God because what resides in one nature resides in all because all share in that nature.
This was affirmed at Chalcedon in 451.
If, on the other hand, Jesus is not God but a man who attains 'realised human being', that the human being called Jesus is 'Christed', then that is not even a union of the Divine with a particular person, but a process by which the person is subsumed into the Divine, and ceases to exist as itself.
In effect, the process called 'Chrestos' or 'annointing' extinguishes the human person when taking possession of the body.
St Athanasius argued "God became man, He did not come into a man" against just this point.
For everyone else then, in this sense, the Immanent God is present only externally, because it happened to 'him' and not us ... Such a God appears to a nature as something other than that nature.
In the Christian sense, God is Immanently present internally, by the union at the level of nature, we find God in the very heart of our own being. Therefore God is within, as Scripture states, and God is always found 'there' waiting for us, as it were.
No offense but Catholicism does seem to be a bit convoluted or perhaps even contrived in this regard.
My understanding comes from Exodus 20 From the NASB
20:1 Then G!D spoke all these words, saying,
20:2 I am the Lord your G!D, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
20:3 "You shall have no other gods before Me.
20:4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
20:5 " You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your G!D, am a jealous G!D visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,
For me, 20:4 tells that G!D is something that is not directly recognizable by the human senses.
Ah - good point - hadn't realised we were on the Theology board, as just noticed this in the "new threads" link.
Will step back...
a pro anthropormphic proof that I just don't buy.
He walks, he makes sound when he walks, he likes to walk in the cool of the day, we can hide from him...
and then he says...Fee Fi Foe Fum... oops wrong fable.
Why does one need to quote an "expert" source to back up one's opinions?
It's like you're saying the opinions of the common person aren't good enough to be seen as valid. If I quote an expert source to "back up" my opinions, then my opinions are not my own, but someone else's. I become a follower of someone else's ideology. Why should independent thought be disregarded in this way?
All I said was that he was neither by definition, but we were entitled to see him that way. I put emphasis on people's ways of thinking of God rather than the exact, precise nature and definition of God. That was my opinion. Why should I have to back up my opinion? I never claimed objectivity in this. If I don't claim objectivity I should be allowed to state my opinion without backing it up because I never claimed it was absolute truth.
If a person wants to quote expert sources it is their own choice but they don't have to do that. Furthermore, are these "expert" sources themselves experts on God? What makes them experts anyway? Have they seen God? Why are their opinions better than that of the common person?
The use of the term anthropomorphic is unclear. Usually it's used in discussions about the adequacy of human ideas concerning G-d nature rather than in a discussion of G-d's nature. But I get the general drift of the question.
I'd say Anthropomorphic and here's why:God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
If we are made in G-d image, then shouldn't we be able to deduce that G-d is like us just as we are like G-d?
From an ontological perspective, I think it's accurate to say that Creation participates in G-d's Being and that we actually share in the Divine Mind and Divine Agency.
We could assume this to be true, but it would in no way compromise the fact that the Creation is a reflection of the Creator. States of causation and ontic interdependence don't necessarily imply anything about the qualities of the world or the Maker's nature or about the extent of Creator/Creation differentiation along dimensions other than causation and ontic interdependence.
Well, the fact that G-D is something that's not directly recognizable by the human senses wouldn't necessarily compromise the reflexive ontological analogy. The world can still be a reflection of the Maker. And G-d's nature can be recognized in ways other than sensory modalities.
Don't you just love Epistemology?
Anthropomorphic -> of, characterized by, or resulting from anthropomorphism
Anthropomorphism -> the attributing of human shape or characteristics to a god, animal, or inanimate thing
take a look http://www.interfaith.org/forum/theology-take-two-10427.html we may even agree, but that's not the way they wanted things to go over here in theology.
From Isaiah 45:9 and 64:8 we learn that the creating is closer to that of potter and clay.
45:9 "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker- an earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'?
64:8 But now, O Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.
For me, the image that is used to for creation, does not necessarily mean the same as a physical mirror copy, but one of thought ( in an anthropomorphic view) and is comparable to that of potter and clay ( in an anthropomorphic view).
I'm not so sure that the "Divine Mind" is something existent. ( only in anthropomorphic view) Paul points out in Ephesians 4:24 that we can take part in "Divine Agency". ( if I understand your term)
4:22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,
4:23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
4:24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of G-d has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.
Separate names with a comma.