Anthropomorphism Unlimited image

Anthropomorphism Unlimited

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"Scripture does not merely contain anthropomorphisms," argues Herman Bavinck in his Doctrine of God; "on the contrary, all Scripture is anthropomorphic." It's a strong statement, and one with significant implications for theology (and not only the familiar debates about whether God changes his feelings, his knowledge or his mind). Then Bavinck provides his supporting evidence. There is enough here to keep songwriters and preachers going for a few months:

“All the terms expressive of bodily organs are applied to God:
- Face (Ex 33:20)
- Eyes (Heb 4:13)
- Eyelids (Ps 11:4)
- Apple of his eye (Dt 32:10)
- Ears (Ps 55:1)
- Nose (Dt 33:10)
- Mouth (Dt 8:3)
- Lips (Job 11:5)
- Tongue (Is 30:27)
- Neck (Jer 18:17)
- Arms (Ex 15:16)
- Hand (Num 11:23)
- Finger (Ex 8:19)
- Heart (Gen 6:6)
- Bowels (Is 63:15)
- Bosom (Ps 74:11)
- Foot (Is 66:1)

Further, every human emotion is also present in God:
- Joy (Is 62:5)
- Grief (Ps 78:40)
- Anger (Jer 7:18)
- Fear (Dt 32:27)
- Love, in all its variations (e.g. compassion, mercy, grace, longsuffering, etc)
- Zeal and jealousy (Dt 32:21)
- Grief (Gen 6:6)
- Hatred (Dt 16:22)
- Wrath (Ps 2:5)
- Vengeance (Dt 32:35)

Human actions are ascribed to God:
- Knowing (Gen 18:21)
- Trying (Ps 7:9)
- Thinking (Gen 50:20)
- Forgetting (1 Sam 1:11)
- Remembering (Gen 8:1)
- Speaking (Gen 2:16)
- Calling (Rom 4:17)
- Commanding (Is 5:6)
- Rebuking (Ps 18:15)
- Answering (Ps 3:4)
- Witnessing (Mal 2:14)
- Resting (Gen 2:2)
- Working (Jn 5:17)
- Seeing (Gen 1:10)
- Hearing (Ex 2:24)
- Smelling (Gen 8:21)
- Tasting (Ps 11:4)
- Sitting (Ps 9:7)
- Rising (Ps 68:1)
- Walking (Lev 26:12)
- Descending (Gen 11:5)
- Meeting (Ex 3:18)
- Visiting (Gen 21:1)
- Passing (Ex 12:13)
- Casting off (Jdg 6:13)
- Writing (Ex 34:1)
- Sealing (Jn 6:27)
- Engraving (Is 49:16)
- Smiting (Is 11:4)
- Chastening (Dt 8:5)
- Punishing (Job 5:17)
- Binding up wounds and healing (Ps 147:3)
- Killing and making alive (Dt 32:39)
- Wiping away tears (Is 25:8) ...

Furthermore, God is often called by names which indicate a certain office, profession or relation among men:
- Bridegroom (Is 61:10)
- Husband (Is 54:5)
- Father (Dt 32:6)
- Judge, king, lawgiver (Is 33:22)
- Man of war (Ex 15:3)
- Hero (Ps 78:65)
- Builder and maker (Heb 11:10)
- Vinedresser (Jn 15:1)
- Shepherd (Ps 23:1)
- Physician (Ex 15:26)
while in connection with these mention is made of his seat, throne, footstool, rod, scepter, weapons, bow, arrow, sword, shield, wagon, banner, book, seal, treasure, inheritance, etc.

In order to indicate what God is for his children, language derived from the organic and inorganic creation is even applied to God:
- Lion (Is 31:4)
- Eagle (Dt 32:11)
- Lamb (Is 53:7)
- Hen (Mt 23:37)
- Sun (Ps 84:11)
- Morning star (Rev 22:16)
- Light (Ps 27:1)
- Torch (Rev 21:23)
- Fire (Heb 12:29)
- Fountain (Ps 36:9)
- Food, bread, water, drink, ointment (Is 55:1; Jn 4:10; 6:35, 55)
- Rock (Dt 32:4)
- Hiding place (Ps 119:114)
- Tower (Prov 18:10)
- Refuge (Ps 9:9)
- Shadow (Ps 91:1)
- Shield (Ps 84:11)
- Temple (Rev 21:22)

Scripture calls upon the entire creation, upon nature in its several spheres, and especially upon man, to contribute to the description of the knowledge of God. Anthropomorphism seems to be unlimited.”

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