An anthropomorphic God?

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it

– Albert Einstein<

Any religion or person that describes the nature of God based on our own human qualities has an anthropomorphic perspective.

Some religions for example view God as punishing and this fits as it aligns with many people’s upbringings and hence how they regard authority generally.

Others say God doesn’t have qualities, is only an infinite potential and is more like an energy than a being. Some are attracted to this because their parents were emotionally absent, so its easier to digest a position absent of God.

Both of these are anthropomorphic views of divinity, not simply because they are a human view of God but because we humans only want the view that doesn’t challenge us emotionally.

What is it in us that causes us disregard certain things and accept other things when seeking to know the nature of God?

2 thoughts on “An anthropomorphic God?

  1. Dean Sims

    Interesting that your previous description of God was anthropomorphic. This is where AJM’s JW background comes to the fore. Essentially, God created ex nihilo – God is outside of God’s creation, an entity if you will. I’ve heard some wrestle with the question “if God is a person . . . ” and try to rationalize the resulting conclusions. Sad really, but understandable as for us humans it is very difficult to embrace “unknowing” and “mystery”. Hence you have the historical Jesus turned into a God-man by his followers in their attempt to explain the disaster that they witnessed. The Hebrew faith holds very strongly to “you shall make no graven images”. Yahweh’s mouth to their ears! ; Dean

    1. David Wall Post author

      I’m being flexible with the definition. We could be strict and say that any position on God is anthropomorphic because from where we stand were still human. So wouldn’t that strictly speaking include everything even embracing divinity as unknowable?

      I guess simply, I’m saying that the more emotional blocks we have the further we’d be from describing or knowing God. And the more emotional blocks harbored the more our position on God is anthropomorphic. Because harboring emotions is a very human thing.

      It makes sense there’s emotional reasons we’d be more invested in one concept of God over others. That would include an atheist’s view. So when there’s no emotional investment there, I feel we’d be much closer to the truth than when there is.

      I don’t believe I’m saying anything vastly different to what I’ve heard from AJ though. But if I am, well I’m sure God wouldn’t mind 🙂


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