Worshipping an Anthropomorphic God

Worshipping an Anthropomorphic God January 22, 2014
Canaanite Deity Baal Depicted as Anthropomorphic Warrior

The term “anthropomorphism” refers to the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being.  Whether ancient or modern, it is impossible for religious people to escape an anthropomorphic view of deity.  As humans, we tend to create God in our own image after our likeness.  Thus, as Esther Hamori has explained, all “theism,” meaning a belief in at least one god, is anthropomorphic in its religious orientation:

“All theism is anthropomorphic, and there is no escaping it. The rejection of anthropomorphism is a bungled endeavor from the start, because at best one can oppose a certain point along the spectrum of anthropomorphism, but never the phenomenon outright—at least, if one should remain a theist… The very notion of a God one can address is anthropomorphic. Without any kind of anthropomorphism, there can be no religion as we know it. Positing a deity with a mind or a will at all is excluded. Turning one’s will over to something without a will is senseless, and worshipping a thing without a mind is idolatry. Prayer is certainly out of the question.” Esther J. Hamori, When Gods were Men: The Embodied God in Biblical and Near Eastern Literature (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2008), 46-47.

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