De Moor IV:14: Answering the Anthropomorphites

They are Practical Anthropomorphites, whoever think that the Essence of God is able to be represented by Images: or even represent God to themselves in prayer in a corporeal form, like a King sitting upon a throne in the heavens.


The Objections of the Anthropomorphites, enumerated by our AUTHOR, are trifling: 1. That human Members are attributed to God. I respond that this is done ἀνθρωπομορφῶς/anthropomorphically, but it is to be explained θεοπρεπῶς, in a manner suitable for God, concerning the perfections and actions of those things for which they are employed: hence, α. not all Members are attributed to God, not the stomach, windpipe, blood-vessels, belly; but only those that all believe to be, either the sources of the most notable acts of man, like the Heart, which it is likely is designated also by the Bowels; or instruments for exercising acts worthy of man, like the Feet, Hands, etc. A Heart is ascribed to God, which is the source of vital actions; Hands, because by them we furnish many things; Eyes, because by their help we acquire for ourselves the knowledge of many things; Ears, because to whom we are favorably disposed, to them we turn ready ears; a Mouth, because by the mouth we speak forth the thoughts of our heart; Feet, because by the feet we are able to go where we will: and in this way God Himself, and His mercy, power, knowledge, omnipresence, and other perfections are designated. β. Neither are human Members attributed to God and to men in the same way, but actions are perfections are assigned to them that infinitely surpass human ability; God has Eyes, which at once discern all things that are done in the whole world and penetrate to inmost foundation of the heart; Ears, but which perceive the crying silences of the heart, and at once hear in the highest heaven the prayers of all the pious throughout the earth; Hands, which at the same time hold and sustain the whole world: which easily demonstrates that they are not able to be understood properly. Compare LILIENTHAL’S Oordeelkundige Bybelverklaring and J.J.K’S notes on him, chapter IX, § 4-15, part 4, pages 150-168.


Objection 2: The Image of God is in corporeal Man. There is a Response in our AUTHOR; see further, Chapter XIV, § 4.


Objection 3: The Visions of God, etc. Response: A Vision of a corporeal divine Essence is nowhere understood; that this is expected by faithful Christian after this life, ORIGEN asserts to be a lie of Celsus,[1] book VII contra Celsum, page 354, published by William Spencer, Καταψεύδεται ἡμῶν Κέλσος, λέγων, προσδέχεσθαι ἡμᾶς ὀφθαλμοῖς σώματος Θεὸν ὄψεσθαι, Celsus reports falsely of us, saying that we we expect God to appear to the eyes of the body: who hence takes the matter in a different way from Vorstius: but is understood, 1. either a mental and Spiritual Vision through faith, holy meditations, and afterwards full knowledge and immediate fruition, Psalm 34:8; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 13:12; Hebrews 11:27; Matthew 5:8; Hebrews 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:7: or, 2. Ecstatic Vision, Isaiah 6:1; 1 Kings 22:19, or Dreams, Genesis 28:12, 13; Daniel 7:9, 10, 13: or, 3. of a Human Body Assumed, which sort of appearances of the Son of God are mentioned a number of times as a prelude to the future Incarnation, Genesis 28:2; 32:24, 25, 30; or of some Emblem of the gracious divine presence, as the Angel of God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, under the emblem of a flame of Fire from the midst of the bush, Exodus 3:2: or, 4. finally, the Bodily Vision of the Incarnate God by reason of the human nature assumed, Job 19:26; 1 John 3:2.


Objection 4: God is not able to produce Bodies, unless He Himself has a Body; because a Cause does not give what it does not have. Responses: 1. An Efficient Cause is not always of the same nature with its Effect, which sort of Cause is wont to be called Univocal, and formally contain the Perfections of its Effect. But, 2. there are also Causes that are called Equivocal, and which contain in themselves the Perfections of their Effect either eminently, that is, in a more excellent mode, and with the imperfections that adhere to the effect removed; or virtually, that is, so that they might have a sufficiency at least to produce them: thus, for example, Wine gladdens the Heart, while Wine itself is not able to be said to be glad. And thus the Power of producing Bodies is not able to be denied to the Omnipotent God, although He on account of His infinite Perfection does not possess a Body.


COCQUIUS, in his Anatome Hobbesianismi, locus VI, chapter XII, pages 112-114, responds to the Objections of Hobbes.

[1] Celsus was a second century Greek philosopher and opponent of Christianity. Excerpts from his The True Word are found in Origen’s Contra Celsum.

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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