Sunday, July 22, 2012

Anthropomorphism

This morning in Sunday School we watched a DVD of a popular Bible teacher, a female.

She was teaching from Gen 2 about how God formed the man and breathed in him the breathe of life.  She talked about God using his hands to form Adam.

God does not have hands, because that would mean he has a body.  God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4.  References to God's hand, arms, feet, mouth are only for poetic purposes so that we can understand his actions in human terms.   God communicates to us in ways we can understand, and in a way it is like baby talk in comparison to how he could communicate and perhaps will one day. 

This is going to sound heretical to some, but the Bible is God's truth, but I don't believe it is all of it.  It is what he wants us to know about his revelation.  There is other truth we are allowed to learn through research and study and experience.

I also think there is an argument that the New Testament is written with a different kind of audience in mind.  There is less poetry, more direct statements.  We are expected to learn about God and his purposes and love with a more mature mind, with the past of the Old Testament as background.  I don't mean that we are evolved or anything like that, only that, as Hebrews 1:1-4 states, those in the past were spoken to in one way, and we were spoken to by the Son of God.  One cannot deny that revelational purposes and processes in the New Testament are different from in the Old. 

As for Bible study, I think all language exists in context, and context greatly determines meaning.  Therefore, instead of studying a verse or a word in isolation, everything in the Bible must be in context, in concentric circles, starting from the outside in:  The context of the whole Bible, the context of the pre-Christ writings and the post-Christ (on earth, of course) writings, the context of the literary genre (very important), the context of the book, and the context of the paragraph (chapters and verses are irrelevant).  I think we miss something when we start from the inside out.

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