Posted by Geir Skårland 27 Mar, 2010 07:55
Our current image of God is spiritual. God doesn't have a body.
The Hebrew Bible contains both direct and indirect anthropomorfisms - God described as a human being. Theology, human thought about God, depends partly on anthropomorfisms, it isn't possible for us to reach outside images and our own language in our descriptions.
This is a limit theology usually recognizes. How theology views its own validity varies, from apophastic theology, which says that we can only know what God is not to natural theology, which says we can make true statements about God based on our knowledge of the world.
I've just started reading Leviticus. In the first text, which describes how to present a burnt offering, it says that when the animal is burnt on the altar, its smell is pleasing to the LORD.
A direct reading of this passage would be that the early israelites thought the actual smell from the burnt offering reached God in heaven or in the tabernacle. A direct anthropomorfism.
Which is, of course, very interesting theologically. It illustrates how even the image and concept of God evolves through the Bible and history of theology.