THEOMORPHISM: DOES GOD LOOK LIKE HUMAN?
There are those that accuse Christians to conceive God with human form, because they are prejudiced by the anthropomorphism; that is to say, by the tendency to compare God to the human figure. According to them, we conceived God in human form, reflecting our own figure. But in fact what the Bible teaches us is not anthropomorphism, but theomorphism, for it compare human with God. It is not that the man has wanted to conceive God with human form, but that God has wanted to make us with His divine form.
It is not
true, as they
that man tends to conceive its gods in human
form. In fact many men have conceived
their gods in the forms less anthropomorphic
imaginable. We just need to see
the gods and goddesses of the
etc... Many of those who conceived
their gods with human form, pictured
them with a grotesque figure,
like the Aztecs, Mayan and the
Gods of the tribes of
In the next passage we will see clearly that God was the one who conceived us equal to His figure. When God speaks in this passage he seems to be referring to two different things: a) to our image, (outer aspect) that is to say, to the figure that God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the other celestial creatures already had; and b) according to our likeness, (with the same mental and spiritual qualities) that is to say, that we can think and wish what we want, because he made us with free will. By the way, in the following verse (27) we see that that likeness refers as much to the man as to the woman.
26 And God said: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gn 1:26-27)
If when God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness he had only referred to the spiritual and not the outer aspect of the creature, he would not have used the word "image".
In John 14:7-9 we can see that after Christ having said this about the Father: and have seen him, the Apostle Philip, referring to the exterior aspect of God, asked of Christ show us the Father . It can be noted that it was being spoken of the outer aspect, because both verbs used (to see and to show) denote something that is perceived with sight, not with the spirit. He does not speak of the spiritual aspect, but of the outer aspect. It is in that context that Jesus replies to Philip: He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. If Christ had been referring the spiritual, he would have only used the verb know or something similar. He would not have used the verb see, because the eyes do not see the spiritual characteristics. Nevertheless, Jesus uses both verbs, to know and to see. There is no doubt that God has the same general aspect that Christ had when he was on Earth.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also; and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8 Philip saith unto him: Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him: Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? (Jn 14:7-9)
In addition to these reasoning, we must also consider that in many visions God has been seen. Although his face has not been seen, like in the cases of Moses, Micah son of Imlah, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezequiel and John the Evangelist, His general aspect was seen.
Moses, in Ex 33:20-23, gives a clear lesson of God's aspect. Speaking God with Moses he says to him thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me, and live. Of this affirmation of God it is possible to conclude without forcing reasoning, that God has a face, we also have it. Further in the passage God says will cover to thee with my hand , which indicates to us that God has hands; we also have them. Now at the end of the passage God says thou shalt see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen., with which he adds that God has a back, like He created in the human being. And not only that, but he repeats that he has a face. If that is the description that God gives of Himself, what more do we needed to know that God is not a formless being as those who want to philosophize on the subject imagine, but that we have an exterior form similar to the one He has?
20 And he said: Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me, and live. 21 And the LORD said: Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; 22 and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cliff of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. 23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts, but my face shall not be seen. (Ex 33:20-23)
In the case of the prophet Micah son of Imlah (different from the Micah author of the book by the same name) we see that this prophet also saw God seated on His throne (I K 22:19 and II Chr 18:18), and he even speaks about his right hand and his left hand.
And he said: Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD, I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left. (I K 22:19)
Again he said: Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. (II Chr 18:18)
As for Isaiah, we see in 6:1 that he also, like Micah, saw God seated in His throne. In Ezekiel 1:26-28 we read that this prophet saw a likeness that seemed of man, seated on the throne. That is, that he declares to us that the being that he identifies as God, had the likeness of a human being. Later we see that in verse 27 he describes how he looked from his loins even upward and from his loins even downward , mentioning to us again similar parts of the human body, in this case the loins.
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isa 6:1)
26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone, and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (Ezk 1:26-28)
Daniel also, in his vision of 7:9 describes God saying the Ancient of days did sit, , comparing it thus, as much in his form as in his action, to that which looks and does a human being. Further on in the verse, the prophet, describing God in the form in which he saw Him mentions His head and His hair.
I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool; his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Dan 7:9)
In Rev 4:2-3 John describes the vision that he had of God, in the same form that the previous prophets: he mentions a throne, says that there was one seated, then he says and he that sat , with which we realize that he is not seeing a cloud or something formless, but somebody resembling a human being .
2 and immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like to jasper and to sardine stone; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (Rv 4:2-3)
If they all saw God with the same aspect that any human being has, it is because God is like this. There are some who argue that God cannot have form, because one of the commandments is not to make images of God. That is not a valid argument, because Christ does not want them to make images of him either and however, that does not mean that Christ did not have form. Therefore, the fact that God does not want images to be made of Him does not imply that He does not have form.
Others base their obstinacy on saying that God is spirit, and that a spirit does not have form. On what place of the Bible are they based to say that a spirit does not have form? The angels are spirits and have the same form as the humans. In Job 4:16 a spirit is mentioned saying that he has a face. That is, he resembles a human being.
There is not a single verse in the entire Bible that says that God does not have form, but there are many that describe him with the same form in which He created us. It is logical to be so, that way when we meet with Him, we are not going to be frightened because of His aspect, for we are already familiar to see beings of that form.