Monday, 10 November 2008

When God seems to be attributed in the bible with an unworthy description

In discussing the wrath of God, J. I. Packer writes:
To some, for instance, 'wrath' suggests a loss of self-control, an outburst of 'seeing red' which is partly, if not wholly irrational. To others, it suggests the rage of conscious impotence, or wounded pride, or plain bad temper. Surely, it is said, it would be wrong to ascribe to God such attitudes as these?
The reply is: indeed it would, but the Bible does not ask us to do this. There seems to be here a misunderstanding of the 'anthropomorphic' language of Scripture - that is, the biblical habit of describing God's attitudes and affections in terms ordinarily used for talking about human beings. The basis of this habit is the fact that God made us in his own image, so that human persoanlity and character are more like the being of God than anything else we know. But when Scripture speaks of God anthropomorphically, it does not imply that the limitations and imperfections which belong to the persoanl characteristics of us sinful creatures belong also to the corresponding qualities in our holy Creator; rather, it takes for granted that they do not.
- p.169-170, from Knowing God by J. I. Packer

The main point of the chapter was the solemn reality and the meaning of the wrath of God and how we ought to respond to Him accordingly.
But I found the above paragraph particularly helpful. It showed me how to deal with some of the descriptions of God found in the bible. I think it would help you as well as you read and try to figure out what some attributes of God is meant to really mean.

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