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Volume 24 - Page 205 of 211 Index | Zoom | |
Analogy, and the Image of God.
pp. 208 - 211
In our study of the underlying principle of analogy, we have advanced from the
severely mathematical conception (set forth by the symbols A : B : C : D) to a
consideration of the anthropomorphic language of revelation. It will be necessary, before
we go further, to consider the objections to, and the justification of this use of human
terms to set forth the divine.
Many readers will be acquainted with the philosopher's charge against "religion", and
its use of the human to express the divine:--
"The lions, if they could have pictured a God, would have pictured him in a fashion
like a lion; horses like a horse; the oxen like an ox."
The implication is that man has pictured God as a gigantic man, and consequently
thinks of Him in terms that are human raised to a superlative power. There is some truth
in this gibe of the philosopher; but it is only half the truth, which as Tennyson puts it,
may be "ever the blackest of lies".
We must now turn our attention to the following questions:--
(1) Is man specially constituted to embody in a small degree that which is great in the Lord?
(2) Does the Scripture warrant the use of human terms in explanation of the divine?
(3) What do we mean by personality? Is God a person?
Let us take first the question of personality. What is a person?
"A person is a self-conscious and self-determining individual, the source from which
thought and conduct radiate" (Author unknown).
Kant's definition, although it has been modified and improved, remains the basis of all
modern philosophy of personality, and is true. An animal may be conscious, but not
self-conscious, and so has no personality. "Persons, as opposed to things, are individual,
conscious, intelligent and free." Personality is conscious of its own existence, can reflect
upon itself, and can speak of "I". Personality may be expressed in the phrase: "I think,
therefore I am." Everything in life and experience is open to question and doubt, except
the individual personality of the questioner:--
"Our being with its faculties, mind and body, is a fact not admitting of question"
"Personality is the only thing that is real, not related or derived" (Prof. Green).
"Perfect personality is in God only; to all finite minds there is allotted but a pale copy