Personification: Creating God in Our Image

Intentional Living, Mindful Living

Intentional Living, Mindful Living


 Creating God in Our Image

Humans have a tendency to personify the Divine so that we may better understand an entity beyond our comprehension.  Anthropomorphism the assigning of human characteristics or behaviors to a god, animal, or object.  Unfortunately, as we assign God with human attributes, it limits something that is limitless.

God gets angry with us.

God judges us.

God takes his vengeance out on us.

The personification of God is everywhere.  We don’t even realize we are using anthropomorphic terms to describe God because we just don’t have the vocabulary or the understanding to define the vastness of God.

If God is everything and everywhere then He can be a She.  But try referring to God as a She and you’ll never ever hear the end of “God the Father”.  Trying telling a zealot of any demonetization that God is all loving and you’ll hear how He (or She) is loving of everyone that follows the rules of that particular religion.  All other beliefs and ideas, literally, are damned.

Personification: Creating God in Our Image

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17.

God the Father, Cima da Conegliano, Circa 1510-17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we assume God is all loving, what would happen if someone does something morally wrong?  It would make sense to deduct that God would love that person.  God would show that person compassion.  But as humans (and often times as mini religious zealot),  we have a tenancy to judge a person beyond reproach.

After we judge someone as bad, sinful, and beyond reproach we automatically assign those judgments as those of God.  How superior we must be if the Infinite holds the same judgments and boundaries us mere mortals do.  How much more powerful we can be, if we personify God with our limits!

If our neighbors have different political beliefs or religious traditions, most of us stand by our faith and declare God has viewed them in the wrong.  In some way, shape or form,  the personification of God makes us humans believe we are better than othres.

My point being, we Personify God in our image.

I think we should stop personifying and start acting more like God.  What do you belief God is?  All Loving?  Patient?  Caring?  Limitlessness?  Universal?  Why not set aside our limiting beliefs about the Almighty and start trying to act more loving, patient, caring and limitless?

Judgments, Anger, Impatience, Fear are OUR limitations, not the Divine’s.  Why do we insist on describing God in limiting terms when there is so much out there that professes God is infinite.

In my book, Mothering…Your Inner Connection, A Parental handbook to Intentional Living, I refer to God as the Divine and Universe.   The choice to use these terms have received some knee-jerk reactions. My clergy friends are all for the terminology because using the terms Divine and Universe is meant to make people think about the personifications we place on God.  Hopefully, it will make people think about anthropomorphism and let them expand their idea of God.

How about you?  Do you find your self limiting the Divine by personifying Him/Her?  What are you actively doing to decrease the anthropomorphism of God and expand your understanding?  Please, leave your comment below and let’s have a conversation.

Other resources you might like include:

Click here for a Huffington post blog on anthropomorphism of God.

Click here for a link of personification work sheet.

With Warm Regards,

Sharon K. Hepburn

The Inner Connection

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  • Sharon Hepburn

    Anthropomorphism the assigning of human characteristics or behaviors to a god animal or object