SPECIAL TOPIC: THE PROBLEMS AND LIMITATIONS OF HUMAN LANGUAGE

A. Our language is finite, fallen, this planet-oriented, and therefore, not exhaustive.

1. anthropomorphism (God described in human terms; see Special Topic: God Described as Human [anthropomorphic language])

a. God with a human body

(1) walking, Gen. 3:8; 18:33; Lev. 26:12; Deut. 23:14

(2) eyes, Gen. 6:8; Exod. 33:17

(3) man on a throne, Isa. 6:1; Dan. 7:9

b. God as female

(1) Gen. 1:2, Spirit as female bird

(2) Gen. 17:1 (El Shaddai)

(3) Deut. 32:18, God as mother

(4) Exod. 19:4, God as mother eagle

(5) Isa. 49:14-15; 66:9-13 (and possibly Hos. 11:4), God as a nursing mother

c. God as advocating lying, I Kg. 22:19-23

d. NT examples of "God's right hand," Luke 22:69; Acts 7:55-56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 13:1; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22

2. Human titles used to describe God

a. Shepherd, Psalm 23

b. Father, Isa. 63:16; Ps. 103:13

c. Go'el, Kinsman redeemer, Exod. 6:6

d. Lover/husband, Hosea 1-3

e. Parent, father, and mother, Hos. 11:3-4 

3. Physical objects used to describe God

a. Rock, Psalm 18

b. Fortress and stronghold, Psalm 18

c. Shield, Gen. 15:1; Psalm 18

d. Horn of salvation, Psalm 18

e. Tree, Hos. 14:8

B. Language is part of the image of God in mankind, but sin has affected all aspects of our existence, including language.

C. God is faithful and communicates to us adequately, if not exhaustively, knowledge about Himself. This is usually in the form of negation, analogy, or metaphor.

  

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