Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Does God have buttocks?

This is one of those days, idling; I’m tired of reading. Does God have buttocks? A profound question that bothered me today.

I remember something I saw on TV about a year ago. I was channel surfing our ten year old 14 inch Sony TV when I saw this guy from channel 37 debating with a young preacher about whether God has buttocks or none. The young preacher was passionately telling the guy from channel 37 that God cannot have buttocks since God is a spirit, which is logically and theologically true. But the guy from channel 37 known for his sophistry and theological gymnastics quoted verses:

Act 7:49 'Heaven is my throne, says the Lord, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house would you build for me? Where is the place for me to live in?

Col 3:1 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God.

“Since God has a throne then he must have buttocks for what will God use in sitting on his throne?” The incredible guy from channel 37 who has been suspended several times by the Philippine Motion Picture and Television Review Board for cussing on live television proudly declared complete with the cheering of his equally incredible sycophants.
And this, this is incredible but true. Does God have buttocks?

To add to this theological stupendous inanity is the question whether Christ will sit at God’s lap or at God’s right side? It’s funny how the guy from channel 37 who was suspended several for cussing on live television conducted a running debate against the men in white from the equally interesting group from channel 25 (may I say that these people have class). “No, Christ will not sit on God’s right side because it would be a gross disrespect for the Father if Christ sat on the Father’s lap” The Guy from channel 37 averred. “Yes, Christ will sit on the Father’s lap just like a father will allow his child to sit on his lap,” The guys from channel 25 countered. (And all the apostles and disciples and the early church fathers and the apologists and the reformers and the liberal, neo orthodox and all the theologians of the world shook their heads at the profundity of these people’s debates.)

The issue is anthropomorphism:

Anthropomorphism (Greek anthropos, “human being”; morphe, “shape”) is the depiction of God in human image because it is impossible to think of God without attributing to him some human traits.
The problem with anthropomorphism (the spelling is killing me!) is when it is taken literally and not metaphorically.

I am a firm believer in eternal security (although some of my posts in this blog seem to indicate that I’m an agnostic with pantheistic, panentheistic, deistic and atheistic (and walastic) tendencies , in reality, however, I’m a true blooded Southern Baptist) and the following verse are the favorite verses that we Baptists use to affirm the doctrine of eternal security.

Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Unfortunately, when we think of Father’s hand the image of a human hand is the first thing that comes into our mind. I was young when I heard Pastor Saulon (one of our church’s pastors) telling how an Arminian (those who believe that salvation can be lost) illustrated that since those who are saved are in God’s hand then the saved can jump out of God’s hands (those who chose to lose their salvation) to which Pastor Saulon replied that what God will do is He will catch those who jump out of His hands. I cannot forget this story because eternal security is embedded in my head ever since I am a child, and I’m a firm believer of it. But the story also shows the limitation anthropomorphism creates in our mind--the image of man in God.

Put simply, the human attribute that the scripture writers used in describing God and his attributes is metaphorical. They are literary devices used to make God and his attributes graspable by human intellect—making the conceptual concrete. It boils down to language.

This is where I will tell what’s really on my mind. Sometimes it is advisable (from my experience) to try to understand people who try to grasp God beyond anthropomorphism like the Greeks, Spinoza and his pantheism, the Deist; I’m not saying that these people should be believed what I’m trying to say is that there are people and may I say good people who sees the limitations of anthro blah, blah, blah. Paul Tillich said it very well when he said that we must try to separate God from our conception (or apprehension) of him from the God who is the ground of our being.

It’s erroneous to limit our apprehension of God to human likeness because in the process the limitation of human attributes to God cannot be helped but be included.
But it is also not good to picture God without human likeness for then what will be apprehended (if it’s possible at all) are ideas.

It still boils down to language. I am thinking of Christ and God incarnated and the more I think of it the more logical Christ is becoming for me and the more God is becoming clearer to me.

I’ve still a long way to go!

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