On the Anthropomorphisms Used of God in Scripture

St. Melito of Sardis died ca. 180

Head of the Lord– His simple Divinity; because He is the Beginning and Creator of all things: in Daniel.

The white hair of the Lord, because He is “the Ancient of Days: “as above.

The eyes of the Lord– the Divine inspection: because He sees all things. Like that in the apostle: For all things are naked and open in His eyes.”

The eyelids of theLord- hidden spiritual mysteries in the Divine precepts. In the Psalm: “His eyelids question, that is prove, the children of men.”

The smelling of the Lord– His delight in the prayers or works of the saints. In Genesis: “And the Lord smelled an odour of sweetness.”

The mouth of the Lord– His Son, or word addressed to men. In the prophet, “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken; ” and elsewhere, “They provoked His mouth to anger.”

The tongue of the Lord– His Holy Spirit. In the Psalm: “My tongue is a pen.”

The face of the Lord– His manifestation. In Exodus, “My face shall go before thee; ” and in the prophet, “The face of the Lord divided them.”

The word of the LordHis Son. In the Psalm: “My heart hath uttered a good word.”

The arm of the LordHis Son, by whom He hath wrought all His works. In the prophet Isaiah: “And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? ”

The right hand of the Lord– that is, His Son; as also above in the Psalm: “The right hand of the Lord hath done valiantly.”

The right hand of the Lordelectio omnis. As in Deuteronomy: “In His right hand is a fiery law.”

The wings of the Lord– Divine protection. In the Psalm: “In the shadow of Thy wings will I hope.”

The shoulder of the Lord– the Divine power, by which He condescends to carry the feeble. In Deuteronomy: “He took them up, and put them on His shoulders.”

The hand of the Lord– Divine operation. In the prophet: “Have not my hands made all these things? ”

The finger of the Lord-the Holy Spirit, by whose operation the tables of the law in Exodus are said to have been written; and in the Gospel: “If I by the finger of God cast out demons”

The fingers of the Lord– The lawgiver Moses, or the prophets. In the Psalm: “I will regard the heavens,” that is, the books of the Law and the Prophets, “the works of Thy fingers.”

The wisdom of the LordHis Son. In the apostle: “Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God; ” and in Solomon: “The wisdom of the Lord reacheth from one end to the other mightily.”

The womb of the Lord– the hidden recess of Deity out of which He brought forth His Son. In the Psalm: “Out of the womb, before Lucifer, have I borne Thee.

The feet of the Lord– His immoveableness and eternity. In the Psalm: “And thick darkness was under His feet.”

The throne of the Lord– angels, or saints, or simply sovereign dominion. In the Psalm: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”

Seat– the same as above, angels or saints, because the Lord sits upon these. In the Psalm: “The Lord sat upon His holy seat.”

The descent of the Lord– His visitation of men. As in Micah: “Behold, the Lord shall come forth from His place; He shall come down trampling underfoot the ends of the earth.” Likewise in a bad sense. In Genesis: “The Lord came down to see the tower.”

The ascent of the Lord– the raising up of man, who is taken from earth to heaven. In the Psalm: “Who ascendeth above the heaven of heavens to the east.”

The standing of the Lord– the patience of the Deity, by which He bears with sinners that they may come to repentance. As in Habakkuk: “He good and measured the earth; and in the Gospel: “Jesus stood, and bade him be called,” that is, the blind man.

The transition of the Lord– His assumption of our flesh, through which by His birth, His death, His resurrection, His ascent into heaven, He made transitions, so to say. In the Song of Songs: “Behold, He cometh, leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.”

The going of the Lord– His coming or visitation. In the Psalm.

The way of the Lord– the operation of the Deity. As in Job, in speaking of the devil: “He is the beginning of the ways of the Lord.”

Again: The ways of the Lord– His precepts. In Hosea: “For the ways of the Lord are straight, and the just shall walk in them.”

The footsteps of the Lord– the signs of His secret operations. As in the Psalm: “And Thy footsteps shall not be known.”

The knowledge of the Lord– that which makes men to know Him. To Abraham He says: “Now I know that thou fearest the Lord; ” that is, I have made thee to know.

The ignorance of God is His disapproval. In the Gospel: “I know you not.”

The remembrance of God– His mercy, by which He rejects and has mercy on whom He will. So in Genesis: “The Lord remembered Noah; ” and in another passage: “The Lord hath remembered His people.”

The repentance of the LordHis change of procedure. As in the book of Kings: “It repented me that I have made Saul king.”

The anger and wrath of the Lord– the vengeance of the Deity upon sinners, when He bears with them with a view to punishment, does not at once judge them according to strict equity. As in the Psalm: “In His anger and in His wrath will He trouble them.”

The sleeping of the Lord– when, in the thoughts of some, His faithfulness is not sufficiently wakeful. In the Psalm: “Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord? ”

The watches of the Lord– in the guardianship of His elect He is always at hand by the presence of His Deity. In the Psalm: “Lo! He will not slumber nor sleep.”

The sitting of the Lord– His ruling. In the Psalm: “The Lord sitteth upon His holy seat.”

The footstool of the Lord– man assumed by the Word; or His saints, as some think. In the Psalm: “Worship ye His footstool, for it is holy.”

The walking of the Lord– the delight of the Deity in the walks of His elect. In the prophet: “I will walk in them, and will be their Lord.”

The trumpet of the Lord– His mighty voice. In the apostle: “At the command, and at the voice of the archangel, and at the trumpet of God, shall He descend from heaven.” (Fragments)

 

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