An Introduction to Anthropopatheia

Anthropopatheia (derives from Greek ‘anthropos’ “man,” and ‘pathos’ “affections,” or “feelings” ), is a figure which consists in the form of a metaphorOpens in new window by which things properly belonging to creatures, especially man, are by a certain similitudeOpens in new window attributed to God and divine things. Thus, it is the ascription of human passion, action and other attributes to God.

It is evident in the scripture how human characteristics are ascribed to God. See examples below.

Notable Examples
  • While in the mood of glorifying God with worship songs, we often ask God to arise, but the fact remains that God is spiritual being and based on this fact, has no legs.
  • The figure likewise evolve in Mathew 18:10, when Christ says that angels behold the face of the Father, but we know God is Spirit (John 4:24).
  • In Exodus 15:8 we read, “With the blast of Your nostrils the waters were gathered together.” By the notion that God is a Spirit, it remains in our subconscious that God has no nose.
  • The figure also evolves in Isaiah 65:2, where God is described as stretching out his arms to recall a rebellious people.
Further Readings:
Silver Rhetoricae, Figures | AnthropopatheiaOpens in new window