ANTHROPOMORPHISM (ἄνθρωπος, man;
μορφή, form). The representation of Divine
attributes as if they were only human attributes enlarged.
The ascribing of bodily members to Deity is
wittily exposed by Cicero (De Nat. Deor., lib. I. cap.
27). Spinoza, holding that all things are in God, maintained
that God is an extended being (Ethics, pt. II. prop,
II.); but, he adds, when referring to the fact that "some
persons feign to themselves an image of God consisting like a
man of a body and mind, and susceptible of passions," "all who
ever thought of the Divine nature in any proper way, deny that
God is corporeal .... nothing can be more absurd than a
conception of the kind associated with God, the absolutely
infinite being" (pt. I. prop. XV. schol.).
"We ought not to imagine that God is clothed with a human body, as the
Anthropomorphites asserted, under colour that that figure was the most perfect
of any" (Malebranche, Search after Truth, bk. III. ch. IX.).
Hume applies the name to those who think the mind of God is like the mind of man
(Dial, on Nat. Relig., pts. IV., V.), in which Anthropomorphism is critically
examined, as opposed to the doctrine of the "mysterious, incomprehensible
nature of the Deity" presented by "Demea," and the views supported by "Cleanthes,"
that though the Deity "possesses many powers and attributes of which we can have
no comprehension," "our ideas, so far as they go," must be "just and adequate,
and correspondent to his real nature" (Hume, Works, Green's ed., II. 405). That
the first cause must be absolute, infinite Intelligence, is clear on the
admission of a first cause; but that the absolute intelligence can be such in
nature and action as human intelligence is impossible.
V. Cousin, Hist, of Philos., Wight, I. 34; Fairbairn's
Studies in Philosophy, p.