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Anthropopatheia: God and Man with Similar Attributes

TitleAnthropopatheia: God and Man with Similar Attributes
Publication TypeIcon
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsPinnock, Hugh W., and Fernando Vazquez
KeywordsAnthromorphic; Anthropopatheia

The figure of speech called anthropopatheia is a fascinating Hebrew form found extensively throughout the scriptures. Upon understanding the true nature of God—his goals, mission, and physical attributes—the ancient prophets included in their writings a number of characteristics of deity that describe both God’s and man’s passions and physical attributes. For instance, God has body parts that are mentioned frequently in scripture. He is also a God who knows how to forgive, love, give comfort, and demonstrate anger. Yes, man is truly created in the image and likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26—27).

Many of the passions and physical features attributed to God are also ascribed to humanity, hence the descriptive term anthropopatheia, which is a compound of Greek words meaning "the ascribing of human attributes to God." Regarding this figure of speech, Bullinger pens that it "is used of the ascription of human passions, actions, or attributes to God." He notes further that the Hebrews called this figure Derech Benai Adam, "the way of the sons of men." This included "having human feelings" or at least the "ascription of human feelings and passions" to deity. Thus God spoke "after the manner of men."


An extract from Hugh W. Pinnock, Finding Biblical Hebrew and Other Ancient Literary Forms in the Book of Mormon (Provo, UT: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1999), 119-120.

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Citation Key1156