In the Bible it is said and we take that as right that God is not
physical, he is out of time and space and that he is the spirit. But why
does the Bible say that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God or that
we will sit, sing and clap with him in heaven while those things are

The writers of the Bible, and especially the writers of the Old Testament
often use metaphorical language when referring to God. This is especially
true in such poetic passages as Psalms and Job. Given that God is not
physical, and that he is spiritual, it should not be surprising at all to
us that those who write about him use physical analogies to describe God.
There is a technical term for this. When one uses physical, human
attributes to describe something which is not physical or not human-like,
it is called anthropomorphism. When the Bible says that God looks down on
us, we do not infer that God literally has an eye. When David says that
God’s hand lifts him up, he is using metaphorical language to describe how
God helps him in times of trouble. Isaiah 40:22 says that God sits above
the circle of the earth. God does not literally sit, nor, since he is not
limited in space, is he specifically above the earth. Isaiah assumes that
the reader understands his references to be metaphorical. In Psalms 23:4,
David says of God that “your rod and staff comfort me.” Again David
obviously does not mean that God literally has a rod and a staff, but that
metaphorically, as a shepherd takes care of his sheep, God takes care of
his people.

John Oakes, PhD

Comments are closed.