Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

Analogical Language about God

I’ve been on a bit of a Hemmingsen kick lately. Look for that to continue indefinitely.

In the first section of the “first class” of topics in his Enchiridion Theologicum, that dealing with the doctrine of God, he discusses the different ways in which we talk about God. One of these is to apply anthropomorphic language to God. When we do so, we are speaking comparate, “comparatively” and per similitudinem, “by similitude.”

He gives a couple of instances of how this works, and the first has to do with attributing “eyes” to God, which has to do with “providence” (which, in its turn, eytmologically has to do with “seeing” < videre).

Oculi tribuuntur Deo, quod omnia videat ac circumlustret: ut prudens paterfamilias in domo, unde pulcre oculorum intuiti adumbratur divinia providentia.

Eyes are attributed to God because he sees and surveys all things, as a prudent paterfamilias in his house–whence divine providence is beautifully represented by the gaze of the eyes.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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