Are all Gods anthropomorphic?


Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
It can also have a destructive aspect, as can many non-Christian deities.
Destructive of what? The Sun was often hymned as Purifying, and purification may involve a certain kind of destruction, of the kind which is for the Good.

The Almighty says: "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no God besides Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: nor is there any that can deliver from My hand." (Deuteronomy 32:39) Isn't God the destroyer of sin? "8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8)


Ad Honorem
Apr 2012
Sekhmet, for example, but I suspect generally that the sun was a positive deity in many belief systems.
From all the hymns to the Sun that I know I like Proclus' the most. Below is Dr. R.M. van den Berg's translation found in Proclus' Hymns - Essays, Translations, Commentary.

Hearken, king of noeric fire, Titan holding the golden bridle,
hearken, dispenser of light, you, o lord, who hold yourself
the key to the life-supporting source and channel off from above
a rich stream of harmony into the material worlds.
5. Hearken: for you, being above the middlemost seat of aether
and in possession of the very brilliant disk, the heart of the
have filled everything with your intellect-awakening providence.
The planets, girded with your ever-blooming torches,
through unceasing and untiring dances,
10. always send life-producing drops down for earthlings.
Under the influence of your chariot’s returning courses
everything that is born has sprouted up according to the
ordinance of the Seasons.
The din of the elements clashing with each other
stopped once you appeared from your unspeakable begetter.
15. For you the unshakeable choir of the Moirai has yielded.
Back again they wind the thread of compelling destiny,
when you wish it. For all around you dominate, all around you
rule by force.
From your chain the king of the song that obeys the divine,
Phoibos, sprung forth. Singing inspired songs to the accompani-
ment of the kithara,
20. he calms the great wave of deep-roaring becoming.
From your evil-averting band that imparts pleasant gifts
Paiêon sprouted, and he imposed his health
by filling the wide cosmos with harmony wholly devoid of harm.
People honour you in hymns as the famous father of Dionysus.
25. And again some praise you in songs as Euios Attis in the extreme
depths of matter, whereas others praise you as pretty Adonis.
The threat of your swift whip holds fears for
the wild-tempered daemons, noxious to men,
who prepare evil for our miserable souls,
30. in order that forever, in the gulf of heavy-resounding life,
they suffer once they have fallen under the yoke of the body
with the result that they forget the bright-shining court of the
lofty Father.
But, you the best of gods, crowned with fire, blest daemon,
image of the all-creating god, uplifter of souls,
35. hearken and always purify me of every fault;
receive my tearful supplication, pull me out of baneful
defilement and keep me far from the punishing deities
while mollifying the swift eye of Justice that sees all.
May you always through your evil-averting help
40. give holy light rich with blessings to my soul,
once you have scattered the man-destroying poisonous mist,
and to my body fitness and gift-bestowing health;
bring me to glory, that in accord with the traditions of my fore
I may cultivate the gifts of the Muses with pretty locks.
45. Give me, if you wish so, lord, unshakeable bliss
as a reward for lovely piety. You perfect all things
easily, for you have the power and infinite might.
And if some ill comes my way through the threads moved by the
from the spindles of destiny that revolve in helices,
50. ward it off yourself with your mighty radiance.
And this is Thomas Taylor's old translation:

HEAR golden Titan! king of mental fire,
Ruler of light; to thee supreme belongs
The splendid key of life's prolific fount;
And from on high thou pour'st harmonic streams
In rich abundance into matter's worlds. 5
Hear! for high raised above th'aetherial plains,
And in the world's bright middle orb thou reign'st,
Whilst all things by thy sov'reign power are filled
With mind-exciting, providential care.
The starry fires surround thy vig'rous fire, 10
And ever in unwearied, ceaseless dance,
O'er earth wide-bosomed, vivid dew diffuse.
By thy perpetual and repeated course
The hours and seasons in succession rise;
And hostile elements their conflicts cease, 15
Soon as they view thy awful beams, great king,
From deity ineffable and secret born.
The steady Parcae, at thy high command,
The fatal thread of mortal life roll back;
For wide-extended, sov'reign sway is thine. 20
From thy fair series of attractive song,
Divinely charming, Phoebus into light
Leaps forth exulting; and with god-like harp,
To rapture strung, the raging uproar lulls
Of dire-resounding Hyle's mighty flood. 25
From thy bland dance, repelling deadly ill,
Salubrious Paean blossoms into light,
Health far diffusing, and th'extended world
With streams of harmony innoxious fills.
Thee too they celebrate in sacred hymns 30
Th' illustrious source whence mighty Bacchus came;
And thee in matter's utmost stormy depths
Euion* Ate they for ever sing.
But others sound thy praise in tuneful verse,
As famed Adonis, delicate and fair. 35
Ferocious daemons, noxious to mankind,
Dread the dire anger of thy rapid scourge;
Daemons, who machinate a thousand ills,
Pregnant with ruin to our wretched souls,
That merged beneath life's dreadful-sounding sea, 40
In body's chains severely they may toil,
Nor e'er remember in the dark abyss
The splendid palace of their fire sublime.
O best of gods, blest daemon crown 'd with fire,
Image of nature's all-producing god, 45
And the soul's leader to the realms of light-
Hear! and refine me from the stains of guilt;
The supplication of my tears receive,
And heal my wounds defiled with noxious gore;
The punishments incurred by sin remit, 50
And mitigate the swift, sagacious eye
Of sacred justice, boundless in its view.
By thy pure law, dread evil's constant foe,
Direct my steps, and pour thy sacred light
In rich abundance on my clouded soul: 55
Dispel the dismal and malignant shades
Of darkness, pregnant with invenomed ills,
And to my body proper strength afford,
With health, whose presence splendid gifts imparts.
Give lasting fame; and may the sacred care 60
With which the fair-haired muses gifts, of old
My pious ancestors preserved, be mine.
Add, if it please thee, all-bestowing god,
Enduring riches, piety's reward;
For power omnipotent invests thy throne, 65
With strength immense and universal rule.
And if the whirling spindle of the fates
Threats from the starry webs pernicion dire,
Thy sounding shafts with force resistless send,
And vanquish ere it fall th' impending ill. 70


Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
Crows nest
Sekhmet, for example, but I suspect generally that the sun was a positive deity in many belief systems.
It's a pity that the Egyptians never depicted Sekhmet using the uraeus, but I guess that would be too modern, and excite the AA crowd if they had shown the rays of the Sun blasting forth like a lazer beam. Though with Sekhmet and the uraeus and her protective and destructive role, we can join the "bad" Sun and the good in a circle where, perhaps unsurprisingly, all are one, as can be discerned in line five of the Litany of Sekhmet for the sacred falcon at Edfu, which is a form of hymn to the Sun. It also addresses anthropomorphic gods in that the uraeus is a cobra, Sekhmet a lioness headed woman, the Living Image is, along with the reigning king, the manifestation of the ba of Horus in a living falcon, and all a manifestation, in different genders, appearances and temperaments, of Ra, the Sun.

O Sekhmet, Uraeus on the head of her master, who hides him with her flame! Come towards the Living Image! Liberate him, put your protection around him! Protect him from every arrow and from every pestilence of the year! Preserve him from the one who plots against him, for it is he who in his name of Ra is eternally in the sky.
Likes: Todd Feinman


Ad Honorem
Feb 2013
portland maine
While anthropomorphism more common in primitive religions, Gods in 'higher' religions also have anthropomorphic traits. Why God needs any father ( or son )? Why Gods never act beyond human feelings and emotions? For example goddess Kali feel the wrath etc. Isn't it strange to believe in loving, caring, angry, frustrated, prideful Gods? It seems that 'Gods' are born out of human imagination.
enesis 1:27 standard (English translation)

27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
In biblical Hebrew the translation is somewhat different.
Sep 2017
United States
I think almost every higher being has to be anthropomorphic in some way. They would have to not have thoughtful intention, emotions, human shape/body attributes, higher intelligence, and so on to not be.

An ethereal blob who has only a base instinct to create worlds, like a cell performing mitosis or an animal excreting feces, maybe isn't anthropomorphic.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2017
Crows nest
The Egyptians always understood that they could never know what any of the gods really looked like or what their real names are, therefore they gave names to the gods so they knew who they were talking about, and give them magical power over the god, and form so that the attributes of a god could be seen and for the image to provide a focus for religious practice. So we can see that their gods began as invisible and unknowable beings, rather like the Hebrew god, and needed to be made visible and knowable. They did not start by looking at, for example, a lion and thinking that's a powerful and impressive looking animal so we'll worship it as a god, but by using the image of a lion to express the power of Ra via the "eye goddesses".

It could be seen like this. Christianity moved from prosaic polytheistic origins to being esoteric, but still needing imagery, and even a crucifix is imagery, to provide focus, and images of Jesus are those of an anthropomorphic god no less than Egyptian gods. The Egyptians started by having gods so esoteric they didn't even have a name let alone any imagery, and moved to a more prosaic position, but, never letting go of the fact that their gods could never be really seen or known. Here there is an element of "us and them" as regards priesthoods and the people, for the people need names and images while the priests dealt in numinous and formless clouds of "energy", and we get a glimpse of this in the Memphite creation myth.

Similar History Discussions