Analogy: an approach to religious language that compares the normal use of a word to its religious use. To say God is good means a similar thing as saying that John is good.
Anthropomorphism: conception of God as having the form, personality or attributes of man.
What is analogy?
- Analogies are something that we use frequently in everyday speech.
- To describe strawberry ice cream to someone who had never tasted it, you might say something like this, 'its like vanilla ice cream but it tastes like strawberries'.
- An analogy is describing something that is unfamiliar to us by making a comparison with something that we already know.
- Sometimes the analogy drawn may seem odd when we reflect on the language literally.
- Yet a phrase such as 'her face was like thunder' does communicate something to us.
- Hopefully low rumbling sounds are not coming from her face but nevertheless the phrase conveys something of the 'storminess' of the anger she has.
- Hence analogies are comparisons that are helpful to point.
- We find ourselves saying, 'it is like.....but.....'.
- Religiously, analogies are the only option available given the difficulties of making univocal or equivocal statements about God.
Types of analogy
- Aquinas argued that language cannot be used literally of God.
- The writers of scripture certainly do use analogies but thinkers such as Aquinas suggest that even terms such as 'God is good' should be understood analogically.
- When I say that 'God is good' I cannot mean exactly the same as when I say that 'Gemma is good'.
- God's goodness must be on a different scale.
- Aquinas uses analogy in two different ways:
- analogy of attribution
- analogy of proportion.
Analogy of attribution
- The qualities that we ascribe to eachother are a reflection of the qualities of God.
- Davies - uses the example of the baker and bread.
- If we say that the bread is…