Muslims & Biblical Anthropomorphism

And I have spoken unto the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and by the hand of the prophets I use metaphor.” (Hosea 12:11)
וְדִבַּרְתִּי, עַל-הַנְּבִיאִים, וְאָנֹכִי, חָזוֹן הִרְבֵּיתִי; וּבְיַד הַנְּבִיאִים, אֲדַמֶּה
God is unseen, yet it says in Exodus 24:9-10,
Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet like a paved work of a sapphire stone, like the very heavens for clearness.”
וַיַּעַל מֹשֶׁה, וְאַהֲרֹן–נָדָב, וַאֲבִיהוּא, וְשִׁבְעִים, מִזִּקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
וַיִּרְאוּ, אֵת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְתַחַת רַגְלָיו, כְּמַעֲשֵׂה לִבְנַת הַסַּפִּיר, וּכְעֶצֶם הַשָּׁמַיִם, לָטֹהַר
The Torah, which includes your quote from Exodus, says explicitly that no one can seen G-d (Ex. 33:20; Deu. 4:12, 4:15-16). This means that passages like the one you quote are METAPHORS. The Jewish Bible says explicitly that they are METAPHORS (Num. 12:6; Hos. 12:10). They did not happen literally / physically.
…for no man alive shall see Me.
(Exodus 33:20)
כִּי לֹא-יִרְאַנִי הָאָדָם, וָחָי
…a sound of words you heard, but no physical form did you see…
(Deuteronomy 4:12)
קוֹל דְּבָרִים אַתֶּם שֹׁמְעִים, וּתְמוּנָה אֵינְכֶם רֹאִים
…you saw no physical form during the period that the L-RD spoke to you at Horeb […] whether the likeness of male or female...”
You are including Exodus in the Torah! Doesn’t this prove that the Torah is corrupted?!
Do you think the Qur’an is corrupted because it includes different sections (surat)? No.
You can not say that the Bible is corrupted just because it contains different sections. That is illogical. Every book in the world contains different sections.
The Jewish Bible contains several books. The books of the Jewish Bible (the “Tanakh“) are divided into 3 main sections. The first main section is called “Torah.” THE Torah, the “Torah of Moses,” is only one book. The hand-written Torah that we read from in our places of worship is only one book in the form of one scroll. It contains no separations in the text such as verse numbers, chapter numbers, or section headings. The machine-printed copies of Torah that we keep on a bookshelves in libraries or at home have page numbers added to each page. This is not a corruption. The page numbers are added to help guide you in study. In addition to page numbers, a machine-printed Torah contains 5 main sections: Bereshyeeth (Genesis), Shemoth (Exodus), Wa-yiqra (Leviticus), Ba-midbar (Numbers), and Devareem (Deuteronomy).
IF you think the Torah is corrupted because we refer to it as having 5 sections just as a means of reference, then what should I think about the Qur’an which has many many more than just 5 sections?
Also, I presume you have read the Qur’an. Believe it or not, I have as well, albeit in translation. You can not complain that I relied on an English translation of the Qur’an unless you have already learned Hebrew and study the Bible in Hebrew. Have you done this?
Now, you are claiming that the Bible is corrupted because it refers to G-d as having a “face,” or a “hand,” and other apparently physical characteristics. I already explained that the Bible itself says that these terms are only metaphors and figures of speech. If you find this unacceptable, then perhaps I should consider the Qur’an unacceptable for doing just the same thing! I have compiled a list of many places where the Qur’an also refers to Allah as having a “face,” “hand,” etc… There is even a passage that refers to throwing Allah behind one’s back! Is He an idol that you can throw behind your back? May G-d have mercy! And yet, unlike the Bible which explicitly teaches that the Bible’s use of such terminology is metaphorical and not literal, at least Sunni Muslims have a tendency to take them literally at least to the extent that once they enter the Garden (“Heaven”), they will actually be able to see Allah! G-d have mercy!
But wait! What does the source actually say?
Al-’imam Abu Hanifah, radiya-l-lahu anhu, said in al-Fiqh al-’Akbar: 

Allah ta’ala is seen in the Hereafter. The believers will see Him while they are in Paradise. [They will see Him] without any likeness, ascription, and quantity and there will not be any distance between Him and his creations.‘”

So likewise, when the Bible refers to “seeing” G-d, it isn’t referring to literally seeing G-d or even conceptually grasping what He is. “Seeing G-d” refers to an elevated awareness of how absolute and true His Existence is. “Seeing G-d” is a heightened realization of G-d’s nearness to His creation, not in a physical sense, but by means of His knowing, interacting with, and sustaining all things at all times.
No eye (whether physical or spiritual perception) can grasp the sublimeness of our Creator. No eye shall ever see Him, nor even a part of Him, for He has no parts; and no corporeal attributes apply to Him, exalted be He.


Yosef E.

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