Psalm 139:8-10, Personifying God

If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.  

//Yesterday, I asked if it was acceptable to interpret God walking in the Garden of Eden in a non-literal way. God doesn’t really have feet, does he?

Today’s verse makes it clear that at least some Bible writers understood the usefulness of personification. Very early on, God was recognized as being omni-present, a part of the reality all around and within us. If we make our bed in hell, God is down there with us, unlimited by space. As Paul explains, we live in God, God lives in us, a reality that is all-encompassing, if a bit panentheistic.

Then we come to the end of today’s verses and read that God’s hand will lead and hold us. Personification and omnipresence curiously intermingle in a manner that makes it clear the psalmist is speaking figuratively. God’s hand is everywhere at once. While a personal God is most effectively expressed through personification, we all recognize this as a literary device. 

Now let’s go back to Adam and Even in the garden. If God doesn’t really have feet and hands, what does it mean to be made in the image of God?

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