Humanity demands a [personal] God who can thus be recognized and worshiped. The instinct of reverence and homage, which evidently pervades the human heart, so much so that it has found its place as an attribute of humanity in all lands and all ages, requires, and cannot be satisfied with anything short of a personal God. In the view of the great masses of men, to deny the personality of God, is, to all practical purposes and results, much the same, as we have already intimated as to deny the existence of God. So that we run no hazard in saying, that a personal God is one of the great religious necessities of humanity. Religion is the interior and domestic tie, which makes the united family of the finite and the Infinite. And without a Being, who is not only supreme in his attributes, but who is approachable, and can be addressed and confided in, on the basis furnished by a deific personality, the human race is necessarily left in the condition of a bewildered and sorrowing orphanage.
And we may add that the opposite doctrine that which denies God’s personality, seems to us to be full of danger in other respects. It is not only the abnegation of religion, but of practical morality. The doctrine of impersonality, admitting that it sometimes comes before us with learned and imposing pretensions, will be found, if allowed to go unquestioned, to be attended not only with the rupture of God and man, but of man and his fellow-man. It is a doctrine which not only strikes boldly at the religious intuitions of the great heart of humanity, but is an inlet, through its want of practical power, to hostility, fraud, cruelty, and all varieties of crime. No theory of practical morals has ever been constructed on the basis of the impersonality of God, which is available against the mighty evils that continually imperil man’s social condition. The audacity of wrong and crime is not frightened by an abstraction. Nor is it much afraid of a positive principle of life, which has no self-regulated thought and volition. If it were possible for impersonality to leave us a God at all, which it is not, it would be a God with no eyes to see, and no ears to hear, and no hands to handle, and no head to think, and no heart to feel, and no will to execute; — a God, if any one should object to the material form of the expressions, with nothing which our spiritual eyes could see, or our spiritual ears could hear, or our hearts’ necessities could appeal to; — a God, in any light in which it is possible to consider him, without a voice to cheer us in our efforts to do right, and without a hand to help us against the dangers which would certainly assail and overwhelm us.
Edited from Absolute Religion (1873) Chapter 2 by Thomas Cogswell Upham
This post is taken from the blog, The Hidden Life, by Craig L Adams