Exodus 31:18—Does God have fingers?

Problem: This verse says that the Ten Commandments were “written with the finger of God.” But, elsewhere the Bible insists that “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and that spirits do not have “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). How, then, can God have fingers?

Solution: God does not literally have fingers. The phrase “finger of God” is a figure of speech indicating God’s direct involvement in producing the Ten Commandments. It is called an anthropomorphism (speaking of God in human terms).

The Bible uses many figures of speech when referring to God, including “arm” (Deut. 7:19), “wings” (Ps. 91:4), and “eyes” (Heb. 4:13). None of these should be taken literally, though all of them depict something that is literally true of God. For example, although God does not have literal arms, nonetheless, it is literally true that God can and does extend His strength to do great things that, were humans to do, it would require strong arms.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.