“For the Bible states: “He that loveth

“For thousands of years mankind has had a
spiritual need and yearning. Man has lived with his trials and burdens, his
doubts and questions, including the enigma of death. Religious feelings have
been expressed in many different ways as people have turned to God or their gods,
seeking blessings and solace” (Why 7). Romantic poet William Blake questioned this
human practice in his poem, “The Divine Image,” through use of personification,
Biblical allusion, repetitive diction, and parallelism. Using these literary devices,
Blake conveys a cynical tone towards the idea of religion in general.

 A foremost example of
personification and Biblical allusion is found in lines 5-6, where the speaker


Is God” (Blake).

This alludes to 1 John 4:8, where
the Bible states: “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love”(King). Regarding
this verse, the book Draw Close to
Jehovah states: ” ‘God is love’ is not a simple equation, as if
to say, “God equals love.” We cannot
rightly reverse the statement and say that “love is God.” Jehovah is much
more than an abstract quality. He is a person with a wide array of feelings and
characteristics in addition to love Italics mine”(He). Yet, Blake says that
love is God, thus personifying love! The implication is that Jehovah God is
just an abstract quality. Thus, God is minimized from a Person to a mere
concept, and a tone of cynicism toward God is introduced.

            Repetitive diction also conveys a
cynical tone toward the concept of religion. Note that the phrase “Mercy, Pity,
Peace, and Love” is repeated in whole, in part, and reworded a total of nine
times (Blake).1 The
context shows that Blake has made the conclusion that “every man of every clime
That prays in his distress, Prays to…Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace”(Blake). In the
context of this statement, it is clear that by repeating these qualities, Blake
minimizes the essence of all religion to those four qualities. In addition, the
repetition of the word “every” in the above excerpt further minimizes the
message of all religions.

Finally, parallel structure is used to claim that religion
is nothing more than the self-glorification of Man. An instance of parallelism
is found in lines 5-8, where Blake states:

 “For Mercy, Pity,
Peace, and Love

   Is God, our father

   And Mercy, Pity,
Peace, and Love,

    Is Man, his child
and care.”

Here, lines 5 and 7 repeat the same phrase as the first part of the
sentence. The next lines, lines 6 and 8, have the same general structure, but
define the same qualities attributed to God as being attributed to man. Thus,
in the eyes of Blake, Man is equal to God. While it is true that these lines
may be a Biblical allusion to Genesis 1:26, where God decides to create man in
His image, lines 17-18 suggests that the former interpretation is more
appropriate when it states: “And all must love the human form, in heathen, Turk,
and Jew”(Blake, New). Thus, self-gratification is endorsed in a sarcastic way. The
tone of cynicism further minimizes the importance of religion.

summary, Biblical allusions and personification minimize the importance of God.
Repetitive diction minimizes the importance of religion. Finally, parallelism is
used to claim that religion is used for the self-glorification of man as a god.
All these aspects combine to create a cynical tone toward God and religion. It
is interesting to note that this cynical attitude toward religion is shown in
the Bible as a saying originally uttered by Satan the Devil, as recorded Job
1:9,10, and 2:42.
In particular, note Job 1:10, quoted in the footnote. The Devil claimed that
Job only served God for the blessing, and then extended that claim to all men
in Job 2:4. 3
Since the Bible also says that “the whole world is lying in the power of the
wicked one” at 1 John 5:19, it is not surprising that the same view was
expressed centuries later (New).






















Works Cited

Blake, William. “The
Divine Image.” Poets.org, Academy of American Poets, 23 July 2015,

“‘He First Loved
Us.'” Draw Close to Jehovah, 2014th ed., Watchtower Bible and Tract
Society of New York, 2014, pp. 231–239. Watchtower Library.

“How Can You Become
God’s Friend?” What Can The Bible Teach Us?, Watchtower Bible and
Tract Society of New York, 2015, pp. 124–132. Watchtower Library.

King James Version. Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY,

New World Translation
of the Holy Scriptures.
2013th ed., Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 2013. Watchtower

New World Translation
of the Holy Scriptures.
2013th ed., Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 2013. Watchtower

New World Translation
of the Holy Scriptures.
2013th ed., Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, 2013. Watchtower
ONLINE LIBRARY, wol.jw.org/en/wol/l/r1/lp-e?q=Gen+1%3A26.

“Why Be Interested in
Other Religions?” Mankind’s Search for God, Watchtower Bible and
Tract Society of New York, 1990, pp. 5–18. Watchtower Library.

These references are found in lines 1,5,7,9,10,11,12,16, and 19.

2 (Job
1:9, 10) At that Satan answered Jehovah: “Is it for nothing that Job has
feared God? 10 Have you not put up a protective hedge
around him and his house and everything he has? You have blessed the work of
his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land” (New).

(Job 2:4) But Satan answered Jehovah: “Skin for skin. A
man will give everything that he has for his life”(New).

3 The
book What Can the Bible Teach Us?,
published by Jehovah’s Witnesses, says regarding this verse:

At Job 2:4, Satan claimed: “A man will
give everything that he has for his life.” So Satan accuses all men and
women of being selfish, not just Job. Hundreds of years after Job died, Satan
was still insulting Jehovah and accusing his servants. For example, at Proverbs
27:11, we read: “Be wise, my son, and make my heart rejoice, so that I can make
a reply to him who taunts or, insults me”(How 127).