Xenophanes of Colophon was an ancient Greek philosopher ( 570 – 480 BC) who is one of first recorded critics of anthropomorphic gods.
“Mortals deem that the gods are begotten as they are,
and have clothes like theirs, and voice and form” (Diels-Kranz (D-K), fragment 14)”
Xenophanes is drawing our attention to what has been an issue with religion for centuries. Individuals often imagine their own God to look like them, to speak like them, and even have a specific gender. Xenophanes says,
“But if cattle and horses and lions had hands
or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do,
horses like horses and cattle like cattle
also would depict the gods’ shapes and make their bodies
of such a sort as the form they themselves have” (Fragment 15 (D-K)).
While Xenophanes was critical of religion, he wasn’t an atheist. He believed that there was One God that wasn’t in form or shape of humans. He believed the One God to encompass the whole universe in spherical form. God exercised control over the whole universe but was disinterested in human affairs. Xenophane’s God can best be described as monotheistic, pantheistic, or pandeistic.
The question, of course, is did his view of one divine being existing spherically throughout the cosmos influence the Stoic’s conception of the divine?