Robinson, “Religious Ideas of the Old Testament,” Studies in Theology, pp 60-61.
The personal name, Yahweh, denotes a personality and character which are, in many respects, as distinct and clear-cut as those of any human figure in the Old Testament.
The attributes of a storm-god are frequently ascribed to Yahweh, but, within the historic period, these are no more than favorite forms of His manifestation. Behind the thunder which is His voice, the cloud which is His chariot, the hail and lightning which are His weapons, there stands a personal being whose thought, feelings and will are as real as those of men.
The divine personality has, of course, a range of activity, with modes of perception and operation, which far surpass those of human personality. But, at the center of this activity, according to the faith of the earlier centuries at least, there is a personal nature so much like man’s that it can be expected to manifest itself like his. That is why the Old Testament affords so vivid a portrait of Yahweh. He sets about making the first man as a human potter would, though the life-giving breath He imparts differentiates the result from any work of man. He walks in the garden He has planted, just as a man would, to enjoy the cool of the evening, and His suspicions are aroused by the concealment of the man and woman, and confirmed by questioning, in human fashion; but He has a far-reaching power to punish the guilty. He ‘comes down’ to see the tower which men, in their presumption, are building, and He scatters them from the same motives that would actuate some human king, whose sovereignty was imperiled by the doings of his subjects; but the action He takes has results that extend beyond the power of men.
Yahweh even repents of having made man, and takes measures to destroy him, but the smell of Noah’s sacrifice is so sweet in His nostrils that He never repeats the Flood. These statements and others like them in the earliest literature are not figures of speech. They show just that imaginative mingling of human and superhuman characteristics which is ever found on the palette of the man who is trying to paint a picture of God.