Scriptures

Does God Have A Physical Body?

Introduction

To most Christians, asking if God has a physical body seems like a really strange question, however there are those in the religious arena who sincerely believe that God has indeed got a physical body. They get this idea from several passages within the Scriptures that appear to teach that God has a body.

Examples

In the Book of Genesis we read about God speaking, Genesis 1:3, we read about God seeing, Genesis 1:4, we read about God walking, Genesis 3:8. We also read about God making clothes for Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:21, and we read about God smelling the sweet aroma from Noah’s sacrifice, Genesis 8:21.

In the Book of Leviticus, we read about God having a face, Leviticus 20:6, we read the same in the Book of Numbers, Numbers 6:25. The Book of Deuteronomy speaks about ‘the arms of God’, Deuteronomy 33:27 / Deuteronomy 4:34 / Deuteronomy 5:15, as does the Book of Psalms, Psalm 89:10.

The Book of Exodus speaks about ‘God’s arms being stretched out’, Exodus 6:6, it also speaks about God having hands, Exodus 7:5. The Book of 2 Kings speaks about the ears and eyes of the Lord, 2 Kings 19:16 as does the Book of Psalms, Psalm 34:15. The Book of Isaiah speaks of God have those hands stretched out, Isaiah 23:11, it also speaks of God as having feet, Isaiah 66:1.

The questions we need to ask ourselves is simply this, do these verses imply that God has vocal cords and eyes with pupils and retinas, does He have a face, legs, hands and a nose? Does He have arms, ears and eyes?

Throughout the Scriptures we find figurative language being used, and throughout the Scriptures we find God describing Himself with human characteristics. This is called Anthropomorphisms, which is a long, fancy Greek word which means a figure of speech, a figure of speech which represent God as having human characteristics, or personality.

God is also referred to as having various emotions that are also considered anthropomorphisms. God has the emotion of sorrow, Genesis 6:6, He is jealous, Exodus 20:5, He grieves, Isaiah 54:6, and He gets angry, Psalm 7:11. In other words, all these figures of speech are used to help us understand God in human terms, which in turn, helps us to be able to relate to Him in human terms.

God Is Spirit

‘God is spirit.’ John 4:24

How anyone can claim that God has a physical body is beyond me, especially in light of what Jesus Himself declared to the woman at the well, He openly tells her, ‘God is spirit’, John 4:24.

Those who sincerely believe that God has a physical body usually tell us that it’s our understanding of the word ‘spirit’ which is wrong, but however anyone defines the word ‘spirit’, we know this much is true, the definition does not include flesh and bones.

Remember when Jesus appeared to His disciples after He rose from the grave? Remember what He said to them?

‘Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; A SPIRIT DOES NOT HAVE FLESH AND BONES, as you see I have.’ Luke 24:39

There is no misunderstanding what Jesus says here, He clearly says, ‘a spirit does not have flesh and bones.’ In other words, God, by nature being a spirit, does not have physical form. God is not material and does not have a body, so He is not visible to, or discernible by, our bodily senses.

Conclusion

In the few examples we’ve looked at, we find that God is often spoken of as having human body parts in a figurative manner. These body parts are used figuratively in reference to an attribute or concept regarding God rather than a physical body part. These figures of speech are used to help us understand God in human terms, which in turn, helps us to be able to relate to Him in human terms.

It’s one thing to take certain passages of Scripture which are clearly figurative in nature and interpret them literally, but its another thing to create a whole new doctrine out of them, no matter how sincere people are.

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship."

Romans 12:1

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