And Therefore a Body
So if God has a body what sort of a body is it? God himself rarely paid a physical visit to earth but his body when he did ‘materialise’ for Moses, his favoured one, the scriptural description identifies several attributes:
20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.
21 And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock:
22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. (Exodus 33)
So we know that in this manifestation God has a face, hand and a back (which presumably means he also has a front where his face was). The questions we do not yet have answered though are whether this in any way relates to his composition in Heaven or indeed whether he started out as pure spirit and created his own body or whether his body predates any of his creation works.
So let us look at scriptures that indicate that God may have further body parts such as a shoulder:
9 And it occurred that as soon as he turned his shoulder to go from Samuel, God began changing the heart of his into another; and all these signs proceeded to come true on that day. (1 Samuel 10)
Whilst the following passage is from a vision of Micaiah, how far should we take the literal translation to be purely symbolic?
19 And he went on to say: “Therefore hear the word of Jehovah: I certainly see Jehovah sitting upon his throne and all the army of the heavens standing by him, to his right and to his left.
20 And Jehovah proceeded to say, ‘Who will fool A'hab, that he may go up and fall at Ra'moth-gil'e·ad?’ And this one began to say something like this, while that one was saying something like that.
21 Finally a spirit came out and stood before Jehovah and said, ‘I myself shall fool him.’ At that Jehovah said to him, ‘By what means?’ (1 Kings 22)
Jehovah sitting while a spirit stood before him implies that both angels and God have legs upon which they may choose to stand or not. Sitting also implies that God himself has ‘back parts’ in God’s own words (I dare not use mine) upon which he sits. Also he has a left and a right side as well as a front and back as previously described.
Furthermore it would appear that our God has a voice that enables him to engage in discussion with humans since it was audible to Adam and Eve. So presumably God has a mouth with a tongue:
8 And they heard the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? (Genesis 3)
Oh yes, and it looks like the above scripture confirms that God has legs since he was taking a stroll in his garden! And eyes to see (presumably in his face?):
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6)
And an ear to hear by:
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17)
Well more than one actually (presumably two for a stereo effect?):
7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears. (2Samuel 22)
And, as if further confirmation was required, the complete wherewithal to have a conversation with Abraham with presumably, at the very least, all the necessary sensory and communication equipment that any man possesses about his created person:
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. (Genesis 18)
Oh yes and we were expecting a mouth, but not a nose as well:
9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. (2Samuel 22)
And feet to stand on (presumably at the end of his legs):
10 and they got to see the God of Israel. And under his feet there was what seemed like a work of sapphire flagstones and like the very heavens for purity. (Exodus 24)
And an arm to connect his hand with his shoulder:
15 And you must remember that you became a slave in the land of Egypt and Jehovah your God proceeded to bring you out from there with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. That is why Jehovah your God commanded you to carry on the sabbath day. (Deuteronomy 5)
Oh yes and a nose to breath with:
8 And by a breath from your nostrils waters were heaped up; They stood still like a dam of floods; The surging waters were congealed in the heart of the sea. (Exodus 15)
And smell by:
21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. (Genesis 8)
Eyes to see and a heart; could this be a physical heart or a purely spiritual one?
16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. (2Chronicles 7)
Er, and God has bowels (that make soundings!!):
15 Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained? (Isaiah 63)
Complete with eyelids to enable them to be closed (the eyes not the bowels!):
4 The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. (Psalms 11)
So either directly from the above scriptures or by reasonable logical, albeit human, deduction these define a fairly complete set of divine corporeal features that any man would find equivalence with about his own created person:
So certainly in God’s dealings with man, either through his direct manifestation to man or the description of his ‘physical’ attributes as presented through his Word in scripture, it would appear that God is telling us that we are in his image in more than spirit but also in soul and therefore body. This appears to be the case also when He is in session with his sons the angels who might arguably be of a similar ‘physical’ configuration themselves. Presumably this might be a heavenly version of a physical body which is well outside our present understandings but nonetheless it seems that some form of ‘physical’ body is a necessary vehicle to contain the spirit of all spirit creatures in heaven and upon the earth.
God has a Soul
The first clue is to be found in Leviticus:
11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. (Leviticus 26)
So it would appear that God has a soul. Whilst not a surprising result in itself, our present understandings of the definition of a soul would indicate that this comprises both spirit and body (See Introduction I9 What is a soul, What is a Spirit?). Therefore this would suggest that God is not just spirit but also has his spirit contained within some almighty corporeal entity, i.e. a divine body.
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Adam Created in God's Image
The Body of God
Whilst man was made in the image of God it might be interesting to consider just how like God Man really is from reviewing relevant scriptures on this theme. In a previous understanding we have already looked at the spiritual side of this comparison so now we will look at the physical side of that coin and if indeed there is a physical aspect.
The Body of God
Jewish Lords' Witness
So what have we learned about the nature of our Holy Father? Well:
1. God has a soul.
2. And therefore both a body and a spirit
3. God’s body would appear to be manifested both in heaven as well as earth when he is communing with his sons.
4. God ‘started’ as pure spirit and created for himself a body to aid his communication with his sons.
5. Mankind was made in the image of God’s soul both body and spirit.
The Body Created
Let us examine the nature of our God a little further. The following two scriptures throw some light on this:
24 God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4)
4 God’s own spirit made me, And the Almighty’s own breath proceeded to bring me to life. (Job 33)
So it would appear that John described Jehovah as a spirit and that indeed is the essence of God and of man and the angels also. From Job we learn that God’s spirit made Job but that it took God’s breath to bring him to (a physical) life, i.e. to create Job as a complete living soul, a breather. So spirit begets spirit and soul begets soul. But if God is spirit how did God get to be a soul? Given that God’s spirit has creative ability well beyond mankind’s understanding then it is not unreasonable to deduct from this that God ‘started’ as a pure spirit. When he ‘discovered’ his creative abilities and he decided that he wanted to create fellow spirit creatures he realised that he needed a means for communicating with his sons and they amongst themselves. This would also be a means of spirit creatures getting things done with/in creation. So he made himself a ‘body’ that would form the archetype for those of his created sons and so the ‘soul’ was created. Isaiah clearly identifies the combination of the physical with the spiritual in God’s creation:
5 This is what the [true] God, Jehovah, has said, the Creator of the heavens and the Grand One stretching them out; the One laying out the earth and its produce, the One giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it: (Isaiah 42)
And some examples of bodily activity of God and man:
11 And I shall certainly put my tabernacle in the midst of YOU, and my soul will not abhor YOU.
12 And I shall indeed walk in the midst of YOU and prove myself YOUR God, and YOU, on YOUR part, will prove yourselves my people. (Leviticus 26)
7 For Jehovah your God has blessed you in every deed of your hand. He well knows of your walking through this great wilderness. These forty years Jehovah your God has been with you. You have not lacked a thing.”’ (Deuteronomy 2)
7 During all the time that I have walked about among all the sons of Israel, was there a word that I spoke with one of the tribes of Israel that I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why did YOU people not build me a house of cedars?’ (2 Samuel 7)