God's Body In The Bible
God has a body of flesh and bones. The
testimony of modern prophets and other witnesses prove it.
The Bible proves it, too.
is perhaps the best proof.
The first context is that God was
always anthropomorphic to the original Jews. We know this
to be true because the main thing the Jews involved in
translating the Hebrew Bible into the Septuagint did was
change the anthropomorphic manifestations into visits by
angels or spiritualized events. Gen 1:26-27 and 5:3, which
I discuss below, is a perfect example. Though the Hebrew
uses the identical "image" and "likeness" in the verses, the
Septuagint changes likeness to form, and inverts their
order, making the parallel imagery less obvious.
No one picking up the Bible for the
first time and letting it speak for itself draws the wrong
conclusion. Man looks like God. God walks (Hebr.
Halak, hith. tense, to walk about or traverse)in
a visable form (see JFB Commentary for Gen 3) in the Garden
(Gen 3:8) and they hear his voice (Gen 3:10). Man's
moral character does not accrue until Gen 3:22, when God
notes man is now
become enabled with the ability to know good and evil.
Honor, goodness, all moral attributes do not and cannot
exist outside of the realm of choice. There is no nobility
A person starting in Genesis 1 and
getting through Genesis 3 is confronted by a
God with legs,
a voice and
who apparently men
resemble. The Bible makes no mention or
implication that God stops having these physical
characteristics. In fact the Bible teaches that
though God cannot be contained (Hebrew:
that is restrained or confined) to heaven or an Earthly
temple (1 Kings 8:27), God does in fact have a specific
location where He dwells, that is Heaven, where he comes and
goes freely (1 Kings 8:30, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49, 57). We
could have looked up dozens of other passages, but this
section of 1 Kings 8 is the one most often misapplied when
Trinitarians are trying to assert a non-corporeal God is
omnipresent. The chapter is in fact totally supportive of
God having a specific location in the universe. Quacks like
a duck, walks like a duck.
Trinitarian desires notwithstanding,
the word image (tselem) means:
1. images (of tumours, mice, heathen
2. image, likeness (of resemblance)
3. mere, empty, image, semblance
It means to have a physical
resemblance, or look as something appears physically.
Physically? Yes, we know this because the translators of
the Septuagint used the word Eikon. Look up Matt 22:20,
Mark 12:16, Lk 20:24. Actually, it is used of outward
appearance (Greek meaning). The two most interesting uses
are 2Cor 4:4 (Christ is the image of God, i.e. outward
appearance) and Rev 20:4. Do we think the Septuagint
scholars were just ignorant of the words they selected?
While they had an agenda to make God invisible and out of
reach, they stood more than 2000 years closer to the
original Hebrew usage, making their opinions and vocabulary
important to understanding the Bible. Knowing they had been
Hellenized philosophically allows us to carefully note the
differences between the translations, and understand more
fully both texts.
My position is strongly LDS, and yet is
completely supported from the text without need to appeal to
LDS theology for proof-texting. I conclude the
anthropomorphic view of God (really theomorphic view of man,
since God came first) is a Biblically based doctrine not
needing to be changed or renounced since it is more Biblical
than those "Bible thumpers" who require me to skew the text
to conform to their theology. I am certain Moses would be
distressed to find his writings being interpreted through a
Hellenized lens of neo-Platonism after he personally had
seen God and spoken with him face to face (or at least “body
to body”, since it was only the face of God which carried
the pain of death upon its viewing, and his body parts are
"Choose ye this day" is still good
I find when Mormons assert things
without citations, we are often accused of blindly following
Church leaders without understanding the real linguistic or
theological issues. On the other hand, when we provide
lengthy, scholarly and linguistically based responses, we
are often accused of obfuscation or spinning. In either
case, usually what we actually teach or believe is still
considered less important than what the critics say we do.
So if I am darned either way, I will opt for thoroughness.