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Don Stewart :: Does God Have a Physical Body?

Don Stewart

One of the things that many people wonder about God is His form. Does He have a physical or material body? What does God look like?

There are those who reason that since humanity is made in the image of God, and that we have a body, then God must also have a body. This assumes that the image of God is physical. But the Bible teaches that God does not have a body.

God Is Spirit

The Scriptures teach that God is Spirit. Jesus said: "God is Spirit" (John 4:24). By nature, God is a Spirit-being.

However a person defines spirit, the definition does not include flesh and bones. This can be seen in an encounter Jesus had with His disciples after His resurrection:

Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39).

Jesus clearly said a spirit does not have flesh and bones. God, therefore, being a spirit, does not have physical form.

God Is Invisible

A spirit is also invisible. Although God led Israel by means of a pillar of fire, He was never seen by the nation. Moses made this clear to the people.

You saw no form of any kind the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the fire. Therefore watch yourselves very carefully (Deuteronomy 4:15).

The Apostle Paul wrote.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).

He Is Known As The Invisible God

God is known as the invisible God.

But He said, "You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me, and live" (Exodus 33:20).

John wrote.

No one has seen God at any time. The one and only God who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him (John 1:18).

Paul testified.

For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:20)

To the Colossians he wrote.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation (Colossians 1:15).

Paul wrote to Timothy.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:17).

To Timothy again, Paul wrote.

Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:16).

He Is Not Subject To Limitations

As spirit, God is not subject to the limitations of a body as are human beings. He does not have any body parts, neither does He have human passions. God is not composed of any material elements. Therefore He cannot be seen without our natural eyes or experienced by our natural senses. In the Book of Job the question is raised.

Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty (Job 11:7).

The answer is no. God's depths and limits are not discoverable.

The Spirit Is Life

Spirit is not so much an attribute of God as it is a mode of His existence. God acts and exists as a spirit. Jesus said.

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life (John 6:63).

God Did Not Allow The Making Of Idols

In addition, God specifically forbade His people to make idols.

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God (Exodus 20:3-5).

Moses also wrote.

And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess. "Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, "lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, "the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, "the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. "And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage. "But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be his people, an inheritance, as you are this day (Deuteronomy 4:14-20).

Isaiah wrote.

To whom then will you liken me, or to whom shall I be equal says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25).

One of the reasons for this is because God is a Spirit.

God Became A Human

When Jesus came to earth two thousand years ago, He took upon Himself a human nature which included a body. Though He will forever be in that body, His Divine nature is not material. His body is a human body, not a divine body. Previously to His coming to earth, He did not possess a body.

He Does Not Have A Shadowy Existence

This does not mean that God lives in some shadowy existence. God is a real person with genuine existence. His nature cannot be fully appreciated by the human mind or described in an adequate manner by human language.

This Is Difficult To Comprehend

The fact that God is a personal Spirit is difficult to comprehend. We wonder, "How can something be personal without being material?" While we cannot understand how this can be so, this is what the Scripture says concerning the nature of God. Consequently we accept it by faith.

Summary

The Bible teaches that God is spirit. A spirit, by definition, is invisible. It does not have any physical form. God, therefore, has no physical form. This is one of the reasons that the Lord did not allow idols of him to be made. How God can exist as a spirit without any sort of body is a divine mystery.

The Bible speaks of God as the invisible God.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, took upon Himself human nature including a physical form when He came to the earth, but did not possess a divine body.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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