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Bible verses about God's Body
(From Forerunner Commentary)

The Bible provides enough testimony to show that God and angels are not universal nothingness floating around in nowhere. God is not universal mind, conscience, or goodness. He is not an abstract power filling all of space. Except for the vast difference in power and in potential, the only significant difference between men and God is that mankind is earthly flesh and bone in whose mortal bodies' life is in the blood. God's body is also flesh and bone, but it is spirit, immortal, perfect, and self-existent.

This has practical ramifications that must be explored because it means that God cannot be omnipresent in body. He is one place at one time, and every biblical description shows Him at one place at one time participating in, working within, and observing His creation. The Bible shows Him sitting, standing, walking, talking, eating, drinking, commanding, creating—and He is always doing it in a specific location.

There is absolutely no mention of God's size anywhere in the Bible. When men saw Him, they did not exclaim, "Oh, He's as big as a chestnut tree!" or, "Why, He's as big as Goliath!" It is entirely possible that Goliath was a great deal larger than God is. It does say that, when God became a man, Jesus Christ, there was nothing about Him that we should desire Him. There was nothing outstanding in terms of the way He looked. He was able to pass through crowds and lose Himself among the Jews, people who looked just as human as we do. He did not glow or shine in glory.

Unlike Saul, He was not taller than everybody else, nor was He more muscular. As Isaiah 53:2 says, there was nothing about Him that we should desire Him. The only things that the Bible remarks about are His character and His powerful teaching. No man ever spoke as He did (Matthew 7:28-29).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 4)


 

Genesis 18:1-9  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Lord appeared, and Abraham saw Him coming. What did He look like? He looked like a man. But it was the Lord because Abraham bowed down and worshipped Him, and the Lord did not reject his worship.

In verse 4, Abraham says, "Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet." God has feet. Then he says in verse 5, "And I will bring a morsel of bread." We find that God took the bread and the meat, and the three of them ate. He spoke, so He had a voice, and He conversed with Abraham and Sarah.

God shows other qualities here that are interesting to think about. How long did it take Abraham to run, order a calf killed, have someone slaughter it, bleed it, skin it, butcher it, roast the meat, and then serve it to Him? It must have taken a few hours at least. In the meantime, God is sitting under a tree, and He is at the same time running the whole universe. He must have been handling all of the other things that go on in the universe from that chair or pillow He was sitting on.

Do we ever feel rushed because we have too many things to do? Yet, here is the busiest Being in all of creation, and He had enough time to sit down, wash His feet, and wait patiently while they made Him a meal. Do we ever become impatient? In this example, we see patience exemplified.

So, we see God exhibits qualities other than form and shape, even though they may not be mentioned directly.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Exodus 33:22-23  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Moses asked to see Him in His glory, and in His glory God still had shape and form. He still was solid; He held His hand over Moses' eyes so the man could not see through it, and he must have felt the pressure of the hand on him. If Moses saw God's back side, God must also have a front side.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Matthew 17:1-5  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When Peter recollected in II Peter 1:16, he was recalling the event in Matthew 17. When Jesus was transfigured, glorified before them, He did not take on a different shape and form than He had before. He still had a recognizable face. He still had clothing on, but everything became shining and bright. Undoubtedly, this was done to impress on the minds of these three men that this Jesus was God in the flesh.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Luke 24:36-40  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Consider the context and the time. He is resurrected, composed of Spirit. He is God. Does He indicate at all that being in the body is only a part-time experience for God? No, instead He teaches them that a spirit being's body is not vaporous like a ghost and that it is not composed of earthly flesh and bone.

The implications are important in relation to other parts of the Bible. In this case, what He does not say is important because He wants them to answer in their own minds just the opposite of what they originally thought, "This is a ghost. It has no form or shape."

Yes, He did have form and shape, and it was solid to the touch. They felt Him, and their hands did not pass through Him. He is saying that He has flesh and bones, but they are not physical. They are spirit flesh and bones.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

Luke 24:36-39  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This passage makes it very plain that God in composition is spirit, that He does have form, that He is solid, and He has skin and bones. The description even includes scars in His hands and feet!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 1)


 

Luke 24:39  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This is not an angel but the resurrected Christ, formerly a human being. By means of a resurrection, He has gone through a transformation, and now He is God, a Spirit. He says, "Feel me. I'm not a ghost. I am solid." So they felt Him, and sure enough, He was solid.

He would not have invited them to feel Him if He did not have substance, and this was probably included in the Bible so that we would understand what our potential is. We are not going to be ghosts—we are going to be like Christ, as it says in Philippians 3:20-21. We will have a body like His glorious body, and His body has substance. Yet, even though it was substantial, the wall presented absolutely no problem: He apparently went right through it. He did not have to open the door to enter the room.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

John 4:24  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God is Spirit, and nowhere, not even in one verse, does it say that God does not have a body. He is perfect, immortal, infinite, immutable, self-existing, omnipotent, omniscient, invisible, impartial, absolutely holy, full of knowledge and wisdom, and sufficient to provide for His entire creation.

Like any other person He has names, and in His case, many names. And just as our names identify us as specific individuals, His names identify Him. He has titles by which He is known. Men and women have titles by which they are known.

The Bible shows that He has a head, hair, face, arms, fingers, hands, waist, loins, eyes, eyelids, nostrils, ears, mouth, lips, tongue, breath, feet, and back parts. God even speaks of His heart! He rests, but He does not get tired. He feels things. He eats and drinks, and the alcohol in wine, as Judges 9:13 says, has an effect on Him: It cheers His heart. He laughs. He becomes angry. He speaks in a small still voice; He roars from Zion. As a man, He wept. Sounds a great deal like us, does it not? It should because we are made in His image and likeness.

But there is even more. He goes about from place to place in a body, just like anybody else. He rides in a vehicle. He walks. He plants. He works. He lives in a spiritual place called heaven.

Yet, despite all these biblical descriptions, the men and women who claim that God has no body never cite any other passage except John 4:24 as proof. But He has revealed Himself in so many different ways in His Word that what these people say turns God into a liar who deceives mankind about what He is like.

Let us be clear: John 4:24 does not teach that God has no body. It, plus a multitude of passages that we have read or alluded to, expand our understanding about the properties of spirit—about what spirit bodies are like. Spirit is just as real as matter, except that it is a much higher type of substance and is governed by higher laws.

John 4:24 is a statement of fact, but it does not define or analyze spirit. The properties of spirit are described throughout the Bible, as those who actually saw and heard God and interacted with Him reported their experiences. Either they are right, or these modern writers are. They cannot both be right because they contradict each other. Which will we believe?

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 15:35  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Do things ever change, or do the same questions keep coming around all the time? This sounds as modern as last year—God has no body. So people in the first century were questioning what kinds of body the sons of God will have in the resurrection. Why were they questioning that? Because there were undoubtedly people, most likely of the Gnostic persuasion, who were saying that God does not have a body. And, they argued, since we are to be made in the image of God, we will not have a body either.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

1 Corinthians 15:49  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The "heavenly Man" is Jesus Christ. We will be transformed to be like His glorious body. If we are to have a body, which will be like His, then He must also have a body now. When God restored Him to His former glory (Jesus' prayer in John 17:3-5 requests He be restored to the glory He had with the Father before the world was), He then returned to the kind of body He had before when He was the model for Adam.

Do we understand what this means? When He was resurrected, He was restored to what He was before when He was the model for mankind. As the model for Adam, He was like He was when He was resurrected. He was God. The composition was spirit, not flesh, but His body had shape and solidity (remember that He was touched in His resurrection appearances).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Philippians 3:21  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

When Jesus was resurrected, He took pains to make it clear to His disciples that He was not a ghost, not merely an essence. He had flesh and bone. He was plainly saying that there was substance to what He was then—and thus to what He is today.

To put it bluntly, He was saying that He was corporeal. Corporeal from Webster's means "having tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, and resistance to force." If a person leans against the wall, it resists him. Why? Because it is solid, tangible. If Jesus was not solid, whenever His disciples stretched their hands out to Him or perhaps ran their fingers against the palm of His hand where the nail marks were, they would have felt nothing, yet there was substance.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Revelation 7:9-12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The Bible tells us that all the redeemed will see God's face. Here is a picture of the redeemed, projected forward to the time when they are in the Kingdom of God before His throne. What are they looking at? The Bible says they will see His face.

God has a face, prosopon, which literally means "toward." It also means "the eye" or "the face." When used in reference to a person, it means "the part toward, at, or around the eye," "the face," or "the countenance."

Why would John use this word? When one person is talking with another, they are looking at each other, beholding what is toward each one, and the focus of their attention is on the other's face, that is, the eyes and what is around them. Hence, this word is almost variably translated face, countenance, presence, or person in the New Testament, depending on how expansive the context is.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

 




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