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Bible verses about God's Form and Shape
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 1:26

The actual creation of Adam and Eve and the placing of them in the Garden of Eden was not an end in itself but only a necessary step at the beginning of a process that continues right down to today.

God is creating a community.

From the very beginning, God implies the expansion of His own community. He says, "Let Us," indicating a community already exists. Man was made, physically, in God's image, and he begins with characteristics of shape and form in common with his Maker. The rest of the Bible fills in the details of how mankind is being brought from having not only form and shape in common with his Maker, but also character, so that he fits perfectly into the community that the Maker is expanding.

When the Son of God came, He came with a message from His Father. Jesus gave as the title to the message that He brought, "the good news of the Kingdom of God" (Mark 1:14-15). This is the Boss Himself, and this is the title He Himself gave. It was the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Is there any doubt in our minds that God is forming a community? Is there any doubt that Jesus Christ will rule this community, first, and that afterward, He will turn everything over to the Father? (I Corinthians 15:28)? There is nothing ambiguous here. Is God forming a community?

The important thing for us is what ramifications the good news of the Kingdom of God has on the way we live our lives. In the course of the unfolding of Christ's ministry, and the apostles' afterward, we find some interesting things that have a direct impact on the way we live our lives.

First, Christ was the Son of God. Does not a son indicate a family relationship? “Son” is used in the Bible in at least two different ways. One means "a direct descendant of." The other is used in the sense of "characteristics of, but not necessarily direct descendant of." The Bible says plainly that Jesus was the Son of God, a direct relationship. Since He was of the same Family, there is a family relationship. He was not only a literal Son born of Mary of the Holy Spirit, but He also showed the characteristics of God. He was God.

Is Christ indicating a family relationship with us in Mark 3:34-35? We have already seen that the community that He is creating is a kingdom. This kingdom is also a Family. Everybody is related, all being sons of the Creator. Everybody has the same characteristics. Do not the descendants of parents look like their parents? Sure they do.

Everything fits together beautifully, and logically. God is reproducing Himself.

Consider Romans 8:14-15. Is that a family? Thus, if we have the Spirit of God, we are part of a family. We are Jesus' brothers. We are Jesus' sisters. We are Jesus' mothers (see Matthew 12:50). We have the same Father as He did.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 1)


 

Genesis 1:26-28

As God created, it is extremely significant that of all He created, only one creation is in His image, mankind. This is important to the purpose God is working out. Also, it is significant that of all the creatures God created, only mankind is given dominion over anything else, animate or inanimate.

Verses 26 and 28 show the first inkling of man's awesome potential. We are in God's likeness and His image, and have been given dominion in order to fulfill that potential.

If one looked up the word "image" in a Hebrew dictionary, it would not be very satisfying, being a typical textbook definition. It merely means "a shadowing forth, a phantom, a sketch, an outline." It gives the impression of a mere shape, a stickman. However, it has another, more interesting definition that means "whatever makes a man remarkable or procures respect."

The word "likeness" is commonly thought by linguists to mean nothing more than an intensification of the word "image." Even though it is a different word, its meaning is very similar. Putting those two words together, the Hebrew clearly shows that we are remarkable, especially in comparison to all other life. We are in the image of God.

Though we are remarkable, we are merely an outline, a mere copy or representation. We are illusory compared to God, because He is the reality.

The word “image” deserves further examination. The word "image" could evoke different mental images depending upon one's perspective. Over the past several decades in the United States, "image" has acquired a deceptive application that obscures its true meaning. This application skews one's understanding, interfering with the meaning God intends.

For example, today, a politician hires a publication firm to create an image for him that the people will find acceptable, and, thus, vote him into office. If someone is trying to find employment, they dress a certain way to project a particular image for employers to perceive. Corporations also try very hard to find the right image before the public.

To an American, an “image” has subtly come to mean "the illusion of what something is presented to be" rather than "the essence of what it really is."

In Hebrew, the word translated "image" is not "a deceptive illusion." Rather, image means "the likeness of one subject expressed in another." This difference is important. It means, "the likeness of one subject, God, expressed in the other, man." The verse indirectly says that man is very much like God.

The Hebrew meaning is frequently used in English in reference to family resemblance or characteristics. We say that a child is the spitting image of his father or his mother, possibly referring to physical or social traits.

The "image" is no illusion; it is the reality. It is the family trait. It is the essence of reality.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power


 

Genesis 18:1-9

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 33:19-20

We cannot be sure what Moses had in mind when he asked to see God's glory. He probably wanted to see God's glorious and radiant brilliance and form. God obliged to some degree, but He gave Moses something more than he expected—in fact, something totally unexpected. As He passed by him, He preached a sermon on His name, the third commandment!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Third Commandment (1997)


 

Luke 24:36-40

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

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)


 

John 5:37

Jesus gives no indication that the Father has no form. He is saying here that He does indeed have a form. He teaches that He has a voice and shape.

The word "form" here is from the Greek eidos, which means, "form, shape, appearance, fashion." It is used in a context indicating what can be seen with the eye. That is what Jesus says, "You have not seen His form"—that is, with the eyes. He does not mean something visualized in the mind.

Luke 3:22 says, "And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form." Those who were there saw it with their eyes, and it had shape to it. Likewise, the Father has shape that is visible to the eyes and a voice that is audible to the ears.

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


 

2 Corinthians 3:17

In this verse, which refers directly to Jesus Christ, "spirit" is used in the sense of composition. But just because the Father and the Son are composed of spirit does not mean they have no form. If they had no form, how could the Bible honestly say that humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26)? They do have form. Physically, we are in Their image.

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


 

 




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