Question: Is the doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ have physical bodies not Biblical?

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Question: Is the doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ have physical bodies not Biblical?

The absence of God's body is thus only present in John 4:24 if one approaches it with that preconception

In John 4:24 Jesus says:

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

It is sometimes claimed that this verse proves that God is non-corporeal: i.e., a spirit, and nothing but a spirit.

However, there is no indefinite article in Greek (the indefinite article in English is "a," as in "a spirit." The New International Version (NIV) translation of the same verse reads:

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and truth.

One non-LDS work noted of this verse:

That God is spirit is not meant as a definition of God's being—though this is how the Stoics would have understood it. It is a metaphor of his mode of operation, as life-giving power, and it is no more to be taken literally than I John i. 5, "God is light", or Deut. iv. 24, "Your God is a devouring fire". It is only those who have received this power through Christ who can offer God a real worship.[1]

The absence of God's body is thus only present in this scripture if one approaches it with that preconception. There is nothing which requires such a reading, and much that does not.

Even the presumption that spirit means being immaterial is not scriptural, and is the product of later thinking: "in Scripture...there is no indication that by spirit and soul were meant any such principles as form or immateriality."[2]


Notes

  1. Joseph Newbould Sanders, A Commentary on the Gospel according to John, ed. B. A. Mastin (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), 148–149. ISBN 9780913573556. (emphasis in original)
  2. Harry A. Wolfson, Philo: Foundations of Religious Philosophy in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948), 2:95. ISBN 9780674021143.