Topic Study: God, Body of Corporeal Nature

(May 2006 TG Entry: God, Body of Corporeal Nature IN Entry: God, Body of)

Overview

When speaking of God’s body, the scriptures emphasize the similarities to man’s body.  We learn that God has a spirit as well as a physical body.  We also learn that although God’s body is similar in form to man’s body, his body perfected, glorified.

I             Definition of Corporeal

Note that the Topical Guide uses the word Corporeal.  This word is defined by Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary as “

Having, consisting of, or relating to a physical material body: as  a : not spiritual  b : not immaterial or intangible (Webster’s 11th Collegiate s.v. “Corporeal”)

synonyms MATERIAL, PHYSICAL, CORPOREAL, PHENOMENAL, SENSIBLE, OBJECTIVE mean of or belonging to actuality….CORPOREAL implies having the tangible qualities of a body such as shape, size, or resistance to force  *artists have portrayed angels as corporeal beings*. (Webster’s 11th Collegiate s.v “Material”)

II            Words that Describe God’s Body

Listen to these words that describe God’s body from the scriptures.

  • God has a Head and that head has Hair (D&C 110:3 the hair of his head was white like the pure snow)
  • And a Face ( 32:30 I have seen God face to face, Ex. 33:11 Lord spake unto Moses face to face, Rev. 22:4 they shall see his face, D&C 110:3 his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; Abr. 3:11 Abraham, talked with the Lord, face to face)
  • That face has Eyes (D&C 110:3 his eyes were as a flame of fire)
  • A Mouth ( 12:8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, Matt. 4:4 every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God)
  • A Voice ( 3:17 a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son Matt. 17:5 a voice out of the cloud D&C 110:3 his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters,)
  • He has Hands (Acts 7:56 the Son of man standing on the right hand of God)
  • With Fingers on them ( 31:18 and Deut. 9:10 written with the finger of God)
  • And Feet ( 24:10 they saw the God of Israel, there was under his feet, D&C 110:2 under his feet was a paved work of pure gold)
  • And a Back ( 33:23 thou shalt see my back parts:but my face shall not be seen)
  • His body is composed of Flesh and Bones (Note that it does not say “flesh and blood”) (Luke 24:39 for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have D&C 130:22 Father has a body of flesh and bones; )
  • He is a Man with all that that means, and others are Women with all that that implies (D&C 130:1 Savior shall appear … see that he is a man like ourselves 1:27 Moses 2:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. D&C 20:18 he created man, male and female, after his own image)

What could be plainer?

III           Words that Describe Things God Can Do

What can God’s body do?  Consider these words.

  • God can Appear and Stand (1 Jn. 3:2 when he shall appear, we shall be like him, Acts 7:56 the Son of man standing on the right hand of God, D&C 110:2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit)
  • God can Speak ( 3:17 a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son Matt. 17:5 a voice out of the cloud)
  • God can Go and Create including creating Children ( 18:33 Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing, Abr. 4:27 Gods went down to organize man in their own image John 14:9 he that hath seen me hath seen the Father)

This does not include a consideration of all the man like attributes God has, such as angry, happiness, jealousy, etc.  Such a list of attributes that are similar to man’s would be much longer.

Nor does this include a consideration of all the Savior has done as a resurrected being—a God with an immortal, perfected body.  This list includes eating (Luke 24:41-43), and many other acts.

IV          Words that Denote Similarities With Man’s Body

All of this should not be surprising.  The vast majority of the words used to describe the relationship of our bodies to his emphasize the similarities, rather than the differences.

Words like Image

  • Gen. 1:27 (Moses 2:27) God created man in his own image
  • Gen. 9:6 in the image of God made he man
  • 2 Cor. 4:4 Christ, who is the image of God
  • Rom. 8:29 predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son
  • Col. 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God
  • Heb. 1:3 the express image of his person
  • D&C 20:18 he created man, male and female, after his own image
  • Mosiah 7:27 (Ether 3:15) image after which man was created
  • D&C 6:9 In the image of his own body … created he them
  • Abr. 4:27 Gods went down to organize man in their own image

And Like and Likeness

  • Gen. 5:1 God created man, in the likeness of God made he him
  • 1 Jn. 3:2 when he shall appear, we shall be like him
  • D&C 130:1 Savior shall appear … see that he is a man like ourselves

And Form

And Similitude

  • James 3:9 men which are made after the similitude of God
  • Moses 1:16 thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten

V           Relationship to Spiritual Body

The Brother of Jared’s experience sheds light on the fact that (1) God has a spirit, and (2) the relationship of God’s spiritual body to his corporeal body.

6  And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger.  And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear….

9  And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger.  Sawest thou more than this?

10  And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me….

13  And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.

14  Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people.  Behold, I am Jesus Christ.  I am the Father and the Son.  In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.

15  And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast.  Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image?  Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.

16  Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.

Ether 3:6 – 16

The Savior’s spirit looked like what his physical body would look like.  The Savior is a God, and in express image of his Father.

VI          Differences From Man’s Body

Having emphasized the similarities of man’s physical body to God does not mean God is in the image of man. The scriptures make clear that God’s body is different from man’s body.

VI.A         Flesh and Blood verses Flesh and Bone

This last quote has pointed out one difference.  Note that the Savior, in speaking to the Brother of Jared, noted that he would take upon him “flesh and blood” (Ether 3:9).  Abinadi was put to death for teaching the same thing, the “God, the Father of all things, …should take upon him the image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created after the image of God, and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth upon the face of the earth” (Mosiah 7:27)

Multiple scriptures point out that God’s immortal body is a body of flesh and bones, not flesh and blood.

39  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

Luke 24:39

22  The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.  Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

D&C 130:22

God’s body does not contain blood.

VI.B         Glorious

This is not the only difference.  God’s body is a glorious, immortal, perfected,

20  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Philip. 3:20 – 21

Consider the language of this description of God

1  THE veil was taken from our minds, and the eyes of our understanding were opened.

2  We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.

3  His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:

4  I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.

D&C 110:1 – 4

Summary

God has a spirit, which is in the form of his physical body.  Understanding God’s body is easiest by understanding man’s own body.  Yet God’s body is perfected, immortal, and without blood.

(Initial writing finished May 2006)

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