letters to surfers

God seems to have appeared in a bodily form? How can God have a body?
by Robert Brow  (www.brow.on.ca)

The word "body" is not defined by what looks like a human body. It can vary as much as the body of a caterpillar changes when it becomes a butterfly. For any kind of being its body is defined by the way it impacts its environment and others with which it communicates. Paul explained "There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earth is another." But he adds, " If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body" (1 Corinthians 15:40-44). Obviously we cannot hear, talk, think, walk, love, or react to others in any way without some kind of body.

Now applying that to God, each of the three Persons of the Trinity must have some ways to hear, think, talk, love. The three Persons decided together to make us in their image (Genesis 1:26, 28). But John's Gospel tells us "No one has ever seen God (presumably the Father). It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known" (John 1:18). It seems that God the Father is like a parent who loves us from behind the scenes, but we never see Him.

Nor can we see the Holy Spirit when he inspires, empowers, gives wisdom, imparts gifts, speaks to us. We can see the Holy Spirit at work in the lives of others,. In that sense he has some kind of means (body) to do that (as is pictured in Proverbs 8:1-31, Acts 7:51, 1 Corinthians 12:11, Ephesians 4:30).

But God the Son certainly appeared in a bodily form and conversed with Abraham, Hagar, Jacob, Moses, the prophets, and the psalm writers. Then he took birth (INCARNATION) in a fully human body (John 3:16, Philippians 2:5-8, Hebrews 2:17) and lived among us very visibly for thirty years. God wanted the world to see and know the true God without the trappings of religion.

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