God is Spirit (Bible Lessons) By Paul Washer

God is not material or corporeal (i.e. He does not possess a physical body).

Two of the greatest implications of this truth are:

(1) God is not confined to any of the physical restraints so common to humanity, and

(2) God is not visible and therefore should never be degraded with images made by men.

 

At times, the Scriptures speak of God as if He possessed a physical body. There are references to His arms, back, breath, ears, eyes, face, feet, fingers, etc. How do we explain these references in light of the truth that God is spirit? In theology, these references are considered anthropomorphic [anthrópos, man + morphé, form] expressions.

In other words, God is simply attributing to Himself human characteristics in order to communicate a truth about Himself in a way that men can comprehend. Example: The Bible speaks of God’s “wings,” and of His people “hiding under the shadow of His wings” (Exodus 19:4; Ruth 2:12; Psalm 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4).

It would be absurd to interpret such statements literally.

 

The reference to worshipping God “in spirit” has two possible implications:

(1) We must worship God with all our being, sincerely and profoundly.

(2) We must worship God in the power and under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

 

The reference to worshipping God “in truth” also has two possible implications:

(1) We must worship God truthfully, sincerely, and with integrity.

(2) We must worship God according to the truth—i.e. according to the will of God revealed in the Scriptures.

 

If God is invisible, how do we explain the passages of Scripture where He seems to reveal Himself in a visible form?

To answer, we must first understand two principles of Bible interpretation:

First, the Bible does not contradict itself.

Secondly, the passages of Scripture that are difficult to interpret with certainty should be interpreted in light of those passages whose interpretation is unmistakable.

 

The Scriptures clearly state that God is invisible, therefore the “visible” appearances of God in the Scriptures (with the exception of the incarnation of the Son of God) should be interpreted as “visions”—symbolic representations of spiritual reality. Ezekiel tells us (1:1) that “the heavens were opened” and he “saw visions of God.” In verse 28, the prophet summarizes these visions as “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.” In Daniel 7:9-15, Daniel sees a symbolic vision of God the Father as the “Ancient of Days.” In Luke 3:22, John the Baptist sees a vision of the heavens “opening” and the Holy Spirit descending with the appearance of a dove (the symbolism is obvious).

 

-the one true God

 

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