A very unusual—yet very interesting—area of thought concerns God’s body and parts of God’s body. In the Bible God is said to have eyes, ears, arms and other body parts.
But what can these things mean? How can we think about God’s body, since God has no physical body nor material substance? Why, then, does the Bible often mention God as having bodily parts?
Because God is a spiritual being (the apostle John says that “God is spirit” in John 4:24), and because God is present everywhere at the same time (this is called “omnipresence,” and is seen in Psalm 139), then we know that God has no actual body. If God would live always in a physical body, then God would be limited to time and space and could not be with everyone in heaven and earth at the same moment.
But what about God’s body parts? To help us understand an infinite God with our finite minds, the Bible writers—led by God’s Spirit—frequently refer to God’s characteristics, actions or emotions in human terms. Such descriptions of human qualities in God are known as anthropomorphisms, with the accent on “morph”.
The study of God by means of such colorful figurative language is a valuable method to help us understand God better than we might otherwise do. Any language or picture-thinking—reverently considered and biblically balanced—that may assist us in coming to know our Lord better is worth investigating.
May these brief studies of God’s “body” be used by God to guide us into a fuller knowledge—both in our heads and our hearts—of our Creator, Redeemer and Friend.