Part 19 Mormonism’s Biblical errors attributing a body to the Father

The next couple of posts I will look at possible responses to the Biblical case I developed against God the Father having a physical body.

God met Moses face to face so therefore He must have a body.

Mormons contend God the Father must have a body becauseMoses met with God face to face. They may take you to Exodus 33:11 (NIV) The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”Here they will say, only a physical body can have a face.

Again we see the Bible using metaphorical (or anthropomorphic) language.  How do we know?  First by the evidence just presented that God is spirit and invisible and therefore not physical.  Second by reading further down at Exodus 33:19-20.  “And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. [20] But,’he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’”

Moses never saw the Father’s face.  It was just an expression to demonstrate the close relationship between the Father and Moses.  If Moses had seen God the Father he would have been dead.  “Face to face” is an expression that Moses and God had a special relationship.

We are made in the image of God.  We have a body therefore so does God.

They will point out the Bible says we are made in God’s image and therefore He must be physical because we are.  Genesis 1:26, 27 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’   [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Ask the Mormon does the word image have to be physical?  Can it be immaterial or non-physical?  An example could be, I am cleaning up my life and trying to change my image.  This has nothing to do with trying to physically look like someone else.  It has to do with character development.

Ask them if it could refer to qualities character?  Remember if God is spirit and invisible then image cannot mean physical.  Being made in the image of God refers to our immaterial self is made in God’s image.  We know justice, love, and righteous anger because God has all these qualities and by making us in His image we now possess those qualities.

Paul says this in Romans 8:29 [talking to a believer] “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.”  This verse is not an encouragement to physically look like Jesus.  To be conformed to His image we are to be like him in our character; in our daily actions.  Therefore, Genesis 1:26, 27 does not make the case that God the Father has a physical body.

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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Kevin Rudd October 25, 2013, 12:16 am

    Again, what point can you possibly be trying to make in claiming that God is necessarily invisible, yet citing a verse in which God states “You cannot see my face… and live.”? What face? Why would He not just tell Moses that he can’t see Him because He’s —I don’t know— INVISIBLE?

  • Steve Bruecker October 26, 2013, 7:01 am

    Kevin,
    When studying the Bible we must always be working from the clear to the unclear. We know God is a spirit and invisible, so what does He mean in Exodus 33 by His face. This is called anthropomorphic language. God is trying to relate to the reader in terms he can understand. God states: Psalm 17:8 (NASB) “Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” Does God have wings? Obviously not! The author is using a metaphor to speak of God’s protection.

    In Exodus 33 God is speaking to Moses. The account says this: Exodus 33:11 (KJV) “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.” Now either this is an expression of friendship and not God’s face because He doesn’t have one or God has a body and this is His face. How do we know which is the best answer?

    If we move a few verses down in the account we get our answer. God says this to Moses: Exodus 33:19-20 (KJV) “And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. 20 And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” God says you cannot see His “face” and live. So when verse 11 says God spoke to Moses face to face, it is obviously an expression. As I said before this would be classified as an anthropomorphic expression. God referring to human body parts to help the reader understand the friendship relationship He had with Moses. However, He is a spirit being (John 4) without body parts.

    We must read verses in the manner the author wanted us to understand. God is at times described by using metaphors or anthropomorphisms throughout the Scriptures. Exodus 33 is a perfect example of the usage of language to describe an eternal all-powerful being. Language is limited while God is not.

    Do you believe God has wings or is the Psalmist using an expression? Was the “face to face” meeting with God an anthropomorphic (human description) phrase in Exodus 33? If not, explain how Moses lived.

    Joseph Smith said he saw God the Father. According to Exodus 33, how did he live?

    Steve

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