Doesn't Genesis 1:26-27 teach that God has a body of flesh and bones since we are made in His image?

When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean 'in the exact image.' To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all. It is to break down the wall, infinitely high, that separates That-which-is-God from that which-is-not-God. To think of creature and Creator as alike in essential being is to rob God of most of His attributes and reduce Him to the status of a creature. It is, for instance, to rob Him of His infinitude: there cannot be two unlimited substances in the universe. It is to take away His sovereignty: there cannot be two absolutely free beings in the universe, for sooner or later two completely free wills must collide. These attributes, to mention no more, require that there be but one to whom they belong.

When we try to imagine what God is like we must of necessity use that-which-is-not-God as the raw material for our minds to work on; hence whatever we visualize God to be, He is not, for we have constructed our image out of that which He has made and what He has made is not God. If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand (A. W. Tozer, "God Incomprehensible" in The Knowledge of the Holy).

The primary question that needs to be asked in Genesis 1:26-27 is, "What kind of image is being taught in this passage?" Is it a physical image only, a physical and spiritual image, or simply a spiritual image? LDS look at themselves and assume it must be physical and spiritual. So for LDS, technically God is in man's image. That is, God generally resembles the way we are physically and spiritually, and thus He must have a body.

A Christian, though, is not so beholden to the way things appear. God can appear anyway He wants, but that doesn't mean that is what He is by nature. So it is important to note that an image or a resemblance is not a nature. These are two different things. A stick may appear bent when submersed in water, but here the senses yield to the mind that affirms the stick in its nature remains straight even when it is submersed. Similarly, we all know the Holy Ghost is not a dove even though He "descended in a bodily shape like" one (Luke 3:22).

So how do we know if God's nature is such that He in fact has a body or not? I submit we know this in various ways, but one obvious way is due to what the Scripture says about God's nature. If the Bible truly affirms that God is "invisible" and not simply "hidden" (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3 and Colossians 1:15), if it affirms that God is an omnipresent spirit and not simply that His power is everywhere (John 4:21-24), and if the Bible affirms that God is too big for the heavens and the earth, let alone a body (1 Kings 8:27), then it should be clear that God's nature is such that He does not have a body. This should not be surprising, since God is not a man by nature; He is God by nature (Psalm 90:2, Hosea 11:9, and Galatians 4:8). That is, He has always been God contrary to Joseph Smith's claim.

Consequently, a Christian is warranted in holding that we are simply in the spiritual image of God, and certainly not in His nature. That is, since God is not physical by nature, we must image or resemble Him spiritually (e.g., we reason, love, and exercise free agency particularly in moral contexts). Similarly, a dog may image or resemble its master somewhat when the former acts in the way the latter does. But despite how good the pet may be in its imitation, none of us would assume dogs and humans are, or ever could be, of the same nature.

R. M. Sivulka

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Garrett says... (Reply)
"Many of the studies put into "proving" The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Saints to be wrong is.... well, wrong. Mormons believe the book of Mormon and the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated CORRECTLY. Who ever creates anti-mormon beliefs obviously does not have a correct understanding of the book of mormon. questions can be answered but man must listen and follow their hearts.the book of Mormon is ANOTHER testimony of Jesus Christ. Let man believe what he may. All religion is corrupt since all religion is just difference in translation. We simply won't have a perfect understanding until we pass on, but until then what we can do is join together and rejoice in what we do know. Which is that Jesus Christ is real! He came to earth, and died for us, Was resurrected and lives... and loves us... and wants us to be happier, and we can be by doing what he taught us? The teachings that have been testified through ancient scrolls, the Bible, the book of Mormon!? There are so many doctrines that have been found from people of old, that testify that Jesus Christ was an actual man and the Son of God. " (3/29/15)
M. G. Williams says... (Reply)
"I feel sorry for Sivulka. I am glad he has some basic belief in God, even if it is not accurate, it really doesn't matter if you believe it out of ignorance. Some day you will know how these vague pieces of the puzzle fit together. I can see through your descriptions and understanding of the Bible that you are content with just not knowing any more than you have to to appease your conscience. To feast upon God's words also includes revelation. To think He stopped speaking to His creation, in other words, abandoned a model He created to help us gain the opportunity to go back to heaven makes about as much sense as the rest of your ill placed but good intentioned comments. I wish you the best, but until you STOP degrading something you apparently cannot understand, you will never get closer to a full understanding of God. I don't believe that He would want you to disrespect any persons attempt to get closer to Him. Your actions are not of love or sincere but are obviously from a deep scar, pain that has turned to hate. I hope others of any denomination can see that you are not a disciple of God, and if not God who? I would hope that others will see that your efforts to tear something else down if far from leadership. Christ said, "come follow me." He then taught the beautiful discourses found in scripture. If you are sincere, just teach the gospel, and let others find their way as you believe you did. Truth will attract God's children, not the anger and hatred you have displayed in this whole site. May God find you and lift your heart and soul to a better understanding between light and darkness. You are added to my prayerful hopes. If you do love God, take this site down, it is not becoming of any Christian of any denomination." (5/18/15)
Gracedriven says... (Reply)
"Then don't be a hypocrite and go to the home tab and read the difference between a Mormon and a christian .. read THE FACTS and then let's see who you feel sorry for ." (2/21/21)
Steve says... (Reply)
"We develop an understanding of who Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are thru faith, then belief, then knowing, in our hearts. It comes to us thru prayer, developing a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, it is personal. I have never understood how others can declare someone not to be a Christian, when they do not know what is in their hearts. I testify that I know and love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and believe they have glorified bodies of flesh and bone. When Christ comes again, there will only be one church, His church. If someone else does not believe what I believe, but has accepted Christ as their Redeemer, I would never declare them not to be a Christian." (11/9/15)
MJ says... (Reply)
"My issue with the Mormon belief is this. They claim to believe in the bible as well. The bible covers everything from the beginning to the end. Yet we are supposed to believe that somehow the creator and knower of all, came back and essentially said "oh sugar! I forgot to tell y'all about this...." Next is the gold plates that apparently no one but relatives of Smith saw, and then they disappeared?!? What, was Jesus having a dinner party and needed the plates back? ( yeah, I know, not the same kind of plates. Just a play on words... Y'all know what I'm getting at anyways.." (2/7/16)
A Friend says... (Reply)
"Hi MJ,
I just want to explain something really quick. God didn't suddenly bring about the Book of Mormon because He "forgot" to tell His children some things. He brought it about when the world was ready. It is even testified of in Isaiah. It supports what the Bible says. The Book of Mormon is a record of the people that were in the Americas during the time the Bible was written. It is an account of their trials. revelation. and their witness of Christ after His resurrection. Also, the plates didn't just disappear. The Lord took them back to Heaven after they were translated so that no one could tamper with, or defile them. There is a witness of 11 people that saw the plates and know they were real. " (11/2/17)
Patric says... (Reply)
"Christ was certainly more than a 'spiritual image', and he taught that those who had seen Him had seen the Father, meaning that He and His Father were made of the same substance and looked the same. I say that the God revealed by Joseph Smith, precept upon precept, was the exact God revealed in the Bible, as well as the Book of Mormon. If you find differently, you need to learn more. You can email me at [email protected] . You can express your doubts and I will use the Bible to answer them for you." (5/22/16)
Rob Sivulka says... (Reply)
"Patric, please read my other FAQs. One in particular already addressed your out of context usage of Jn. 14:9: Your god is too small." (5/22/16)
deeheel says... (Reply)
A Friend says... (Reply)
"deeheel, Joseph Smith was commanded at the time that polygamy was allowed to keep the population of God's people up. There were so many members that were killed off because of mobs that polygamy was a necessary method of survival. Later on, it was revealed that polygamy was no longer necessary and since then has never been a part of the Mormon religion." (11/2/17)
Gracedriven says... (Reply)
"If you are not hypocrites .. then go to the home tab and read the difference between Christians and mormons .. then let's see what you have to say. " (2/21/21)