How do we describe God? Does He have a shape or form? Is He human-like, a light, or something else? Does He have a shape? What does Christianity say about it?
Mainstream Christianity - Catholicism, Orthodox, and the various Protestant denominations, God doesn't have a form. He is spirit, omnipresent, and not confined to a single place. He doesn't have a form. (Although He could manifest one and speak through it, such as a burning bush...)
Of course, when He came to earth as Christ (as mainstream Christianity believes) He had a body of flesh.
The above is true of most denominations and traditions within Christianity.
A few denominations do, however, believe that God has a physical body. (One such example, the LDS Church teaches that He has a perfected physical body of flesh and bone).
Does God have no shape or form?
The book of Genesis uses these words to describe man's creation
therefore, God must look like man.
Throughout the Old Testament, the Spirit of God has appeared as moving flames, columns of fire and burning bushes. Columns of clouds, wind passing over the waters and smiting cedars, and the tiniest whisper. In the New Testament He came as tongues of fire above the heads of the Apostles. Therefore God must have some elemental form.
God has appeared to man as a visitor come to dine with and bless Abraham and his family; A stranger who would wrestle with Abraham's grandson Jacob; and finally as Jesus, the only Son of the Father.
On the contrary God has no physical body, therefore no shape.
I answer that even though God chooses to appear as someone or take on a form, it is not His shape nor His nature that has any form. The shape God chooses to take is not His shape. An ogre desiring to impress a clever kitten may take the form of the mouse, but the form of the ogre is still ogreish.
Reply to Objection 1 The Ox Says
Reply to Objection 2 God is made manifest in more than just flames and smoke. His character is impressed on us at Baptism, confirmed in us soon after and with us for a time when we consume His body, blood soul and divinity in the Holy Eucharist. God is not further from us than He was from the Israelites or the Apostles and we can't see His shape any better than they can, for it still takes the eyes of faith to see Him. After the Apostles received the Holy Spirit, some took them for drunkards, others seeing it was too early for drunkards to be roaming about saw, with the eyes of faith, that these men had the Holy Spirit about them and were Baptized soon after
Reply to Objection 3 The means by which God occasioned to visit the Patriarchs is not ours to judge, but we can hardly assume that He spent the rest of His time milling about the desert. Chances are very good that He passed from place to place as Jesus did, after His resurrection, coming upon the Apostles suddenly, making Himself known occasionally and leaving (or rather, disappearing) at just the right moment. One thing we believe about the Trinity is that all parts are equal in glory; Father Son and Holy Spirit. So, if the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus, was some how created to be the only one with a fixed form, He would be the only one encumbered, as we are, with a fleshly body that puts our soul in one place at a time. Jesus, begotten, not made and consubstantial with the Father must have the same form as the Father and the Holy Spirit. And, as I said in the reply to Objection 1, it doesn't follow that because Jesus "took on the form of a servant" that His form is that of a servant from the start
I think the answer is implied in this command:
When we imagine God to have a form we make an idol in our mind, when we carve this image into wood or stone then we make that idol visible.
The reason why imagining a form is idolatry is because God is immense, infinite and boundless, and any boundary or form we imagine limits God's limitless glory and is therefore an unholy thought that does not ascribe due glory to God. ‘Infinite’ essentially means that nobody can grasp it.
If we were to ascribe a shape to God, we would make Him rational, which would be senseless; He is 'super-rational', He is the Creator of everything, even of the concept we call 'form'. We do not and cannot know God and all His mysteries; we only know for sure His qualities that He revealed to us (He is Good, He is Merciful, He is Love, He wants us with jealousy, He wants people to be saved, He is "He Who is" - that is, the very cause of the existence of everything and the existence itself, etc). He also took see-able 'forms' when He appeared at the Mamvri tree, and also Jesus, the Word of God, was incarnated in a human body, True Man and True God at the same time.
protected by Jon Ericson♦ Nov 28 '12 at 19:00
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