There is a belief out there that God the Father has always possessed a body of flesh and bones. Some of the proponents of this belief don't find it contradictory to John 4:24 ("God is a Spirit") as the verse may be referring only to one part of God without limiting God to being only that one part - just like, for example, in 1 Pet 3:20 ("eight souls were saved by water") Peter called some humans "souls", but he didn't mean by that that they didn't posses bodies.

The example of Jesus after His resurrection, Who, while possessing a body of flesh and bones, still retains all the qualities that are usually ascribed only to God, for example, His omnipresence, could go along with this belief.

I wonder if Biblical hermeneutics, namely the hermeneutics of the Old Testament, allows for this belief. If not, please, point out those places that speak against the validity of this belief.

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    @brilliant FYI, hermeneutics is the science of understanding how a word means what it means. It doesn't "allow" for meaning any more than physics "allows" gravity. This is definately a question of doctrine, and is more on topic here. Jan 14 '13 at 19:55
  • @AffableGeek - "It doesn't "allow" for meaning any more than physics "allows" gravity" - Physics allows for gravity. For example, it does say that the Earth has gravity, and it has no place ( = does not allow) for such an assertion that the Earth has no gravity. So, in my question I want to know if the biblical hermeneutics allows for an assertion that God has always possessed a body of flesh and bones (I know that He has possessed it in Christ since Christ's incarnation, however, "since Christ's incarnation" doesn't mean "always", therefore I'm talking about the OT hermeneutics here).
    – brilliant
    Jan 14 '13 at 23:29
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    I'm sorry you didn't like my edits. I've attempted an answer, but I'm also strongly mulling a vtc. As written, this seems more like a "gotcha" non-constructive, "lets stick it to the Mormons" attack question rather than attempt to gain knowledge. I would strongly recommend wording questions in such a way as to elicit information rather than make attacks. Jan 14 '13 at 23:58
  • @brilliant, can you clarify the relevance of including both the Old Testament and Mormonism into this question? They seem unrelated to me, in this context.
    – Matt
    Jan 15 '13 at 0:10
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    @brilliant I think the question is confusing, and combative because it is asking for a specific belief of a specific religion, to reconcile that belief with things they do not believe in. Mormons do not believe that God, the Father is omnipresent, they do not believe in the trinity, so they don't believe that God became flesh at Christ's incarnation. It also feels combative to then ask them to reconcile their belief with the entire old testament, and point out where the OT proves this belief wrong. Jan 15 '13 at 15:48

Your question is worded a little tricky, but I think you're saying: John 4:24 says that God is a spirit, and you are saying that Mormons respond by saying that it only refers to one part of God (one part is the spirit and the other part is the body), since Mormons believe God has a body. Then you cite 1 Peter as an example.

Not to throw your example a little bit, but Mormons believe that

15 ... the spirit and the body are the soul of man.(Doctrine and Covenants 88:15)

So, to answer your question:

How do / Do Mormons reconcile God the Father's omnipresence with his corporeal / fleshy form?

Yes, Mormon doctrine does reconcile it, and it's quite simple:

1 And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have aother sheep, which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.

2 For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.

3 But I have received a commandment of the Father that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them.

4 And I command you that ye shall write these sayings after I am gone ...

  • Since the Holy Ghost is both a spirit (no body) and also a god, His influence can be felt anywhere at once. The Holy Ghost is a separate, distinct being from God Himself, but is nonetheless a member of the godhead. In this sense, perhaps, God is "omnipresent."
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    I'd also like to point out this passage from D&C 88, where it talks about the light of Christ "filling the immensity of space". Jan 14 '13 at 21:13
  • Is the sentence in the second paragraph of your answer complete? I kind of don't get it's meaning.
    – brilliant
    Jan 14 '13 at 22:58
  • I am sorry for not making it clear enough in my question, but I was interested only in the Old Testament texts here.
    – brilliant
    Jan 14 '13 at 22:59
  • So, am I correct that in your answer you are saying that Mormons don't believe that God the Father is omnipresent?
    – brilliant
    Jan 14 '13 at 23:01
  • @brilliant I took out the word "is" to make it clearer; the scripture was supposed to finish the sentence but it didn't really work grammatically :) Now, your question's edit... I am wondering, are the OT/Mormonism questions totally separate? Or are you asking them in conjunction with each other?
    – Matt
    Jan 14 '13 at 23:01

The OT is very clear that any static image or representation of the Divine is a very bad thing. The first two commandments are prohibitions of idolatry and the primary charge of the Prophets is against the same. To ascribe flesh and image to God would be heretical to the Jewish writers and authors of the books. As such, using a "primary sense to the primary recipient" hermeneutic would completely fail. Idolatry was so antithetical to the Jewish understanding would have made giving God any flesh or image heretical to unthinkable.

That said (and I say this as a non-Mormon), the primary problem and setting in which Joseph Smith either wrote or was called in (depending on your belief), was not one in which idolatry was an issue. As such, it is difficult to apply a Jewish understanding to a Mormon prophet. Would a Jew think this silly? Sure. But then again, the idea that God would ever take on flesh even temporarily as the Messiah is equally repugnant, so as an argument there is not much to gain.

  • Thanks for your answer. "The OT is very clear that any static image or representation of the Divine is a very bad thing" - I agree with this, but I am afraid that the OT's prohibition on image-like representation of God doesn't prove outright that He did not possess at that time the body of flesh and bones. After all, we have some cases in OT that, despite this prohibition, lean to support that idea - I mean cases like Jehovah's passing in front of Moses in Exodus 34:6 or His eating some physical food (butter, milk and beef) in front of Abraham in Genesis 18:8
    – brilliant
    Jan 15 '13 at 5:08

How could the Creator of the universe have a body of flesh and bones which are products of that universe? Only by later humbling himself into that form and taking on the nature of the creation. The OT never states that God the Father did this, and the NT quite consistently reaffirms that only Jesus has ever done this, and that the Father is invisible eternal spirit only.

  • There is considerable debate about whether "God" in the Old Testament refers to Jesus or His Father. It could be either, depending on your particular denomination or sect.
    – Matt
    Jan 16 '13 at 18:53
  • Even though I don't see much OT hermeneutics in your answer, I must thank you for bringing up a very strong logical point, which is in the very first sentence of your answer. The only case, in which this point wouldn't work is God's body of flesh and bones' not being products of the universe.
    – brilliant
    Jan 17 '13 at 12:43
  • "NT quite consistently reaffirms that ... the Father is invisible eternal spirit only" - Where exactly does NT say states that the Father is invisible spirit only?
    – brilliant
    Jan 17 '13 at 12:46
  • "There is considerable debate about whether "God" in the Old Testament refers to Jesus or His Father"" - I don't quite see why you are saying it here. How is this related to what is said in the answer? Can you, please, elaborate?
    – brilliant
    Jan 17 '13 at 12:48
  • Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39)
    – kurosch
    Jan 17 '13 at 16:47

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