All Things Denote There Is a God: But What Does He Look Like?

Have you ever questioned the LDS belief that God’s “eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones”? When I was LDS I never questioned this teaching—it seemed that the Bible clearly supported it. After becoming a Christian I discovered that this doctrine was unique to Mormonism. And the Christian churches I attended taught other things about the nature of God that didn’t make much sense to me. So I decided to dig into scripture to find out the truth. With my new-found faith I had a strong resolve to be like the Berean’s—to search the scriptures and make sure that whatever I was told agreed with God’s truth. (Acts 17:11)

This weeks Gospel Doctrine Lesson brings up what they claim is a false teaching of Zoramite: “God was, is, and always will be a spirit (Alma 31:15)” (The Book of Mormon: Gospel Doctrine Lesson 27: All Things Denote There Is a God, p.123)

Underlying the LDS belief that God has a body of flesh and bones is the doctrine that God was once a sinful man, subservient to an earlier god: “Explain that since the restoration of the true Church of Jesus Christ in the latter days, Church members have known of their origin and destiny as children of God. A latter-day prophet, Lorenzo Snow, summarized this teaching clearly when he said, ‘As man is God once was; As God is, man may be.” (Aaronic Priesthood Manual 2, Lesson 1, page 1)

After searching the scriptures I quickly discovered that the words of this LDS prophet were false. Since the beginning of forever, there has always been only one God. The Prophet Isaiah wrote:

“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.” “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (43:10, 44:6)

Learning that God could never have been a man still didn’t explain to me what God “was”. I wondered what He looked like. I had been taught that since I was created in God’s image, then God must look like me. I decided to read all the passages referenced in the LDS Topical Guide about the body of God to see if any had been miss-interpreted. To my surprise, they hadn’t. These passages clearly taught that God has the physical characteristics of a man. They attributed God as having a face, mouth, voice, fingers, hands and feet.

Wanting to learn more, I started doing word studies. When I found another passage saying that God had a hand as well as ears, I wondered why this passage hadn’t been listed in the LDS Topical Guide. Reading in context answered my question and led me to a surprising discovery! Not only did God have ears, He had wings and feathers:

“I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Ps 17:6-8).

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:1-4)

From my study I learned that while scripture often attributes human characteristics to God, it also uses non-human characteristics to describe Him. (Not surprisingly, you won’t find any of these passages listed in the LDS Topical Guide.) Mormons can no more claim that God is a glorified man than someone could say He is an enormous bird.

My search led me to find where Jesus taught us the truth—God is a spirit: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) God is so powerful that He can take on any form He chooses. We see at Christ’s baptism that the Holy Ghost took on the physical form of a dove.

Scripture often uses word pictures to give us a glimpse of what God is like because He is so unlike humans: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

Scripture reveals that our Savior has always been God! He was not (as LDS prophets claim) “the first spirit born to our heavenly parents”—parents who began their lives as spirit children:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

Jesus took on human flesh and became a man “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:14-18). Even though He was God, He “took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

In the end, it is not the form of God that matters, it is what He accomplished. Death is a consequence of sin but Jesus had no sins of His own! He died on the cross because He chose to die—for you. It was His mission—His very purpose for coming to earth was to take your sins upon Himself, as if they were His own:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Your sins have been covered and forgiven by Christ’s blood. Believe it and receive it, then trust in Him:

“How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.” Psalms 36:7

Click here for additional LDS quotes:

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4 Comments

  1. July 13, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    There is only one God! God says He is the only one! As a Mormon which God are you supposed to worship, the Father or the Son? When I was a Mormon this often confused me. As a Christian it gives me great peace and so much more love for my God that sacrificed everything for me! Praise Jesus!

  2. choosethechrist said,

    July 14, 2012 at 7:14 am

    “Underlying the LDS belief that God has a body of flesh and bones is the doctrine that God was once a sinful man, subservient to an earlier god: ”

    I find it interesting that the implication that god was a man who sinned is clearly there, yet many LDS will say that there is no way their god ever sinned and get offended at the idea of this. Do they really understand their own law of eternal progression?

  3. latterdaysaintwoman said,

    July 14, 2012 at 8:20 am

    choosethechrist,

    You wrote:

    I find it interesting that the implication that god was a man who sinned is clearly there, yet many LDS will say that there is no way their god ever sinned and get offended at the idea of this. Do they really understand their own law of eternal progression?”

    I think that many LDS are unaware of what this doctrine really means. That’s why I have provided the page that anyone can click on with LDS quotes. Each quote has a link to lds.org which proves that it is official doctrine. Here is one quote which shows the full meaning:

    This is a doctrine which delighted President Snow, as it does all of us. Early in his ministry he received by direct, personal revelation the knowledge that (in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s language), ‘God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens,’ and that men ‘have got to learn how to be Gods … the same as all Gods have done before.’ “After this doctrine had been taught by the Prophet, President Snow felt free to teach it also, and he summarized it in one of the best known couplets in the Church.”

    It is also taught in the Doctrine and Covenanats that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob have already become gods:

    Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:37)

    Clearly these three men were sinful men, and yet they have already become gods.

    Thanks for the thought and question,
    Becki

  4. razorswift said,

    July 18, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    “Have you ever questioned the LDS belief that God’s “eternal spirit is housed in a tangible body of flesh and bones”?”
    >>>

    It’s odd that they teach that God is a spirit in one part of their teachings but in others that he is a physical man. Inconsistent.


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