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ScriptureLover

For Elihu - God is Certainly Described as a Man

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Here is a partial paper I wrote some time ago. I didn't change the footnote numbering because I am too lazy. :P The footnotes start with #15 and go through 30. I think I included them all here as Endnotes. Here is why God is known as a man in the Bible. I am curious about how you (Elihu) can proclaim that the Bible does not teach God is a man.

There are a few instances in the New Testament indicating that God had a form. God is never once explained as being incorporeal or immaterial. Markus Bockmuehl discusses Philippians 2:6, and notes that the phrase en morfh qeou uparcwn "in the form of God" denotes a visible outward, even literal appearance of a person. The Greek word morhe, i.e., morphe means what gives the person identity and status, and is in fact parallel with the phrase in verse 7 "the form of a slave" (morfh doulou) showing that this is "further complimented by 'in human likeness.'"15 John R. Kohlenberger III shows the Greek word morphe is the very nature, or character and form including outward appearance of whatever it is being talked about, in the Bible's case, Jesus.16 Even Celsus in the second century complained rather loudly that the Christians were a carnal race in his day because they actually believed "that God is corporeal and has a human form."17

The very precept of Imago Dei is summed up as "God being very much involved in history and a being who had a history. He sets himself purposes, changes his mind in response to events, enters into binding covenants, etc. To exclude these characteristics as the crude anthropomorphisms of primitive minds is to lose sight of the whole historical orientation of the Old Testament and to misunderstand the God of the Bible." (my emphasis)18 It was Plato who taught "to know oneself - the reflexive attitude par excellence - meant to attend to one's soul, at the exclusion of the body."19 But Tertullian taught the exact opposite: "Cardo salutis cardo - "The flesh is the axis of salvation."20 And Iranaeus "insists so much on the humanity of Christ because he sees it as a warrant of the 'salvation of our flesh, since were not the flesh to be saved, God would not have become flesh.'"21

Ed Watson, in his critical new study, has shown Bible scholars and exegetes who declare "In the Greek world morphe theou was used for the external (usually human) form of a god."22 Christ's appearance to the two disciples on the road (Luke 24:13-35) has the Greek word morphe not as a mystical essence, but a real, tangible outward form of appearance. As Watson observes, "the contrast between the morphe of God and the morphe of men in Phil. 2:6-7 isn't about an outward physical appearance (non-material, formless omnipresence vs three-dimensional anthropomorphic discernable matter) since it is about nature instead of appearance."23 Richard Hopkins also has demonstrated that Phil. 2:6-7 is not about Christ divesting himself of his divinity at all, but is about Christ divesting himself of equality with God for his short mortal duration on earth.24

The Greek Old Testament (the Septuagint - LXX) at Isaiah 44:13 "makes it clear that the 'form of a man' means the physical human shape. Visible shape or appearance is clearly also what is intended in several references in Daniel (4:36, 5:6,9,10; 7:28) and in the Deuterocanonical books (e.g. 4 Macc. 15:4; Wisd. 18:1; cf. Wisd. 7:10; 11:17; Sir. 9:8; 4 Macc. 8:10)."25 In fact, it is noted that the sons of Elohim are considered men, "Since the Old Testament affirms that men were created in the image and after the likeness of God, why... can it not also call men 'sons of God?' ... His argument has a certain logical force..."26

Bockmuehl also takes note that the earliest Christian interpretations such as in the Ascension of Isaiah, show "the Lord of all the heavens transforms himself 'until he becomes like you in form and in appearance' (8:9-10; cf. 9:13); similarly, the Odes of Solomon 7:4-6 affirm that Christ became like us in appearance (demuta) and in form (tzurta). In relation to the human Christ, the word 'form' was evidently understood to carry certain palpably visual connotations."27 Josephus writes in Contra Apionem 2:190 that the morphe of God and even his greatness are hidden. Bockmuehl says "he [meaning God, in Josephus's account] clearly has a morphe but it is not accessible to humans."28 In this sense as well, God is described as being invisible.

Jesus even told the Jews (John 5:37) that they had not seen the Father in Heaven's shape nor had they heard his voice. The Greek word for shape, eidos, is always used in the New Testament as the exterior, visible, discernable appearance of objects and beings. Ed Watson asks a potent question at this point. "John 5:37 contains a statement concerning the ontological nature of God. His very nature. If God ontologically didn't have a shape but was this omnipresent essence; why didn't they argue the point with him and correct him?... this statement doesn't mean God doesn't have a shape. It means he does have a shape but these Jews never saw it. 'You've never seen Colleen's daughter' doesn't mean Colleen really doesn't have a daughter."29 In fact, E. LaB. Cherbonnier, from Trinity College, notes that "Only if God is a definite, determinate personality can He take intelligible, purposive action. Only an anthropomorphic God can be omnipotent."30

Endnotes

15. Markus Bockmuehl, " "The Form of God" (Phil 2:6) Variations on a Theme of Jewish Mysticism," in Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Vol. 48, pt. 1, (April 1997): 6.

16. John R. Kohlenberger III, Edward W. Goodrick, James A. Swanson, The Greek English Concordance to the New Testament, Zondervan Publishing Hose, 1997: 1088, # 3671.

17. Robert J. Hauck, "They Saw What They Said They Saw: Sense Knowledge in Early Christian Polemic," in Harvard Theological Review, 81 (1988): 239. He further notes that "the Christians say God has a body which is known through the senses. Simon charges Peter, 'seeming to free your souls from terrible images, drives mad the mind of each one of you by a more terrible image, introducing God in a shape.'" (p. 242).

18. Gordon D. Kaufman, "The Imago Dei as Man's Historicity," in The Journal of Religion, 35-36 (1955-56): 162-163. See also Robert B. Chicholm, Jr., "Does God Change His Mind?" in Bibliotheca Sacra, 152/608 (Oct-Dec. 1995): 387-399, for interesting twists on this idea.

19. Gedaliahu G. Stroumsa, "Caro salutis cardo: Shaping the Person in Early Christian Thought," in History of Religions, 30-31 (Aug. 1990): 33.

20. Stroumsa, "Shaping the Person," 34.

21. Stroumsa, "Shaping the Person," 42. See the long, fascinating discussion by Caroline Walker Bynum, "Material Continuity, Personal Survival, and the Resurrection of the Body: A Scholastic Discussion in its Medieval and Modern Contexts," in History of Religions, 30-31 (Aug. 1990): 51-85.

22. Ed Watson, Mormonism: The Faith of the Twenty First Century, Liahona Publications, 1998: 205.

23. Watson, Mormonism, 207.

24. Richard Hopkins, How Greek Philosophy Corrupted the Christian Concept of God, Horizon Publishers, 1998: 251-253.

25. Bockmuehl, "The Form of God,"8.

26. Ralph Gehrke, "The Biblical View of the Sexual Polarity," in Concordia Theological Monthly, (April 1970) #4: 196.

27. Bockmuehl, 11-12. Cf. Alfred C. Schlesinger, "The Literary Necessity of Anthropomorphism," in The Classical Journal, 32/1 (Oct. 1936): 19-26, wherein he notes in the Greek world, the description of the Gods as having bodies is merely a literary convention for us. See also Ralph Stob, "Stoicism and Christianity," in The Classical Journal, 30/4 (Jan. 1935): 217-224, where he contends the fundamental difference between the two systems, is that Stoicism took it literal that the Gods had bodies, whereas Christianity spiritualized this, and did not accept that God was material.

28. Bockmuehl, "The Form of God," 15.

29. Ed Watson, Mormonism, 28.

30. E. LaB. Cherbonnier, "The Logic of Biblical Anthropomorphism," in Harvard Theological Review, Vol. LV, # 1 (Jan. 1962): 193

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Exd 15:3 The LORD is a MAN of war: the LORD is his name.

Paul O

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ScripteureLover, You Da Man !. Where can I get A copy Of your Paper ?, Please !, Dont let my Begging Petition be in Vain ! [ Mosiah 4:16].

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Oh calm down Tanyan. Get a hold of yourself man! :P

That is the part that dealt with this subject. The rest of it is something else. But if you must have it, I can get you a copy.......for a small fee <_<

Kidding!

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Why Thank You !. I will look forward to it . Grace To Ya !.

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Exd 15:3 The LORD is a MAN of war: the LORD is his name.

Paul O

Ya know, if it would have simply said God is a MAN. Then you would have made in infalliable point. Let me ask you this........read this verse and use your same methodology as to decipher what God is and tell me if you are wrong.

Deuteronomy 32:4

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Jermiah:

O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.

Well I guess God changes and in the first scripture he was a "rock" and then later on he change to a fountain of living water. You have to know what scripture is metaphorically spoken and what is not. Usually when a "of" or "like" is involved it is metaphorically inferred. Not always, but alot of times.

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Cute. Since we are MADE in GOD'S IMAGE, and we are not rocks, I have no problem not worrying about God being a rock. However, since we are MEN, I suspect this is where my scriptural bias lies...........

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Yes but notice it is the "Action's" and "Attributes" that are being described, not his GOD NATURE DNA MAKE UP. Grace.

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Noahnoah - Ya know, if it would have simply said God is a MAN. Then you would have made in infalliable point.

Tsk!, TSK! My friend, Exodus 15:3 DOES say the Lord is a man......a MAN OF WAR. Read the scripture. It does not say "like" a man. It says plainly, unequivocally, "MAN." The description of him as being "of war" describes what he is a MAN of, does it not? It doesn't say he is a ROCK of war, or a LOVE of War.......it says MAN OF WAR. no? I just re-read the Hebrew as well. It says quite clearly YHWH 'ish Milhamah"

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Here is a partial paper I wrote some time ago.

I hope this paper wasn't for anything acedemic. Even with footnotes, you aren't supposed to cut and paste passages verbatim, unless you enclose the word-for-word passages with quotations.

It seems that you have a penchant for plagarism.

The very precept of...

:P

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If you check all the metaphores in connection to GOD its always connected to his Omnipotents, Omnicience, Omnipresense, or in otherwards his Power, Glory, and Actions, not his GOD DNA "MAKEUP". Peace.

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Kozaru - It seems that you have a penchant for plagarism.

Everything I *quoted* in that paper was properly in quotes. I plagiarized nothing in that paper. I specified exactly where I got the information.

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Cute. Since we are MADE in GOD'S IMAGE, and we are not rocks, I have no problem not worrying about God being a rock. However, since we are MEN, I suspect this s where my scriptural bias lies...........

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If you check all the metaphores in connection to GOD its always connected to his Omnipotents, Omnicience, Omnipresense, or in otherwards his Power, Glory, and Actions, not his GOD DNA "MAKEUP". Peace.

Book of Hosea

I will not carry out my fierce anger,

nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.

For I am God, and not man- the Holy One among you.

He just told me his DNA makeup wasn't the kind me and you have?

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Noahnoah - Need I remind you I have scripture that is not describing his nature, but flattly says...I am NOT MAN.

Hosea: I will not carry out my fierce anger,

nor will I turn and devastate Ephraim.

For I am God, and not man-

And Exodus 15:3 flatly says he is a man, a man of war. So now that the Bible contradicts itself, what are we to do?

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Noahnoah - Then God said, "Let us make man in our image

Gosh, there must be more than one of em..............that is plural language.........

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Noahnoah - Our Image? So what that mean the Fathers image, Jesus Image, or The Holy Ghost image? Because it did say OUR image and did not single out any of the 3. Is the holy ghost a man? That scripture says that we are made in THEIR image, so I think it unwise to assume that his image is one of the 3 you just feel like picking out or have been taught. The image he could be referring to could be the spiritual image, you never know.

Yes I do too know. I know exactly that it doesn't mean a spiritual image because the Hebrew is not about a "spirital" image. That is your own eisegesis of the passage. The Hebrew here is "tzelem," which always refers to the physical, NEVER a so-called Christian "Spiritual" item, whatever that would mean anyway.

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There is more than one: There is The father, the son and the holy ghost. 3 is plural didn't you know. Funny thats hard for you to understand when it clearly says GOD, not GOD's said let us make him in our image. The only rational explanation without twisting it in some form or fashion is that one God comprised of the persons....was speaking.

Oh yes and what version of the bible are you reading that says God is a man, a man of war because my bible doesn't say that?

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And Exodus 15:3 flatly says he is a man, a man of war. So now that the Bible contradicts itself, what are we to do?

I believe you are being dishonest, although I would hope you wouldn't do so to advance your position. I've checked 3 or 4 different translations and NONE of them say what you have just spoken above. They are all speaking of the nature of God and all refer to him as a Man Of War, none of them simply said He is a man, a man of war. What version are you reading I'd really like to know?

Thanks

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Noahnoah - There is more than one: There is The father, the son and the holy ghost. 3 is plural didn't you know. Funny thats hard for you to understand when it clearly says GOD, not GOD's said let us make him in our image. The only rational explanation without twisting it in some form or fashion is that one God comprised of the persons....was speaking.

There is never only one way to read anything in the Bible. Another possibiity is that the word for "God," being the Hebrew "Elohim," is a mistranslated plural. "Elohim," means GODS, plural. There is nothing Trinitarian in this. That is an eisegesis misread back onto the ancient scripture that just wasn't there. The Jews simply did not, in any way, shape, or form think trinity as you silly Christians do.

A Jewish midrash actually explains that this scripture saying "Let *US* make man in *OUR* image, was God the Father, talking to his WIFE, the Mother Wisdom, (others say Wisdom is the emanation of the Father, or the Creation before Creation, and who literally made everything of the Fathers, our entire universe. Later traditions equated Wisdom with the Logos of John 1:1. Jesus, in some traditions took over Wisdom's role, in other traditions, Wisdom gave the Logos, Jesus, the power to Create, since the Logos was Wisdom's SON) Wisdom is spoken of in Proverbs 8. Anyone who has read the scholarly literature on Wisdom traditions in ancient Israel and how they tie into the Creation will be more than familiar with this line of reasoning. So there is yet *another* way to read this also. This interpretation is far stronger than your silly ad hoc trinity eisegesis.

Other scholars have noted that it is God talking to His COUNCIL of gods. Yet *another* way to read this instead of your version.................

There is *never* only one way to read it. NEVER.

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NIV JOHN 8:17 -"In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is The Father, who sent me. NIV Note for John 8: 16-18, Jesus second point was that his tesimony was not unsupported. The Father was with him, so he and the Father were the two witnesses required by Law (See Dt 17:6 and note 19:15). So Jesus directly states that his Father is a "MAN" [Witness] !. Notice No Metaphore or Allegory, staight up Jesus states that his Father is one of the two "MEN" [Jesus Christ being one of the two MEN ie Witnesses]. Ok, lets here the response to this one, here it comes !. Grace and Peace to all.

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Oh my! That's pretty powerful Tanyan................ I will have to look into that one. Very good...........very interesting.............

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Noahnoah - I believe you are being dishonest

I believe you are being dishonest too. Now what do we do?

Exodus says the Lord is a MAN of war. Pray tell, what is a man? Do you understand the scripture at all?

Alexander. What was he? Alexander was a MAN OF WAR. Yes?

Hitler. What was Hitler? He was a MAN OF WAR, yes?

President Bush. What is he? A MAN OF WAR. Yes?

ummmmmm, do you seriously need more examples here?

The *HEBREW* reads, "YHWH 'ish," which translates as "LORD MAN. The context has to translate it as the Lord is a MAN of war (Milkhamah). I am trying my darndest to get to what it reads, and it is obviously "The Lord is a man of war, the Lord is his name." THAT is what the scripture reads. KJV...........check the Hebrew, the word for MALE OFFSPRING, MAN, is 'ish.

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Notice THE LORD OF LIFE JESUS CHRIST expounded no Greek Neo-Platonic-Gnostic-Hellenistic Scholarly/Theologian Language Interpetation therof, just the Facts Sir, Just The Facts !.

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