Does God Have Body Parts?

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IT IS A $100 word.

Anthropomorphism.

It is difficult to enunciate; it is even more challenging to understand.

The word is a combination of the Greek anothropos, meaning human and morphe, meaning form.

Anthropomorphic language represents God having human form or characteristics.

For instance, the Bible says:

Do these passages tell us that God possesses physical features? No.

Jesus said, “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), and as such, He is not a partaker of flesh and blood as we are.

Here are two helpful things to remember whenever you come across anthropomorphic language in your study of the Scriptures:

1. Anthropomorphic language typically informs readers of something God has done or is doing.

2. Anthropomorphic language speaks of God as though He were a man in order to help us, on some limited level, to comprehend deity (cf. Psalm 50:21Isaiah 55:9).

Bernard Ramm, in his book, Protestant Biblical Interpretation, observes:

“Holy Scripture is the truth of God accommodated to the human mind so that the human mind can assimilate it. Through such accommodation the truth of God can get through to man and be a meaningful revelation. Stated another way, revelation must have an anthropomorphic character.”

Contemporary writer R.B. Thieme says similarly:

“For the sake of clarity…when describing the character and function of infinite God, the Bible often resorts to language of accommodation. In other words, to make certain that His thoughts, policies, decisions, and actions are lucidly explained, God takes into account our inherent limitations and basic ignorance. He graciously describes Himself as having human feelings, human passions, human thoughts, human anatomy-even human sins-in order to communicate things to us for which otherwise we would have no frame of reference.”

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike

Why Kill Lazarus?

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IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to read the sentence without some incredulity.

John records, “…The chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death…” (John 12:10).  Think about that word–“priests.” It’s plural.  One spiritual leader didn’t scheme to murder Lazarus; many spiritual leaders schemed to murder Lazarus. And these guys were supposed to be the religious right–the moral elite of ancient Jewish society!

The ESV says, “…The chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well.” “As well…” In truth, they didn’t want to murder just one man, but two. They wanted to kill Jesus (cf. 11:53) and Lazarus.

“Why?” you may ask. Re-read John 12:9-11. A great many Jews believed in Jesus. And why did a great many believe in Jesus? Because Lazarus had been raised from the dead.

Remember that the Sadducees taught that there was no resurrection (cf. Matt. 22:23-28). Unfortunately for them, Lazarus illustrated that their dogma was at obvious variance with the Biblical data. He was a living, breathing entity despite the fact that he had been entombed for four days (11:39).

Lazarus was concrete evidence to the contrary; he was the doctrinal deathblow to their misguided, man-made tradition.

It was impossible for the chief priests to argue with or against him. Any sane, thoughtful, sincere individual wouldn’t even attempt to debate with Lazarus. He was absolute proof that Jesus could perform miracles. He was the undeniable corroboration of the divinity of Christ (cf. John 20:30-31).

And that’s why the chief priests wanted to kill Lazarus and Jesus.

A few thoughts rattle around in my neocortex as I ponder this curious incident:

  • If Jesus could resurrect a dead man, why did the chief priests entertain the idea of killing Lazarus in the first place? Couldn’t Jesus resurrect Lazarus again, if he so desired?

    What this teaches me is that you can’t expect coherent thinking and behavior from people who insist on upholding their agenda over truth.

  • If Jesus could, and obviously did, bring a dead man back to life–as Jesus had also done on previous occasions–e.g., the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17) and the daughter of Jairus (Luke 8:40-56)–wouldn’t that serve as affirmation of His divine power? Had the chief priests really thought about the futility of trifling with the miracle Man of God?

The chief priests in John’s story remind me of a critical point: unbelief is not due to a lack of evidence; unbelief is due to a lack of conviction. People don’t reject the truth because there are no facts; they reject the truth despite the facts.

Even when there is incontrovertible testimony, some folks simply choose not to believe. If their hearts are hard and their motives are impure, you can expect them to be antagonist towards truth and to engage in sinful, destructive behavior.

On the other hand, if their hearts are soft and their motives are pure, you can expect them to investigate, believe in, and follow the Lord.

  • Was the world created in six literal days?
  • Is there life beyond this transient walk?
  • Is immersion necessary in order to be saved from sin?
  • Is it possible to live in adultery?
  • Is homosexual behavior sinful?

It depends. It depends on whether or not a person wants the truth and is willing to follow it to its inevitable conclusion.  The chief priests weren’t willing to do that.  Dear reader, are you (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:10)?

God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike