Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Regarding the form of God:

"God is not born, nor made. He is of an ever abiding nature without beginning and without end. He is immortal, perfect, and incomprehensible. Now, when I say that He is "perfect," I mean that there is no defect in Him and that He is not in need of anything. Rather, all things are in need of Him.... He has no name, for everything that has a name is related to created things. He has no form, nor any bodily members... He is neither male nor female. The heavens do not limit him." Aristides.

As Delirious has related some Mormon concepts of God the Father having a human form, I was pondering if there might have been any such views in the early church or in the early Jewish writings. For me, the Bible's insistence on no images being used for God is a key factor in my understanding of who God is and how He is distinguished from other gods (i.e. demons), as well as the religions of other countres. Aristides is a fairly early writer having died roughly at 185AD and would have been not too far removed from the Apostles that all would be forgotten. A number of similar quotes show up from Lactantius who was also deemed a heretic:

"The likeness of a man appears to be necessary at that time when he is far away. ut it will become unnecessary when he is at hand. However, in the case off God, whose spirit and influence are diffused everywhere, and can never be absent, it is plain that an image is always unnecessary."

I will poke around some more, but the notion that God doesn't have a form seems to be quite uniform among the orthodox Christians, the Jews and the heretics.

3 comments:

Marf said...

I suppose I'll agree that God has no form. After all, that which does not exist has no form...

Looney said...

A bit like the theory of evolution? ;-)

Delirious said...

I have always felt that the reason we do not make any sort of image/ idol/ sculpture of God to worship wasn't because he doesn't have a form, but because he doesn't want us to put our faith in some earthly man made thing. When I was a missionary in Taiwan, I watched many people pray to idols in their homes. I think it is easy for them to forget that the actual physical idol isn't the god itself.