God Is Spirit
Does God ever manifest in our world as a man? After all, the Bible teaches in John 4:24 that “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”. This is so, but the verse is not saying God has no other characteristics or presentation—in other scriptures we learn that God is light (but he is not only light); and that God is love (but he is not only love) and so on.
The verse “God is spirit” can be likened to a statement about humankind: “Humans are intelligent and should worship in an intelligent way”. This statement would not mean that we are intelligence alone—no body, no emotions, no personality, no character, no spirit, no social dimension, no musical ability—only intelligence. Similarly, God is not limited to being “spirit” alone. He is revealed most commonly in scripture as having a body, emotions, an intellect, an inventive nature and a social dimension, amongst other features and qualities such as love, light, absolute power, knowledge and wisdom.
Despite the detailed revelation of God in the Bible to the contrary, many Christians have a sort of “spirit only” concept of God the Father; that he exists all around us like the air, but concurrently in Heaven. This may be partially true, but it is not by any means everything that the Bible reveals about him.
It may surprise you, but God the Father and Jesus are usually portrayed in scripture as active men.
The Holy Spirit, God’s own spirit, is not portrayed as a man but as a dove, or fire, or oil, or the wind—a Spirit pervasive throughout the surface of the Earth, yet one in nature with God in Heaven.
Scripture is clear that God the Father and Jesus can appear physically as men at any point in history, whereas it is God the Holy Spirit who remains in our world as their usually invisible divine representative and presence.
It is interesting that hundreds of NDErs have described interactions with Father God or with Jesus, both of whom are described as appearing to the NDErs in the form of a man. No prolonged NDE description that I have read has given a comprehensive description of meeting God as a spirit alone; nor, incidentally, as a woman.
The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is not generally mentioned in NDEs. His separate involvement with us would appear to be in the main on Earth.
The Father or the Son sometimes choose to enter the world in a recognisable, physical form, but they generally leave their ongoing creative work on Earth to the invisible Holy Spirit—and to followers of Christ.
Like Father Like Son—In Physical Bodies
The human body is the form in which the Son of God, Jesus Christ, lived in our world “made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7), while still being in the nature of God (Philippians 2:6), so it is not surprising that God in Heaven may be seen in bodily form as a man by us too—if he so chooses. Like Son, like Father.
NDErs confirm such observations, including some who were previously atheists or agnostics—they have asserted that they interacted with God the Father in the likeness of a man. Some, such as Angie Fenimore30, describe meeting with both God the Father and with Jesus at the same time, both apparently in the bodily form of men.
Here is another description of Father and Son being together, written by Erica P31:
Then I left the room and was traveling down a tunnel with a bright light. As I went further up the tunnel, the light got bigger and brighter. Then I was in the throne room of God. Jesus Christ was seated next to God. The throne room was pure white. Then I stood there in absolute awe at the beauty of Jesus. Jesus was wearing a white robe with a purple sash…. Then I remember bowing before Jesus and God. They both spoke to me, but I do not remember what was said by them.
Our conclusion is that Father God at this time chooses to live in bodily form in Heaven, at least some of the time, akin to both his Son and humankind. Of course, his body and that of Jesus are immortal while our present bodies are mortal, although our resurrection bodies will be immortal like theirs (1Corinthians 15:53-54). And at times he speaks as we do. Consider his self-declaration in Psalm 89:34 “I will not alter what my lips have uttered”. Jesus appeared to confirm God speaking like us in Matthew 4:4 when quoting the Old Testament to the devil: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Even during earthly appearances when he may be shining with his glorious light, God will present or allude to himself with the physical attributes of a man. Consider again his appearance to Moses (Exodus 33:22-23):
When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.
There is certainly much more to God the Father than human likeness, just as there was more to his glory than Moses could experience on our planet and survive.
However, we can only relate to Father God as he presents himself to us, which, in most cases in scripture, on Earth in recent times, and during NDEs, is as a man. This is certainly a true representation because it is how God has chosen to reveal himself.
Like Father like Son.
Like Son, like Father.
And why do we occupy similar physical bodies, you may wonder? And what does this suggest to us?
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