Is God a Man? Is God a Spirit?
If man was created in the image of God, what is the true nature of God? According to the Bible, is He a man or a spirit? Did man live up to God’s image?
Our question for today comes from Yolanda in Sacramento, California, and she asks, “If God created us in His image, was He man or spirit?”
What is the image of God?
Thank you for that question, Yolanda. Before we go on to answering that question, let’s first read the actual verse in the Holy Scriptures. Here in Genesis 1:27 this is what we could read:
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
[Genesis 1:27 New International Version]
Brother Philip: No wonder why Yolanda asked this question. Since we humans were created in God’s image then others would ask, “Is God human?” Well, dear friends, the answer is no. God is not human but a spirit, as attested to by our Lord Jesus Christ written here in John 4:24:
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
[John 4:24 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Our Lord Jesus Christ described our Almighty God as being a spirit. What did our Lord Jesus Christ mean when He said that God is spirit? Let’s go to Luke 24:39. This is what the Holy Scriptures teaches us, our Lord Jesus Christ himself:
for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
[Luke 24:39 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: According to our Lord Jesus Christ, a spirit has no flesh and bones just like human beings have. And because God is without flesh and bones, as He is a spirit, what did Apostle Paul say about Him? Let’s go to Apostle Paul’s testimony here in 1 Timothy 1:17:
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
[1 Timothy 1:17 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Apostle Paul explained that God is invisible, meaning He has no physical image. So in Genesis 1:27, the verse we read earlier on, when it says that we were created in God’s image, it wasn’t His physical image being referred to. In what sense then, are we said to have been created in the image of God? In what way did God intend us to be like Him or in His image when we were created? Let’s read 1 Peter 1:15-16:
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
[1 Peter 1:15-16 New King James Version]
How did mankind fail to live up to God’s image?
Brother Philip: Apostle Peter quoted a command of the Almighty God to His people or creation. What did God say? “Be holy for I am holy.” So we human beings were created in the image of God, not physically, but in holiness just as God, our Creator, is holy. It is in that sense that man was created in the image of God. But is it the question now? Did we human beings live up to be in God’s image as He intended us to be that we be holy like Him? The answer is no. We all have failed and we can read this in Romans 3:23:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
[Romans 3:23 New International Version]
Who lived up to the image of God?
Brother Philip: Because of our sins or breaking the commandments of God, we have all fallen short of God’s expectations and intentions in creating us. We are not able to live up to God’s image. Who was the only one who lived up to God’s image according to His plan? Who was the one who lived up to be found in the image of God in holiness? Let’s go 2 Corinthians; we can get the answer there. [chapter] 4, [verse] 4, this is what apostle Paul teaches us:
whose minds the gods of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
[2 Corinthians 4:4 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Our Lord Jesus Christ is the image of God. Why was he said to be so? What quality did our Lord Jesus Christ have, which is why He is the only who has met God’s expectation of man whom he created to be in His image? Well the answer can be found here in 1 Peter 2:21-22:
For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
[1 Peter 2:21-22 New King James Version]
Brother Philip: Christ committed no sin and therefore He is holy. He is perfect; the only one who is able to live up to God’s image of being holy. How about us, the rest of humanity? Does that mean there is no way for us to be reconciled to God and be restored to live up to the reason why we were created to be the image of God in holiness? There is a way and here’s how. Let’s read Romans 8:29:
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
[Romans 8:29 New King James Version]
How can we conform to the image of God in holiness?
Brother Philip: How can we be the image of God as He first intended when He created us, in spite of our sins, and in spite of us being unholy and being separated from Him? Well this can happen through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, remember, Who is God’s image. So, by conforming to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we will be restored to be in God’s image in holiness. And how did our Almighty God intend to conform us to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? By making us a part of the one new man of which Christ is the head the Church is His body. What’s the name of this Church, which is the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of which we should become members in order to conform to the image of God in holiness? Let’s read here in Ephesians 4:11-13:
And he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, some to be evangelists, others preachers or teachers. The common object of their labor was to bring the Christians maturity to prepare them for Christian service and the building up of the church of Christ, until we all reach the unity of the faith and a fuller knowledge of the son of God and attain to maturity even to the measure of stature of the fullness of Christ.
[Ephesians 4:11-13 Norlie’s Simplified New Testament]
Brother Philip: Dear friends, we were created in the image of God, not in His physical image, but in holiness, meaning God intended for us to be holy like Him. But because we failed to live up to this, and were consequently separated from Him, the only way to be reconciled to Him once again and be conformed to His image of holiness and to live up this expectation is to be a part of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, a member of The Church of Christ.
Well that’s all that we have time for this episode. We hope that you’ll tune in next time where we will be able to answer more of your questions from the Holy Scriptures. Please feel free to e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Matthew 7:7 of the New International Version:
Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open to you.
[Matthew 7:7 New International Version]
Brother Philip: That’s in the Bible. Thank you for joining us on this podcast episode of That’s In The Bible.