How Tall is God?

How Tall is God?

How tall is God?
Whereas I’ve been asked, “Who made God?” many times, this was the first time that I have been asked “How tall is God?” It may seem like a silly question, but it reveals the beautifully curious mind of a child, one of the most delightful attributes of children, an attribute, sadly, that many of us lose as we “mature.” But it’s a question that gives us the opportunity to speak about the nature of God and to warn against false teachings.
In John 4, as Jesus was interacting with a Samaritan woman, He said, “God is spirit.” In other words, God is incorporeal; He doesn’t have a body. And, as such, He doesn’t have a height. So, asking “How tall is God?” is akin to asking “How tall is green?” Color isn’t measured in inches; God isn’t either.
What about anthropomorphisms?
On the one hand, that answers our question, but it may occur to you that Scripture often speaks of God’s face, arm, finger, hand, and so forth. What are we to make of this? If God doesn’t have a body, how can he have an arm or a face? Does the Bible contradict Jesus? No. These are what’s called anthropomorphisms (from the Greek words anthropos = man and morphe = form). They are metaphorical language to describe God so we can understand His attributes. They are not literal descriptions of His body, otherwise we’d be forced to conclude that God has wings and feathers! (“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge.” Ps. 91:4).
Don’t Mormons believe God used to be a man?
If you are remotely familiar with the teachings of the Mormon Church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), you know they teach that God the Father was a man who achieved godhood.[1] Joseph Smith, the founder of the false religion, preached, “Our Father in heaven at one time passed through a life and death and is an exalted man.” And former LDS president, Orson Hyde, taught, “God our heavenly Father was perhaps a child, a mortal like we are, and rose step by step in the scale of progress… until He has arrived at the point where He is now.”
They take the metaphorical anthropomorphisms literally in Scripture and end up with a false god. God the Father has no body and never had a body. He is not and has not been a man.  
But doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in God’s image?
In Genesis 1 Scripture teaches, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” The Mormon Church reads this text too narrowly. In their canonical book, Pearl of Great Price, it interprets these words from Genesis like this: “In the image of his own body, male and female, created he them” (Moses 6:9). Notice the insertion of the word body. That unnecessarily limits the text. Worse, it reads their false teaching of God back into the text.
Historically, orthodox Christianity has not limited the image of God to man’s body. While interpretations have varied, orthodoxy has tied the image to man’s righteousness, wisdom, rationality, dominion, and capacities, which mirror God’s. Having said that, a Christological reading of the text would leave open the possibility of God’s image also being tied to Jesus who would become incarnate. In other words, Adam was made in the image of how God would reveal Himself in Christ. 
Any further exploration of this question would take us too far afield; our simple point for now is that the image of God does not refer to God’s body.
What about theophanies?
Numerous times in Scripture God appears to man in visible form, often in the guise of man. In Genesis 12 God appears to Abraham and promises to give him the land of Canaan. In Genesis 18 God again appears to Abraham and promises he and Sarah will have a son. In Genesis 32 Jacob wrestles with God. In Exodus 3 God appears to Moses in the burning bush. In Exodus 24 God appears on Mt. Sinai to Moses with Aaron and his sons and the seventy elders. And the list could go on.
Do these show that God has a body? No. These are what have been termed theophanies (from the Greek words theos = God and phainein = to appear). Quite simply, these are God-appearances. Theophanies show that God, at certain times and for certain purposes, has temporarily manifested Himself in a discernable form perceptible by human senses. Some theologians have seen these (especially the theophanies in which God appeared as a man) as appearances of the pre-incarnate Jesus.
What about all the art that depicts the Father as a man?
One need only imagine Michelangelo’s creation scene in the Sistine Chapel to see that the Father has been depicted in human form in Christian art. What are we to make out of this? To be charitable, we can see artists displaying the anthropomorphisms of Scripture in art. Scripture speaks of God’s face, arm, finger, etc. and many artists have given these words color with their paint.
And yet, having said that, we must acknowledge the potential for misrepresentation and misunderstanding. There’s a very fine line between painting anthropomorphisms and depicting God as He is not. The Father is not a man. The Father has never been a man. The Father, as Scripture repeatedly asserts, is invisible and dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). Further, Scripture insists that, apart from God’s loving theophanies which temporarily made His presence visible to Old Testament eyes (although not His full essence), no one has ever seen God (Jn. 1:18; 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 Jn. 4:12; Ex. 33:20).
It all becomes clear in Jesus!
But! We can depict Jesus. He, as Scripture teaches, is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). Jesus took on a human body. His height could have been measured (it never was, but we could have answered how tall Jesus was). He is the eternal theophany of God, the eternal embodiment of God. As Jesus Himself taught, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). When we wish to visualize God, Scripture invites us to visualize Jesus. What a remarkable gift and privilege God has granted us in Jesus! May we treasure the gift always! – Pastor Conner

[1] Sadly, many popular televangelists such as Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Jimmy Swaggart, have also taught that the Father has a body.

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