Jews/Messianics/Christians: Can God take a physical form?

I recently saw a comment by a person saying that the idea of God taking a physical form is not compatible with Judaism. But to me the verses below indicate that God (YHWH) has taken upon Himself a physical form before. As a honest question with out trying to cause a debate, how do Jews (of Judaism) interpret the…

Persuasive collection of texts.

John, the disciple Jesus loved, announces the Christian view in the opening words of his gospel: that the Word became flesh and lived among us as the man Jesus Christ. Jesus is God’s complete and perfect revelation of himself. Because God came to us as a man, taught us by his words and example, and showed us the full extent of his love by laying down his life on our behalf, we need no longer live in darkness; we can walk in the light.

When a person comes to recognize that God created the entire universe in an instant about 14 billion years ago in the Big Bang, creating time, space, matter and energy from nothing, it becomes clear that with God, all things are possible.


G-d doesn’t have a physical form or body. (If he did then people would want to create an image of him and they would wind up worshiping the image of him instead of G-d himself. And by worshiping a graven image they would be breaking a commandment that says we shouldn’t worship any graven images of anything.)

So the way we relate to him is by using metaphors to describe him.
Heck even the use of He is a metaphorical view because G-d has no gender; G-d is neither male nor female. And G-d is one and indivisible.

יהוה is not pronounced Yahweh, it’s something else; but this name of G-d is considered too sacred to be uttered.
We refer to G-d as Elohim, Adonai, Shaddai or Ha Shem.

You’ve gotten some good technical answers of the words in context.

To give a more general context. At the time Judaism was created, most every group had a human ruler who was considered a God or God extension. They were worshipped & had special privileges. In earlier times, these rulers had privileges but got sacrificed to the other Gods. Later it was common people & prisoners & children that were sacrificed or buried with their husbands to serve the Gods or ….

So, Judaism was all about a paradigm shift in these ideas. God was now abstract, not a human-form ruler. All people in the community were equal. (A truly novel concept.) And no human sacrifice was required.

These themes run solidly throughout the Torah & interpretations from Abraham & Issiac & the ram,… to Pharoah being ruler-God of the most powerful nation in the area being defeated handily by this abstract God. To a ragtag group straggling out of Eygpt, coming into milk & honey with the help of this abstract God (so one didn’t have to be a powerful nation.) Every one in Torah argues with God like they are meaningful in the relationship, & not the abstract masses trying to please him with sacrifices of those around them.

These themes are more than interpretations of passages. They are central to the core of what is Judaism.

Any physical claims to God’s presence were the use of angels or the natural environment to which He created. The only person who spoke directly with God was Moshe, who was the greatest prophet. Even Moshe understood that describing God would be limited when placed in human tongue. God spoke about taking the Israelites out of Egypt with his right hand. It is not to mean that he literally used a human hand to lift the 3 million men, women, and children.

The main reasons why Jews cannot comprehend God placing himself in human form are from the first two commandments given to the Israelites; God is one, and to not have other gods before Him.

He punished those who sought to find a physical means to praise Him. It was considered idolatry, and turned people from attempting a direct connection with God alone. If you can recall the Golden Calf, the people who feared Moshe would not return sought out a physical object in which to worship God. It was not to say they didn’t still acknowledge Him, but wanted to use an idol in order to pray to Him. Moshe was punished for simply forgetting to cite when God said something through him, and was denied access into Israel.

Of course , being God, creator of everything , it will be very easy for him to take human form and the scriptures you quoted from the old testament are some of many examples of the pre incarnate Jesus before he was born of Mary.
God always wanted relationship with mankind but because of our fallen nature, we would die if He was to appear in all his glory before us!
Of course muslims and jews will deny this because that would mean for muslims that God in Jesus was subject to the laws of this world and to our sinful nature (thus admitting that we are fallen and God can’t be…etc) and for the jews that jesus is the messiah they are still expecting (but since Israel is still in turmoil therefore the messiah hasn’t come…etc).
Many people in the bible have seen God and lived, that’s because he appeared to them in his human form (often called the Angel of the Lord)

I’m an Orthodox Jew, and in Judaism no, God cannot take a physical form.

In Genesis 18:1, 18:22, and Exodus 34:5 when it says that God appeared or stood, it just means that God’s presence was there; it’s called the shekina in Hebrew. It’s not in any way a physical thing, it’s a spiritual presence.

In Gensis 32:24, it just says a man wrestles with him; who ever said that’s God? It’s just referring to a messenger of God. In 32:30, when he says he’s seen God face to face, it just means that he saw the messenger of God, and it’s as if he saw God, since it was God’s proxy.

No. God cannot duplicate Him/Herself or become one of His own creations. n Bereishis, you neglected to include the lines that were the true issues of the situation, like verses 2-3: “And he lifted his eyes and saw (not God), and behold, 3 men were standing (angels in the minds of those around him), and he ran toward the from the entrance of the tent, & prostrated himself to the ground. And he said, ‘My lords, if only I have found favor in your eyes, please do not pass on from beside your servant. …'” Discussion was the 3rd day of his circumcision, the most painful for an adult (as men will tell you today), & Abraham did not hesitate to greet guests. His compassion for his fellow human beings went beyond any physical pain he was enduring.

You stopped at where many missionaries like to pull apart, rather than study the Torah for its own sake, it is unfortunate that you do not have have the merciful lessons, the esoteric knowledge and the wisdom that has sustained righteous people since in developing kindness & understanding for strangers as these passages teach. The commentaries found in many of the Jewish scrolls since 1910, that date before the common era, confirm the commentaries from the later sages, like Rashi, Rambam, RamBan, Pr. Zaddik and Shem MiShmuel. Besides, I have no idea what version of 100 various Christian bibles you are using, I have the earliest available in Greek, Armenian, Coptic, KJV, NKJV, NIV, STM, NLT, NKJV2, ESV, RVS, RVR, NASB, ASV, YNG, MNT, DBY, WEB, HNV, VUL, the parallel editions in various Greek and Latin & even the Christian missionary Cohen’s (FYI: he is not Jewish, even by Paul’s statement about Tim), version of his Christian NT using Hebrew names & Gd forbid, wants the Christian mainstream take on Jewish laws is not was in the Greek about the description of Jesus’ view of Judaism, keeping kosher, denying the Sadducees view of the Sabbath & their denial of heaven & the instructions to some to go make an offering, others for Passover, & for him Pesach Shani, but he also left out the esoteric context that invalidates his references. His messianic view and denial of the Noachide Laws found in Acts & approved by James via Peter, is ignored (see the righteous gentile or God-Fearers laws at wiki encl. on Yahoo). However, even checking Cohen’s Christian sources, I can’t find your ‘iSR’ one, does it have another name in English? Are you using a Coptic NT in Arabic or Farsi? I have an Arabic one, will have to dig it out since many Christians in Islamic countries believe the Jew Jesus was a failed prophet, etc. as found in the Qur’an.

Dear Princess,

Maybe Greeks, Romans and Egyptians required human sacrifice and an incarnate god.

For Jews, it would be nothing short of idolatry. Surely you must know your Tanakh well enough to realize how strong the prohibitions are against that.

But then you’re assuming that the Christian doctrines of redemption have something to do with Judaism, so perhaps you don’t.

I have to say that none of the Jews here have given a logical answer to your questions. Besides the bible verses that you have given there are other many verses in the bible that talk about God using a physical form. God is God and as God for him nothing is impossible, he could have been God and Yeshua (Jesus) at the same time. He could have been the 3 angels that appeared to Abraham. Why is so hard to understand that God loved us so much the he took a human form to die for our sins? To me is simple only God was capable of coming to this earth, and paying the price for our sins. Some of the traditional Jews here says that saying God took a human form is blasphemous? I would like to know what is so blasphemous about it? But I tell this to the traditional Jews you and all nations will confess that Yeshua is Lord.

Edit: Hello there Mama Pijama its been a long time. I have never said that Jews will abandon their faith as you know I support the Messianic Jews, and eventhough Jews like you won’t recognized them as Jews they are still Jews by blood. The reason why I don’t think calling Yeshua God is blasphemous is because I am a Christian, and as a Christian I believe God and Yeshua are one. And by the way I am not trying to convert anyone, I am just saying what the scriputures say “that all nations will confess that Yeshua is lord”

Edit: Dear The Angels well as far as I know salvation came to the Jews first, and then to the Gentiles. So redemtion has a lot to do with Judaism.

I understand that pagans considered their gods to have forms and bodies. Their gods had relations and bore children. Judaism teaches that G-d has no body, no form, no matter.

When the Bible speaks of G-d’s form, it speaks to us in a language that we humans can understand, no more. It does so in order for us to be able to understand. When G-d wished to appear to us so that we could imagine Him, He issued a form to which we could relate.

The “El” word can mean G-d or it can mean the word “power”. As in “Yesh l’el yadi”, “I have the power in my hands.” Elohim therefore can also mean angels and judges, or simple the mighty. Only the Tetragram is unique to G-d.

There are many metaphors and allegories in the Hebrew Bible! I wonder if you deliberately waited for Shabbat before asking your question knowing that observant Jews will not be answering questions for the next 24 hours.

The Hebrew Bible is written in a manner which we can understand. The only way we can understand God is to talk about Him in terms we understand — metaphor, symbolism, parable, allegory. Jesus spoke in parables, why not God Himself?

Leave a Comment