What Does “God is a Spirit” Mean?

God is a Spirit

The profound teaching that “God is spirit” is articulated in John 4:24, where Jesus conveys to a woman the essence of true worship: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” In this exchange, Jesus dismantles the notion that physical location holds significance in the proper worship of God.

This declaration underscores that God the Father lacks a human body, a truth distinct from God the Son, who took on human form when He walked the earth (John 1:1). The uniqueness of Jesus as Emmanuel, “God with us,” is emphasized in Matthew 1:23. The absolute truthfulness of God is further affirmed in Numbers 23:19, contrasting divine reliability with the fallibility of mortal men.

Questions may arise regarding biblical passages that seemingly attribute bodily features to God, such as Isaiah 59:1 referring to God’s “hand” and “ear,” or Second Chronicles 16:9 mentioning God’s “eyes.” These instances, including references to God’s “mouth” in Matthew 4:4 and “arms” in Deuteronomy 33:27, employ anthropomorphism. This figurative language describes God using anatomical or emotional terms to aid human understanding, without implying that God possesses an actual body.

To assert that God is spirit is to declare that God the Father is invisible, as acknowledged in Colossians 1:15, which refers to God as the “invisible God.” First Timothy 1:17 lauds God as the “King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God.”

Despite being spirit, God is also a living, personal being, allowing for a personal connection with humanity. Joshua 3:10 describes God in this manner, affirming, “You will know that the living God is among you.” Psalm 84:2 expresses joyous worship toward the “living God” (ESV).

From a philosophical perspective, God must be a spirit to embody infiniteness. If confined to a physical body, God could not be omnipresent—existing in all places simultaneously. God the Father transcends the dimensional limitations of created entities, existing everywhere at once as the uncreated First Cause, the power behind all beings.

Intriguingly, in John 4:24, Jesus intertwines the concept of God being spirit with the call for worship in spirit and truth. This connection emphasizes the need for accurate and heartfelt worship, transcending mere adherence to traditions, rituals, or physical locations.

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