If Jesus is God, how is it that he had a body?




Sir, let me ask you some questions about the identity of Jesus and may you let the Scriptures answer. May God use you in this task. Here are the questions:

1. If Jesus is God, how is it that he had a body? Is it not written that God is a spirit?  
2. Did Jesus ascend to heaven with a flesh? 
3. One preacher here in the Philippines believes that Jesus is God but that he did not become man when he was on earth but he just took on the body of a man. He just came in human likeness. Emphasizing on the word human likeness.  He concluded that Jesus came to this earth as God and not as both God and man.  According to him, it was only his body who was human, but he did not become human.  One of his proof text is Philippians 2:7. Can you give some comment on this doctrine. 

Thank you dear sir.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).

One of the mistakes people make in reading a passage is in dealing with words which have multiple meanings or a range of meanings. They will sometimes apply one meaning to the word without ever stopping to consider whether the context of the passage supports that meaning or not. I quoted more of the passage because I want you to notice that Paul talks of Jesus having both the form of God and the form of man. The person you referred to says that he only appeared to be a man, but was not. Then would not the converse also be true, that Jesus only appeared to be God, but was not? What a tangle! Now we have Jesus being neither God or man!

Let's examine the words:

morphe (form) means "form, outward appearance, shape." It is the manner in which a person appears to another, both externally and his true nature (internal being).

homoiomati (likeness) means "likeness, image, copy, appearance." It is usually used to refer to something that is a copy of another or something that is similar to another.

schemati (appearance) means "form, outward appearance." It refers to the outward appearance and manner of behavior.

The reason for these words is to express that while Jesus appeared to be a man in all aspects and others saw him as a man, yet Jesus was something more. For example, men do not exist before they are born, yet Jesus did. "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38). What man can honestly state that he came down from heaven to be born on earth?

A part of the solution to the quandary raised is to understand that each of us is not merely our outer shell, that is our body. We are composed of three things: body, life, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). Your physical body is merely a container for your spirit (II Corinthians 5:1). God, who is an eternal spirit, housed His spirit for a time in a physical body. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Yet, even here He remained God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3). "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9).

Jesus did ascend into Heaven (Acts 1:9), but what happened to his physical body, we do not know. We are told that physical flesh, which is mortal and temporary, cannot inherit heaven. "But someone will say, "How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?" Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain--perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed-- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory"" (1 Corinthians 15:35-54).

See also:

The Deity of Christ While on Earth
Questions and Answers regarding Jesus Christ