Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)

Has the Lord Jesus always had a body?

Monday, September 20, 2004
if you have a headache, don't read this post...

Ok...this one is going to be long, difficult, and by the end, I probably won't have a firm and definite conclusion. But still, I think this is interesting speculation.

Amongst the perfect attributes of God, it is generally accepted that God is above, or outside, the confines of time (as in, He isn't bound by time). God is infinite and He is eternal, time is not a factor for Him. This is easy to say, but not easy to understand since our whole understanding of events, even how we perceive our very lives are usually framed in time. For example:

-∞<--------------------------------------------------------------------------> +∞

-∞--------->C ------------->X----------->MB----->MS------>MD---------> +∞

∞ = infinity
C = creation
X = crucifixion
MB = my birth
MS = my salvation
MD = my death

This way of thinking is adequate for our existence, but not for God. You see, in His entirety, God is in eternity past, present and future. Time is not a factor for God. And that's why we have mind-blowing verses in the Bible like:

"And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven." (John 3:13)

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Revelation 13:8)

In the John verse, Jesus is speaking to His disciples on Earth, and yet He tells them that He IS in Heaven. In Revelation, John speaks of a Lamb, not slain under a century ago (which would be the span of time between the crucifixion and the year John wrote Revelation), but rather slain since before creation.

So, if we use the same illustration as above, God's relationship to time would look like this:


-∞<--------------God (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) --------------------->+∞

Now see just how much this is hard to understand. I don't believe it is proper for us to ask a question like: "When did the Father start creation?" or "When did the Father plan creation?" Such questions would mean there has been change in God (and we know God is immutable: Malachi 3:6), and it would bind God to time.

So now that you see how difficult this is to understand, let me add a tough question (LOL) :

When, in eternity, did Jesus become a man (as in receive flesh)? Now we know, that roughly 2000 years ago, the Lord took on human flesh and walked as a man on the Earth. But what was He like before? How is He now? What will He be like in the future?

What He WAS like:

We read in several passages of God in the form of a man in the Old Testament. For example: Genesis 18, Genesis 32: 24-28, Joshua 5: 13-14, Judges 6:11, 1 Chronicles 21: 16, Daniel 3: 25. There is no doubt, this was the Son of God.

And add to these Scriptures the passage stated above about "the Lamb being slain from the foundation of the world"...well...you can't slay a spirit now can you?

And then in the New Testament, we have verses like John 1: 1 and 14, Hebrews 1: 1-4, Hebrews 2: 14 and Romans 8: 3 which make clear that the Son of God was come in the form of a man.

Now I feel there can be some objections here. Many New Testament passages referring to the Incarnation speak of Christ taking on human flesh, so one may then conclude: "Well, if He took on flesh at the Incarnation, then that means that He didn't have it before!" My answer to that is: "Possibly, but not necessarily."

It is possible that Christ had a glorified body before, and at the incarnation, He was taking, as stated in Romans, the likeness of sinful flesh. Flesh that is under subjection to time and the physical world.

What He IS like:

It is clear in the New Testament, that the Lord Jesus Christ, today, is a man. In Colossians 2: 9, we read of the Lord Jesus:

"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. "

And 1 Timothy 2: 5 tells us:

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus".

What He will be like:

The New Testament is also clear in its' prophecies about the future that the Lord Jesus Christ has a body:

"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1: 9-11)

Jesus left the disciples with a physical body, so He'll return with a physical body.

"And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24: 30)

The Son of Man has a physical body!

OK...Recapping all this: Jesus had a body in the Old Testament, He had a body in the New Testament, He has a body today, and we are told that He will have a body in the Future. So the question: Did Jesus always have a body, eternity past to eternity future? Is it:

-∞<------------------------------------------------------------------------> +∞

-∞<------------------------X (crucifixion)-------------------------------> +∞

-∞<----------------------- Jesus takes flesh----------------------------> +∞

If so, what of the visits of a bodily Lord in the Old Testament? And another problem: We've seen at the beginning of this post that God (All Persons) aren't bound by time, that they are eternal and infinite. The problem is this: in eternity, is there a Son of God which has no beginning and now a Son of Man that does have a beginning and no end? (Do you have a headache yet?)

Personally, I think this makes more sense:

-∞<------God (Father: as spirit; Son: with body; Holy Spirit) -------> +∞

-∞<-------------------------------------------------------------------------> +∞

Now, this isn't over, I will post further on this. There is a lot of room for debate and correction in all this I'm sure. So let's keep it gracious and let's see what we can come up with. I'm not suggesting that I got all this figured out...I don't. Just like "swimming in deep waters" I guess!

Take care and God bless,