A unique but central tenet of the Mormon faith is found in the LDS Scripture Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. It says,
“The Father [God] has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s…”
Mormon Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley defended this doctrine from the Bible:
“In His image man was created. …In the account of the Creation of the earth, ‘God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness’ (Gen. 1:26). Could any language be more explicit?” (Gordon B. Hinckley, First Presidency Message, “The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,” Ensign, March 1998, 2)
Furthermore, the LDS web site designed for people investigating the Mormon faith states,
“We are created in God’s image. In the Old Testament God said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness’ …God the Father and His son Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820. Joseph revealed that the Father and the Son each have a ‘body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s’ (D&C 130:22). God is our Heavenly Father, and we are created in his image.” [This quoted passage is no longer found at Mormon.org.]
Indeed, Mormons often scoff at Christians who believe the Bible instead teaches God the Father is an invisible Being of spirit, without flesh and bones. (See John 4:24; Luke 24:39; Hebrews 11:27; etc.) They ask, “What else can it mean when God says He created man in His image?”
Christian theologian A.W. Tozer wrote,
“When the Scripture states that man was made in the image of God, we dare not add to that statement an idea from our own head and make it mean ‘in the exact image.’ To do so is to make man a replica of God, and that is to lose the unicity of God and end with no God at all. It is to break down the wall, infinitely high, that separates That-which-is-God from that which-is-not-God. To think of creature and Creator as alike in essential being is to rob God of most of His attributes and reduce Him to the status of a creature. It is, for instance, to rob Him of His infinitude: there cannot be two unlimited substances in the universe. It is to take away His sovereignty: there cannot be two absolutely free beings in the universe, for sooner or later two completely free wills must collide. These attributes, to mention no more, require that there be but one to whom they belong.
“When we try to imagine what God is like we must of necessity use that-which-is-not-God as the raw material for our minds to work on; hence whatever we visualize God to be, He is not, for we have constructed our image out of that which He has made and what He has made is not God. If we insist upon trying to imagine Him, we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts; and an idol of the mind is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand.” (A. W. Tozer, “God Incomprehensible” in The Knowledge of the Holy)
Yet God Himself speaks of His image. Christian author and speaker Adrian Plass pondered this. He understood Paul taught in Colossians 1:15 that Christ is the image of the invisible God. But what, exactly, is the image of something that is invisible? Mr. Plass wrote a poem that well describes how Jesus is the image of the invisible God — an image human beings are created to display.
Image of the Invisible God
A lover of nature
Master of timing
A good Son
A good friend
He enjoyed parties
He relished the company of people
But He did not trust the hearts of men.
Filled with sadness
Filled with joy
Filled with love
Filled with frustration
He adored children
Because they reminded Him of home.
He broke His own rules
He was angry with enemies and disciples
Happy to get down on His knees to wash feet
A man with secret friends
Lost and lonely
Neglected and very badly hurt
Loves the lost
A man who knows how to cook fish.
Image of the invisible God.
Image of the Invisible God Copyright © 2003 Adrian Plass. Used by permission. To visit Mr. Plass’ web site click here.