Our insistence on an embodied (male) God leaves us open to all sorts of doctrinal head-scratchers, especially regarding the relationship between the universal and the particular: can God in some way be a prototypical human male encapsulating or representative of characteristics of all, or is he just one more specific example in the category “human male,” with his own particular physiological racial characteristics (aboriginal Australian, say), bone structure, height, eye color, earlobe attachment, etc.?
Just for fun, let’s take this line of questioning in a more radical direction. It’s clear that evolution has left us with several physical indignities that have yet to be straightened out: back pain, Rh factors endangering the lives of some infants, enormous brains that don’t pass comfortably through the birth canal. Although God is a member of our species, as it were, it’s also clear that physically he is not exactly like us–not possessing blood, for one thing. Is it possible that evolution (even if teleological) significantly over- or undershot? Might God, the perfect male human exemplar of which we are only imperfect imitations, have a tail, for example, or ears on top of his head? Could he have an inner eyelid or retractable claws? Might he possess physical characteristics we can barely fathom, like sensory organs enabling him to perceive the world in ways beyond what we’re capable of (i.e. a sixth or seventh sense)? Or does God look basically like the guy down the street, and if so, what makes this particular physical form so special (when lions, for example, can see and hear so much better and run so much faster)?
- 20 August 2009