*This article is being offered free as a courtesy to lds.org as it was footnoted in an expanded Gospel Topic on their site.
This article has been broken into sections. This page contains the introduction. Read Part I: Restoration of the Doctrine of Divine Embodiment; Part II: Early Christian Belief in an Embodied God; and Part III: Philosophical Arguments Regarding Divine Embodiment.
The doctrine that God the Father and God the Son are embodied persons, humanlike in form, has rich implications for both philosophical anthropology and theology, and it is one of the most distinctive teachings of the Restoration. While believers find the doctrine elevating and inspiring, critics have challenged it as being non-Christian and philosophically incoherent. I believe the critics are mistaken on both counts. In this paper, I trace the restoration of the doctrine of divine embodiment, showing that the doctrine was clearly articulated from the beginning of the Restoration. Then, I argue that the earliest Christians widely believed that God is embodied, and finally, I examine major philosophical objections to the idea of God having a body of any kind, showing them to be uncompelling.