The Early Rabbinic Belief That G-d Has a Body: A Look at Genesis Rabbah

The more I learn about early Rabbinic Judaism, the more I’m coming to realize, despite protestations from modern Orthodox Judaism, that it is very Jewish to believe that G-d has a body.  To that end, here is a midrash I was reviewing this morning in which the angels mistook Adam for G-d since Adam was made in the image of G-d:

A.  Said R. Hoshaiah, ‘When the Holy One, blessed be he, came to create the first man, the ministering angels mistook him [for God, since man was in God’s image,] and wanted to say before him, ‘Holy, [holy, holy is the Lord of hosts].’

B.  ‘To what may the matter be compared?  To the case of a king and a governor who were set in a chariot, and the provincials wanted to greet the king, ‘Sovereign!’ But they did not know which one of them was which.  What did the king do?  He turned the governor out and put him away from the chariot, so that people would know who was king.

C.  ‘So too when the Holy One, blessed be he, created the first man, the angels mistook him [for God].  What did the Holy One, blessed be he, do?  He put him to sleep, so everyone knew that he was a mere man.

D.  ‘That is in line with the following verse of Scripture:  ‘Cease you from man, in whose nostrils is a breath, for how little is he to be accounted’ (Is.2:22).’ (Gen. R. VIII:X),” as quoted in “The Incarnation of God” by Jacob Neusner

Source: Orthodox Messianic Judaism (