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Q&A

Does “God’s right hand” mean He has a body?

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Question:

How can Jesus be at the right hand of God? Does that mean God has a form?

Answer:

When the Bible or the Creed talks about Jesus being in “the right hand of the Father,” it is only a symbolic expression, not literal.

The expression usually refers to a position of Power and authority, as can be seen even in modern usage. But as for the “right hand of the Father” expression, we find this image all over scripture. 

It usually denotes closeness, as can be seen in Psalm 16:8:

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

Or possession as can be seen in Psalm 78:54: 

“And so he brought them to the border of his holy land, to the hill country his right hand had taken.”

Authority as in Psalm 110:1:

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'”

 Honor as in Psalm 45:9:

“Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.”

And Power as in Psalms 60:5 and Psalm 118:16:

“Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered.”

“The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!” 

St. Thomas Aquinas (ST, III, q. 58) notes that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in the following ways:

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  • Jesus dwells with the Father in heaven
  • Jesus, in heaven, shares with the Father all authority, judgment, and Power.
  • Jesus shares in the glory and honor of the Father
  • All things belong to Jesus

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