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In the Bible it says [Gen 3:8]: "And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day". It seems God has carnal body (thus he could walk). In Judaism compared with Christianity and Islam, they often think God is not in a visible form. So my question is 'is it real that God has a body in Judaism'?

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Hi, Popopo - welcome to Mi Yodeya. I've taken the liberty of editing your question a little bit, just so that it reads better in English. –  Shimon bM Oct 6 '12 at 4:30
the "shaar yichud" demonstrates logically that something eternal cannot have any kind of borders. Hence, it cannot be corporeal. –  ray Feb 15 at 21:12
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

The short answer to your question is "no", and that references to God's body in the biblical and rabbinic literature need to be understood figuratively. That said, there's a lot more to this than just "no", and there have been many religious Jews throughout history who have believed that God does (or at least can) possess corporeal form.

In his commentary on Tractate Sanhedrin in the Mishna, the Rambam (12th century) delineated thirteen principles that, at the time, he held to be crucial to Judaism. His third principle states that God does not possess a physical form. People tend to cite that principle today in asserting God's incorporeality.

Prof. Marc Shapiro wrote a book entitled The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised (Oxford, 2005), and in chapter 3 (45-70) he goes into some detail, listing the various rabbinic authorities throughout the ages who have either supported the view that God possesses physical form or who have disputed with the Rambam over his making it necessary to believe that God does not.

For an interesting example of an ancient text that discusses God's dimensions, and that the Rambam was influential in having destroyed, see Gershom Scholem's On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead (New York: Schocken Books, 1991) - in particular, pp15-37.

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It's helpful, thank you. –  Popopo Oct 7 '12 at 3:30
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The earlier answer by Shimon bM addresses God's corporeality; I'll take another tack and address your reading of Genesis 3:8. You say it implies God's corporeality by saying He was walking through the garden; in fact, though, the plain reading IMO is that God's sound, not Himself, was walking (i.e., traveling, moving) through the garden, and this is the reading clearly favored by various commentators quoted by Nachmanides in his commentary.

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Does God have vocal organs so that he can make a voice? –  Popopo Oct 7 '12 at 8:12
@Popopo, no, indeed. First off, I've now edited my answer to better translate the word in question (which is used for the sounds of all sorts of things, not only things we use voice for in English) as sound. Second, even if He has no vocal cords, surely He can cause vibration of air that makes people hear sound. –  msh210 Oct 7 '12 at 8:18
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