14 Oct 2008

How Tall is God? Mormons Accuse Prosperity Gospel of Plagiarism

How Tall is God? by Andrew Brown

This looks like one of those unanswerable questions, but it turns out that the Mormons – and the leaders of the American "Prosperity Gospel" movement – believe they know the answer: God is about 6' 2" tall. (He doesn't use the metric system).

The justification for this is Isaiah 40:12, where God, it is said

"hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?"

Kenneth Copeland, one of the leading preachers of the prosperity gospel, has claimed that God is :

"very much like you and me … having a body, complete with eyes, and eyelids, ears, nostrils, a mouth, hands and fingers, and feet."

Quite how you get from there to a measurement of nine inches has not been revealed to me, but an article by Professor Kirk MacGregor in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, from which I got this story, goes on to quote Copeland as he works out the implications in a sermon:

"The Bible says [God] measured out the heavens with a nine-inch span. Well…my span is eight and three-quarter inches long. So God's span is a quarter of an inch longer than mine. So you see…God…stands somewhere around 6'2",6'3", weighs somewhere in the neighbourhood of a couple hundred pounds, little better."

Professor MacGregor's paper then adds the glorious detail that Mormon scholars have accused him of plagiarising their secret knowledge of God for this calculation:

The clear similarity between Copeland's theology proper and that of Mormonism has led LDS scholars to accuse Copeland of lifting his doctrine of God from their theological repertoire. Stephen E. Robinson, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University, charges that "the Latter-day Saint doctrine of God is used…by Kenneth Copeland, of Texas," and Mormon exegete Daniel C. Peterson alleges that Copeland's exegetical remarks could have been drawn from the wellsprings of "only the Latter-day Saints, to whom a doctrine … of human beings and of their literal kinship with God has been revealed."

If I were them, I would shut up about it, but there we are.


It is difficult not to laugh out loudly. It is sometimes difficult to accept that evolution of the human mind is just so much slower than our power to meddle with technology. These minds are thoroughly medieval in outlook - with due apology to some of the more enlightened medieval philosophers.

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