What Can God "Transubstantiate"?


God can do it with bread. Is there any reason why He can’t do it with a living animal, an mp3 player, a book, or a football?

Goodness, it’s very weird to think about it but I’m genuinely curious!! :o

Thanks and God Bless,


Pretty much anything as God who IS defines what IS (the definition of Substance, what something IS).

But the only authority He gave to the Church was in regards to the Eucharist, and the change is substances is limited in both matter (bread and wine) and Substance ( becomes Christ)


God can transubstantiate anything. He has transubstantiated much.

The Book of Wisdom documents God’s ability to change physical properties of nature and the laws of physics at will, and even speaks of elements changing places…

***For against all expectation, in water which quenches anything, the fire grew more active; **(Wisdom 16:17)

Yet snow and ice withstood fire and were not melted (Widsom 16:22)

For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew (Wisdom 19:6)

**For the elements, in variable harmony among themselves, like strings of the harp, produce new melody, while the flow of music steadily persists. And this can be perceived exactly from a review of what took place. For land creatures were changed into water creatures, and those that swam went over on to the land. Fire in water maintained its own strength, and water forgot its quenching nature; Flames, by contrast, neither consumed the flesh of the perishable animals that went about in them, nor melted the icelike, quick-melting kind of ambrosial food. *(Wisdom 19:18-21)

Christ himself was able to overcome the laws of physics and gravity and overcome the natural properties of water and his own body.

During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea. (Matthew 14:25)

At the end of time, God will suspend the laws of nature and return to us our bodies in a glorified state. God will “transubstantiate” all of creation. There will be a new Genesis, an entirely new creation.

*Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Revelation 21:1)

**The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” *(Revelation 21:5)

Scott Hahn says that the end of time will be “Eucharistic” in that everything will be transformed, made anew, replace with something better. Transubstantiation as we know it is simply one aspect of God’s creative power, the same power which created the universe, which holds it in existence and which keeps producing life. God is continually “Transubstantiating” all of creation.



God once trans*formed* water into wine. However, we have only documented evidence that he tran*substantiated* bread and wine into his body and blood.


That would be correct, but it remained within His power to transubstantiate water into wine, so that the substance would be changed into wine, but retain the accidental properties of water.



Lucy Van Pelt had that same idea about
the football. A devout defender of the Lord,
she was quite misunderstood. :wink:

On the more serious side: Yes He CAN do anything being almighty … and he has done some things somewhat similar to “transubstatiation” (appearing as a burning bush, column of smoke, column of fire, still small breeze, the glory that he showed to Moses as his “back” that changed Moses’ face into something that for a time had to be veiled), etc.

Plus God is everywhere and

Acts 17:24 The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands,

25 nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything. Rather it is he who gives to everyone life and breath and everything.

26 He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions,

27 so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though ***indeed He is not far from any one of us.

28 For ‘In him we live and move and have our being,’ *** as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

The “not far from us” is rather an understatement. The Eucharistic transubstatiation - where the apostles see Jesus, yet he assures them that “This is my body … This is my blood” bespeaks of closer yet. An intimacy, a covenant (to be kept or entered into … or we have “no life” in us!" John 6:53 -56).

And the finale of his revealing Himself to the travelers on the road to Emmaus, where He breaks the bread, and they recognize him, and he disappears - is another transubstatiation without parallel in scripture.

While transubstantiation is quite a special thing the Lord reveals Himself to all humankind is similar but lesser ways.

I sometimes think of what I call the “there’s really no such thing as atheism … it’s self-deception” passage of Paul’s in Romans 1.

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them.

20 Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse;

Jesus’ transubstatiation is for us to actively accept (per the covenant) but our hearts and wills should be offered to Him, so that He becomes active in us and " … increases while (we) must decrease".

As the Lamb of God, Jesus took the blows (ok, like a football being kicked?).
His followers are the lambs and sheep now, and take up our crosses.
Because a football was mentioned, and I began with a bit of humor …
this humorous Christian song of the '60s came to mind.

It alludes to the passive part of our Christian lives. To be the clay in Jesus the Potters’ hands and let ourselves be the obedient, trusting people through whom He wins the victory (and we have then a share of His glory).

**Drop Kick Me Jesus … **(song) Bobby Bare

Make me, oh make me, Lord more than I am
Make me a piece in your master game plan
Free from the earthly temptations below
I’ve got the will, Lord if you’ve got the toe


Drop kick me, Jesus through the goal posts of life
End over end, neither left nor to right
Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
Drop kick me, Jesus through the goal posts of life

Bring on the brothers who’ve gone on before
And all of the sisters who’ve knocked on your door
All the departed dear loved ones of mine
Stick them up front in the offensive line


“Touchdown Jesus” mural at Notre Dame. “GOOD!”


Wow! These are really brilliant answers, guys. Thanks so much!!! :):):slight_smile:


[quote="runningdude, post:4, topic:312204"]
God once trans*formed* water into wine. However, we have only documented evidence that he tran*substantiated* bread and wine into his body and blood.


Your example of the miracle at Cana (last Sunday's Gospel reading in the Catholic Church worldwide!) ... caused me to think of the "detail" that Jesus involved servants to "help" accomplish the miracle. Obedient servants, at the command of Mary, stood ready to "do whatever He tells you to do." Like obedient sons.

A hidden detail of the Last Supper is ... where did Jesus get the bread and wine?
Servants prepared the upper room. We don't even know their names, but they brought the bread, wine, and probably those parts of the Passover Meal (lamb, herbs etc.) that were consumed that night, unless the apostles brought them. And even if it was Jesus brought them to the upper room ... he got them from (whom? where?) as it's unlikely he'd have
caused them to come into being in a miracle like the loaves and fishes without that detail being recounted in the Bible.

From that starting point - that Jesus uses people and things even in His transubstantiation, it occurs to me that in our becoming "the body of Christ" (another transubstantiation - or something different? Something awesome regardless) Jesus comes to us through our senses.

His preaching comes through our ears (like the Sermon on the Mount) or our eyes (reading scripture). Our baptism involves the sense of touch. As does the laying on of hands of confirmation.

Annointings especially involve our sense of smell. The Eucharist, sight, taste, touch.
The Mass and worship as proscribed by and perforned as recorded in scripture (all five senses).

The Lord acting upon the elements of bread and wine ... which have no will to agree with Him or disagree we call transubstantiation (though of course the doctrine cannot be reduced to just that element of it). With US ... who have free will and are invited to freely "believe" and "do this ..." and "eat" and "drink" that which He assures us is His body and His blood ... there is a unity with God that comes to us through Christ IF we do OUR part and participate in the covenant by our YES.

Transubstantiation is not the word used to describe what happens to those saints who
are welcomed into His kingdom where St. Paul tells us " ... we shall be like Him," and Jesus declares in His prayer to the Father for His Church:

John 17:20 "I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,

21 so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.

22 And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one,

23*** I in them and you in me, ***that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.

... but it is something LIKE a transubstiation for "His own" shall be changed - yet in that case still be themselves (whereas transubstantiated bread and wine ... are no longer what they used to be though the accidents remain in appearance).

I appreciate your describing the distinction between transformed and transubstantiation runningdude. What I posted above is less of a teaching on my part (as I see it, if someone learns or is reminded of something true, Praise God!) .. . than a review of some things Jesus has told us and shown us.

It is good to remember what Jesus' plans for us are ... and to explore the meanings of His teachings and sacraments in light of that (and certainly never **in spite of *that or *instead of** that).

"Abba. Abba Father. You are the potter. We are the clay. The work of your hands." - lyric from "Abba Father" (Carey Landry) a song used in Catholic liturgy.

youtube.com/watch?v=9mDhpQSzEfM < inspired by scripture.

Galatians 4:6-7
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.


However, changing water into wine is a change of substance.

Transformation is a kind of substantial change. . . the kind we are familiar with. Where the form of a substance changes into another form and thereby giving us a new substance.

I think “transubstantiation” is distinguished as such, and called “transubstantiation”, not because the substance changes (because substances change all the time) nor because only the substance changes (this is what happens, but isn’t I would suggest, the most unique thing about the change), but rather because it is the ENTIRE substance, matter and form, which changes.

Not only that, but, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, the accidents of Christ exist in the Eucharist “in the manner of a substance”. In other words, the change is radically centered on substance in its fullness: the matter and form of bread become the matter and form of Christ, and event the accidents of Christ become present in a “substantial” mode.

In other words, what I am saying is that, if Christ did change the entire substance of water into wine (and the accidents changed too!) I think we could make a plausible case for calling that transubstantiation.



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