June 22, 2022

What Does God Look Like?

I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Psalm 2:7

It’s an old story but one that bears repeating. A little girl was drawing a picture with bold strokes in bright colors when her teacher, viewing the work of art that had engrossed the child, said, “Tell me about your picture.” The little girl responds, “I’m drawing a picture of God!”

“Hmm, I see,” said the teacher, adding, “But nobody knows exactly what God looks like!” “They will when I’m finished,” added the little girl authoritatively.  Ah, for the spiritual insights of a little child.

Different religious groups come up with differing images of God.  Mormons, for example, teach that God is a perfect, exalted man with a literal flesh-and-bones body (The Book of Mormon, Ether 3:6-16).   Pantheists believe that God is everywhere and everything—the beauty of a sunset, the smile of a child, the fragrance of a flower, and so forth.

Moses said, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.”  He then asked, “Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). No matter how they differ on some things, both Jews and Christians believe pretty much the same thing when it comes to God’s nature and character. Jesus said, “God is a spirit and must be worshiped in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

The God of whom the writers of Scripture spoke is also a person with all the characteristics which we identify with personality—He thinks, He feels, He wills, He loves and hates, He shows mercy, demands justice, and He acts independently of the consequences.

This, obviously, sets Him apart from us who are mortal.  God expressed that through the words Isaiah wrote, saying, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8). Because God’s viewpoint is different than mine, which is limited by time and space, it can only follow that some of the things God does won’t make sense to me.       For years my father-in-law Dr. Guy Duffield taught Bible doctrine, helping college students come to a feeble understanding of who God is.  He would begin his lectures each year saying, “We’re going to endeavor to find out everything that we possibly can…. We’re going to ask every question that we possibly can, and we’re going to learn all that we can….  And when we get to the end and we can go no further then we are going to lift our hands in worship.”

Then Dr. Duffield would explain: “You never worship what you understand.  You only worship when you get to the end of your understanding.” He’s right.  It’s then that you fall on your knees and exclaim with Jack Hayford, “Majesty!  Majesty! Worship His majesty.”

A god so small that you could predict his every whim and fancy would never be one before whom you would bow.  But the real question is simply this: Can this God, the One who spoke the word and brought our world into existence, the One who took clay and breathed into it the breath of life, can this One be known?      Had Jesus never been born at Bethlehem, had He never laid aside His divine power as the Son of God, it would be difficult to answer that question, but He did come.  He did walk among us.  He did say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father!”  And by His life and sacrificial death and resurrection, He showed us what the Father is like.

Resource reading: Psalm 2:1-12