What does God look like? It’s an almost impossible question to answer since God is revealed to us in the Bible as one God in three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. The Bible tells us that “No one has ever seen God” (1), so how can we find out what he’s like?

 

I want to begin by mentioning three men who had a vision of God. Two men are Old Testament prophets called Isaiah and Ezekiel, and the third is the apostle John from the New Testament, Isaiah is very specific about when he saw God. It was the year that a king called Uzziah died. That was 740BC. In that year Isaiah said, “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” 2)) Isaiah is quite specific about the seraphim (angels) but all he mentions about God is the length of his robe. There’s no description of his appearance.

 

Ezekiel had a dramatic vision, and in the book named after him he goes into great detail about the angels, but when it comes to God he says no more than this, “High above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” (3) Words failed Ezekiel. The best he could do was to talk about the appearance of the likeness of God’s glory.

 

The apostle John, in the New Testament, also had a vision of heaven that is quite amazing. Once again, a clear description of angels but all he can say about God is, “There before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby.” (4) That’s it, he had nothing more to say.

 

The visions these three men had tell us so much but none of them can describe God. What they saw was both overwhelming and beyond description, so can we know God?  Thankfully, the answer is yes. The same Bible verse that tells us no one has ever seen God goes on to tell us, “The one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” (5) One of Jesus’ disciples once asked him how we can know the Father, and Jesus replied “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (6) Does that mean I can give you an Identikit picture of God? No, it doesn’t because the Bible doesn’t tell us anything about Jesus appearance beyond the fact that he had a beard. All the paintings we see of him are westernised impressions and almost certainly nothing like Jesus at all.

 

Ultimately, it isn’t important to know what Jesus or his Father look like. What is important is to see the character of God, what kind of person is he, and in that we have the example of Jesus to reveal God to us. We see someone who is humble, loving, having a compassion for the poor and sick. He never promoted himself but acted always in complete obedience to God, as his perfect servant. He spoke out against evil and took action when he saw things that angered him. He never lied, never treated anyone badly, never spoke or acted inappropriately. He was perfect and God is perfect. It is this perfect God who showed his love towards us in that, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (7) This indescribable God, who overwhelmed those who saw him, loves us and he gave up his Son to die for us. Nowhere do we see more of the love of God than when we look to Jesus dying on a cross and being punished for our sins. A God like this, who loves like this, deserves a positive response from us. It’s right that we confess our sins and turn to God, accepting the salvation he offers us through Jesus.

 

Bible References:

  • John 1:18
  • Isaiah 6:1-3
  • Ezekiel 1:26-28
  • Revelation 4:2,3
  • John 1:18
  • John 14:9
  • Romans 5:8