What does God look like?

What does God look like?

An impossible question of course. The painter Van Eyck depicted God the Father like this for the altarpiece in Ghent. Superb art.

It looks to me like a rather bored bishop or medieval king waiting for the pomp and ceremony to be over before he can go and find something more fun to do.

Children often ask what God looks like

Parents often reply 'I don't know' or 'what do you think'? A child was once busy drawing. Her mother asked what she was drawing. "I'm drawing a picture of God" the child replied. "But", said her mother, "we can't see God. No-one knows what God looks like". With supreme confidence her daughter responded, "they will know when I've finished my picture". 

Moses wanted to see God

When Moses asked God to be shown God's glory, the response was that Moses would see God's goodness and hear God's name but  God told him
"...you cannot see my face; for no one shall see me and live." (Exodus 33:20).
The Bible is full of metaphors of God - word pictures using familiar images like wind, light, rock, shepherd, father, mother, gardener, friend, king, lion, warrior, judge, bird and many more. None of them tell us what God looks like, but each reveals an aspect of God's nature.

In Jesus God shows himself in human form

John's gospel presents us with the paradox that although on the one hand God is Spirit and
"No one has ever seen God" (John 1: 18)
on the other hand - God lived among us in the person of Jesus and 
"we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only Son, full of grace and truth". (John 1: 14)

What concept of God do you carry in your mind?

What picture language best describes God for you? Has it changed as you have grown or is it stuck?

I love Bernadette Farrell's idea of an 'everyday God', to be experienced in so many ways, all of them deeply Christian. Have a listen to this peaceful prayer meditation composed by her. The images in this You Tube clip are all of creation, some beautiful, some fun, some ridiculous, but all reflect something of the nature of God, who we can and yet can't see.


Comments

  1. Lovely song and lovely images. Seems a pretty fair summary as far as it goes.
    At least no-one can say, God isn't like this, or that.
    Some food for thought here Nancy. Thanks for this.

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    Replies
    1. "...no-one can say, god isn't like this, or that". I think I disagree with you there - more food for thought and another post maybe.

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  2. Catching up on what my fellow bloggers have been writing whilst I dashed through a summer full of family and friends.

    I'm not sure I have a picture image of God, and I don't remember it ever bothering me. As well as the God we 'see' revealed through the Bible and in Jesus, we have God's creation (as suggested as the beautiful lyrics and images you shared) around us to remind us that he is "in all". Hopefully too we can 'see' him in the relationships we maintain and the encounters we have with passing strangers.

    I guess the key thing, is to remember to look!

    Thank you for posting this.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting. I don't have a visual picture of God, but a set of concepts mostly based on metaphors and experiences especially of creation, relationships - other people and of the gospel accounts of Jesus of Nazareth.

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