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What Does God Look Like?

Have you ever wondered what God looks like? Do you picture Him as an old man with a beard floating around in the clouds? Has anyone ever seen God and described what He looks like? The answer is yes! We’ll unwrap that in this article. If God is Spirit, how can He have an appearance that humans can observe? And, if we’re made in God’s image, what exactly does that mean? Let’s check out the answers to these questions and more!

Has anyone ever seen God?

Jesus is God, so, yes. Thousands of people saw Jesus when He walked on earth in human form.

Even before that, God took on human form several times in the Old Testament. God and two angels paid a visit to Abraham. God gave Abraham two important pieces of information: Abraham’s wife Sarah would have a baby in one year’s time, and God was planning to destroy Sodom. (Genesis 18)

Abraham didn’t seem to realize who his visitors were at first. He politely invited them to sit and rest and rushed around to prepare a meal. It wasn’t until God started talking about the future that it dawned on Abraham and Sarah who their visitors were. Even then, Abraham was bold enough to negotiate with God about saving Sodom.

Later, God appeared as a man to Abraham’s grandson Jacob in the night. It was dark, and Jacob thought he was an enemy. He wrestled with Him until God dislocated his hip and revealed His identity (Genesis 32). God’s appearance wasn’t described in the case of Abraham and Jacob.

When Joshua was preparing to fight the Battle of Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword. Joshua asked if he were his enemy or on his side. God introduced Himself as the Commander of the Lord’s Armies, and Joshua fell facedown in reverence. (Joshua 5:13-15)

Moses would meet with God in the Tabernacle. The Bible says, “the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11). Although they spoke with each other, Moses didn’t see God. One day, Moses asked God, “Please show me Your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)

This is what God said,

“I will cause all My goodness to pass before you, and I will proclaim My name—the LORD—in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

But He added, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”

The LORD continued, “There is a place near Me where you are to stand upon a rock, and when My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away, and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” (Exodus 33:19-33)

Notice here that God speaks of Himself as having human-like characteristics: His hand, His back, His face.” Actually, it’s the other way around since we were created in God’s image.

Later, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Apostle John had visions in which they saw God in His glorified state and described His appearance. We’ll check out their descriptions below.

Is God male or female?

God is spirit, so, in a sense, He transcends gender. However, every time God appeared in human form – to Abraham, Jacob, Joshua – He was a man. Jesus was a man.

God always spoke of Himself as father and husband, not mother or wife:

  1. Father (of the fatherless, of David, of Israel, as our Heavenly Father, Abba Father): Psalm 68:5, 2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13, Deuteronomy 1:31, 8:5, 32:6, Isaiah 63:17, 64:8, Jeremiah 3:19, 31:9, Luke 11:13, Galatians 4:6)
  2. Husband (Isaiah 54:5, 2 Corinthains 11:2)

He did speak of longing to comfort and protect Israel as a mother would comfort her son, or a hen would protect her chicks. This is an analogy. It compares two unlike things, except for a resemblance in a particular aspect. God isn’t a mother any more than He is a chicken.

Man as the image of God

As humans, we are created in God’s image.

  • “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:26-27)

What does being created in God’s image involve?

  • God created humans to have authority over nature, to rule over all the animals and the earth itself. When Adam and Eve sinned, part of that authority was lost, and a curse fell on nature.

“And to Adam He said: ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat, cursed is the ground because of you; through toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it will yield for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your bread’” (Genesis 3:17-19).

  • Other aspects of being created in God’s image are our understanding of right and wrong, our ability to reason, and our relationship with God.
  • What does an image do? Your reflection in the mirror represents you. A photograph or statue of a person represents that person. As God’s image-bearers, we reflect His image! “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
  • Despite the fall of man into sin and into the curse, we still reflect God’s image. That’s why God instituted capital punishment. Anyone who kills a person kills an individual in God’s image (Genesis 9:5-6). James 3:9 says we shouldn’t curse others because they are made in God’s image.
  • When we are saved, we are renewed in the image of our Creator God (Colossians 3:10).

As John Piper explains, “We are in the image of God, but how corrupt and fallen and sinful and defaced this image is, and now with our redemption in Christ, we have put on the new man. We have put on Christ, and this now becomes a process of shaping us, making us again into the image of our Creator.”[i]

God is spirit

  • “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)

If God is spirit, how can He have hands, eyes, a back, a face, and other things we consider “physical” characteristics?

As humans, we can only be in one place at a time. However, God is omnipresent, meaning He is everywhere at the same time. He’s right there with you right now, and He’s also everywhere in the universe simultaneously. Time and space do not limit God.

  • “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me” (Psalm 139:7-10).

As a spirit, God is invisible. We can’t see Him; nevertheless, He’s right there with you right now.

  • “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:17)

When the Samaritan woman asked Jesus about the correct place to worship God, Jesus told her that true worshipers worship the Father in spirit and truth. Because God is everywhere, we can worship Him anywhere.

That being said, God can and does meet His created beings in specific places and times. He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8). Ezekiel had a mind-blowing vision of God and so did the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation. God can be on His throne in heaven and in your living room at the same time.

How does the Bible describe God?

Let’s check out the vision that the priest and prophet Ezekiel had of God. This happened after the Jews had been exiled to Babylon. Ezekiel was sitting by the River Kebar when the heavens opened.

  • “I looked and saw a whirlwind coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing back and forth and brilliant light all around it. In the center of the fire was a gleam like amber, and within it was the form of four living creatures. . .

In the midst of the living creatures was the appearance of glowing coals of fire, or of torches. Fire moved back and forth between the living creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. The creatures were darting back and forth as quickly as flashes of lightning. . .

Wherever the spirit would go, they would go. . .

Above the expanse over their heads was the likeness of a throne with the appearance of sapphire, and on the throne high above was a figure like that of a man. From what seemed to be His waist up, I saw a gleam like amber, with what looked like fire within it all around. And from what seemed to be His waist down, I saw what looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded Him. The appearance of the brilliant light all around Him was like that of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.” (Ezekiel 1:4-28)

The prophet Isaiah and the Apostle John also had visions of God on a throne (Isaiah 6, Revelation 4).

Are there multiple Gods?

No, there is no other god other than the Lord God.

  • “You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Deuteronomy 4:35)

Several verses in Scripture speak of “gods” (plural). Sometimes, they are referring to the false gods or idols of pagan people. However, check out these verses:

  • “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords,” (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • “I said, ‘You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.’” (Psalm 82:6)
  • “I will give You thanks with all my heart; I will sing praises to You before the gods.” (Psalm 138:1)

The Hebrew word for “gods” here is Elohim. Most of the time, it means God – the One God. However, it can also mean divine beings, as in angels or even us, in a sense, as the Holy Spirit indwells Christians and all humans are His image-bearers. It sometimes refers to false gods.

God has revealed Himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man at the same time when He walked this earth. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus looked like. However, He must have been very ordinary in His human body. There wasn’t anything special about His appearance.

  • “He had no stately form or majesty to attract us, no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2).

What He looked like wasn’t important. It was how He lived and what He did that matters. He lived a perfect life. He modeled humility, love, patience, and justice for us. He spent hours alone in prayer and was so busy teaching and healing the sick that He didn’t even have time to eat (Mark 3:20). He took the sins of the world on His body when He died on the cross. He broke the power of death when He resurrected.

We will see God

  • “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1 John 3:2)
  • “Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.” (Job 19:26)
  • “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)
  • “No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be within the city, and His servants will worship Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.” (Revelation 22:3-4)

This is our promise as believers. The word for “see” is horao, in a tense that means a future, continuous reality. God told Moses he couldn’t see His face. But one day, when Jesus returns, we will see His face.

Do you know Jesus?

One day, the disciple Philip asked Jesus to show them the Father. And Jesus replied,

  •  “Philip, I have been with you all this time, and still you do not know Me? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?” (John 14:9-10)

Jesus was fully God and fully man. He was the earthly representation of God the Father. He lived a sinless life and died a horrific death to take our sins and our judgment on His body. He loves you more than you can ever comprehend.

Do you know Him? Do You know Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord? When you receive Him as your Savior, His Holy Spirit comes to live inside you and control you (Romans 8:9, 11). Even though you won’t see God until the end of the world, His Spirit gives you the power to live a righteous life and bear fruit for His kingdom. You can have intimacy with God as His child.

  • “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:15-16)


We can’t see God, but He is always there, nevertheless. As believers, His Spirit in within us. We are never alone. We can pray to Him anywhere. We can talk to Him as if He is right there because He is.

[i] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/what-does-it-mean-to-be-made-in-gods-image

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