What Does God Look Like?

God is Spirit. He dwells in unapproachable, brilliant light.

And It is impossible for man to look upon the face of God and live.

Yet, the prophets of old said he would one day come down from heaven and dwell among us.

Then he did.

Jesus Christ – the son of God in human form, fully God and fully man – came and dwelled among us, fulfilling those prophecies of the Old Testament.

Everybody wants to know about God’s appearance.

What does God look like? What does God’s face look like and what is His physical appearance like?

After all, we were made in the image of God, so it’s only human to want to know what He looks like.

God is so big, so wonderful and so indescribable that it is impossible for the human mind to comprehend.

But he gives us plenty of hints, and they are coming right up.

What Does God Look Like in the Bible?

The Bible doesn’t tell us what the exact appearance of God is in great detail, but it does provide some clues.

The Lord told Moses:

“you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.”  Exodus 33:20, ESV

And no, God doesn’t look like Morgan Freeman, nor does He have a long white beard. These are simply man-made depictions because we want to know so badly what He looks like.

Or in other words, our perception of God’s appearance is often skewed as we simply don’t know what his physical body looks like.

"Creation of Adam" by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. Public Domain.

That’s why we attach human-like traits to God’s image, as we somehow think He looks like us, because He made us in His image (Genesis 1:27).

However, note that he made us in His image, NOT that we’re made to resemble His appearance.

We, as God’s children, are made in His intellectual, moral and spiritual nature, not in terms of form.

Also, it’s for our own good that we don’t get to see His face in our current sinful bodies, because if we do we’ll be toast.

“God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” -John 4:24, ESV

Then again, God is not a human like us. He is spirit, as shown in John 4:24 implying that He looks nothing like what we’re used to.

We can’t even begin to comprehend His glorious appearance. He simply looks unimaginable, like nothing we’ve ever seen or heard about.

What Does God Look Like in the Old Testament

There are several instances in the OT where we’re given more information about what God possibly looks like.

Starting off with the prophet Ezekiel and his description of what he saw:

“And above the expanse over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around.” Ezekiel 1:26-28 ESV

Clearly, the Lord has a human-like appearance, but it’s so much more majestic and incredible than we can imagine.

Even God’s throne is so incredibly marvelous that it’s described as sapphire. That’s God’s glory.

There’s what appears to be fire, gleaming metal, the appearance of a rainbow in the cloud of a rainy day, brightness all around…

It’s simply magnificent and hard to describe. Just ask Ezekiel.

What Does God Look Like in the New Testament

The book of Revelation provides additional detail about what God looks like and it’s somewhat similar to what Ezekiel saw.

Let’s read what John saw and how He describes the appearance of the Lord:

“And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” Revelation 4:3 ESV

Note that this description reflects God’s brilliant purity and brightness.

That’s because the jasper stone shines really brightly when light goes through it, in a similar fashion to a diamond.

Let’s now look at the second example from the same book and author:

“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”  Revelation 1:14-16 ESV

Wow, indeed! God’s eyes are like a flame of fire. His hair is like pure wool, even snow.

This is the glory of God on full display and we can only imagine how much greater it actually is. After all, this is only John’s depiction.

Clearly, he did his best to try and describe God’s appearance from a human perspective. Talk about a hard task.

The Lord Can Appear in Different Forms

Although we don’t really know what God truly looks like, there are Bible verses that show us that He appears in various forms throughout Scripture.

They give us an even more mind-blowing and perplexing insight into His appearance.

Here are some examples:

A Burning Bush

For this one, we have to go back to the times of ancient Israel, before the Israelites even made it to the Promised land.

This is when Moses saw the Lord God in His glory on Mount Horeb and He appeared to him from a burning bush:

“And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” Exodus 3:2 ESV

Pillars of Cloud and Fire

This is the second time we use an example from Exodus, as God appeared to the people of Israel, to lead them, in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire:

“And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22 ESV

What Does God Look Like in Heaven?

The Scriptures don’t tell us what God will look like in heaven, but based on verses like Hebrews 1:3 ESV, we can conclude that He’ll look like Jesus.

After all, Christ is the brightness of God’s glory.

What we know is that God is three distinct persons, yet they’re all the same singular God. (it’s hard to grasp, I know):

  • The Father
  • The Son
  • The Holy Spirit

They’re all equally One God, yet they remain three different persons.

The only person of the Holy Trinity that mankind has seen face-to-face is Jesus Christ.

However, when we receive our glorified bodies and go to heaven i.e. New Jerusalem, we’ll be able to see our Creator.

We’ll be able to “see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2 ESV).

We won’t be blinded by sin anymore, implying that we will be able to see God in His glory. Not being afraid due to our fallen state as sin and death will be done away with.

No more pain, no more sorrow, no more tears. Everything that once was has passed away (Revelation 21:4).

Isn’t this something that you’re totally looking forward to?

I know I am!

Did you know that Jesus Claimed to be God? Not only did he claimed Godhood many times, and he was blatant and overt about it.

But until then, we all crave better lives, being guided by the leadership of Jesus, our great shepherd (Hebrews 13:20 ESV), who currently sits at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19 ESV).

What is the Physical Appearance of God?

Jesus Christ is the physical form of the Lord. He is son of God and son of man. (Learn why Jesus is called Son of God and Son of Man)

At the beginning of Hebrews from the New Testament, we’re told that Christ is the express image of His person (God’s).

Jesus reveals God’s nature toward mankind as everyone who saw Christ saw God (John 14:9).

He is God in the flesh i.e. the Son of God and the one who the Father sent to bring the good news to the world. The gospel – the good gift of eternal life.

He’s fully God, yet fully human. I know, it’s quite hard to wrap your head around this fact, but this is just another truly amazing aspect of our Creator.

But since we’re on the subject of God’s appearance, note that Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God, as recorded by Paul, a disciple of Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:15 ESV.

You’re now probably wondering – so what did Jesus look like?

Well, the Bible never mentions that the hairs of his head were long and blond, blue eyes, fair skin etc.

All the Christ images and depictions in movies and popular culture are man-made.

Even the Shroud of Turin cannot be 100% trusted as it hasn’t been verified. Take it to the Lord in prayer if you want to, the Holy Ghost will guide you.

Jesus Doesn’t Look like a Fitness Model

Let’s go to the Old Testament and you’ll realize that Christ didn’t look like a fitness model:

“For he grew up before him like a young plant,  and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2 ESV

He looked like an ordinary man and what could be wrong with that?

Some folks, especially younger people, are so obsessed with the appearance of a man that they’d probably reject Christ if they realized he doesn’t look like a Hollywood actor.

All of this can only stem from a sinful man, such as you, me and everyone else.

The physical appearance of the Son of the God of the Bible is irrelevant to our salvation.

As sinful human beings, all that we need to do is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Simple as that.

Let’s not forget what Paul and Silas told the jailer when he asked them, “what shall I do to be saved?”

“And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31 ESV

That’s all. And that’s the most important thing.

And the good thing is that everyone can be saved – all that he or she needs to do is believe in the Lord Jesus.

The reasons Jesus said the following words: “For he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48 ESV) are obvious. God views things differently than us and the outward appearance is not what he considers when dealing with us.

Whether Jesus was a beautiful man or not is completely irrelevant.

In fact, as a genuinely born-again believer, there’s simply no need to be concerned with this.

Final Thoughts

Our limited human understanding is struggling to cope with the fact that God’s appearance is something that we cannot truly comprehend.

God’s beauty and glory are beyond our scope. We just can’t possibly know what He really looks like.

The Bible tells us that God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29 ESV). But He’s so much more than that. Our finite human minds can’t possibly comprehend this. And that’s perfectly fine.

Sure, the descriptions from the Scripture regarding His appearance give us some clues. This is all an intimate knowledge of God.

We know the nature of God, that He is longsuffering and He wants us to turn away from our sins to turn toward His son:

“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 ESV

And that’s what we need to focus on. Not what His appearance is. Whether He has long hair or not.

This is not a salvation issue and we shouldn’t be worried about it.

Eventually, one day we’ll be with the Lord and we’ll be able to be in His presence. To see Him as He is.

But until then, let’s meditate on what Christ instructed us to do prior to His return:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” -Matthew 28:19-20 ESV

Is your Faith Founded on Fact? Have you committed to follow Jesus?

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