What does God look like?
When all is said and done, and the entire human race stands before the throne of God, what do you expect to see?
A friend of mine read a sentence to me from a book she was reading. It said that Jesus is the visible God but God Himself is invisible even to the angels. “Do you agree with this?” she asked. Hmmm, I had to think a minute. I also had to search the Bible.
Job 19:25,26 says,
“I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth,
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God.”
Job was being prophetic. In these verses, he is talking about Christ, that we will see the visible Christ. And Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
But God allowed Moses to glimpse His glory. (Remember my post about Moses’s morning prayer?) Then I thought of Isaiah who feared he would die when he saw the Lord. I wanted to check that verse more carefully:
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple (Isaiah 6:1).”
Yes, it does say that. But this is the phrase that caught my eye.
“The train of His robe filled the Temple.”
The Jewish Virtual Library says that Solomon’s Temple was 180 feet long, 90 feet wide and 50 feet high. That’s a big place. And just the lower section of God’s coat was huge enough to fill this big building. So that means the rest of God is. . .
Okay, I’m trying to wrap my brain around this.
The first time I went to Washington D.C. and saw the Lincoln Memorial, I felt so dwarfed by the huge statue sitting on that mammoth marble chair. Wikipedia says the Lincoln Memorial is a tad bigger than the Jewish Temple – 189.7 feet by 118.5 feet and 60 feet high. But God is still bigger than that.
Our first home nestled under Mt. Blanca, one of Colorado’s tallest mountains. We lived at 7500 feet elevation but the mountain, at 14,351 feet, towered far above the alpine valley. God is bigger than Mt. Blanca.
One of the most awe inspiring buildings I have ever seen is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Talk about feeling small and insignificant! This awesome structure, first built in 1147 A.D., measures 350×160 feet and stands at 446 feet at its tallest point. Cathedrals were made to symbolize the expansiveness of God, to lift the soul heavenward, and to remind us that He is Almighty God and we are not. Yet even as expansive as St. Stephen’s is, God is still bigger.
Scripture gives indication that we will see God and that God is big. Here’s the problem. The very words I am using – big, image, see – insinuate form, structure and dimension. Those are all finite terms. If you are expecting to see an image of God, there is an end to an image. The image has to stop somewhere. Images are finite.
God is infinite.
How do you see an infinite being?
I don’t know about you, but at this point, my mind is going on overload. No wonder God said Moses couldn’t handle a divine view. No wonder the Israelites were afraid to see God. Not only is God bigger than our puny little imaginators can handle, He is more pure and holy that our sin-stained lives can face. Isaiah caught that in a nanosecond (see Isaiah 6:5).
Even more mind boggling is that in spite of my sin-stained human frailty, God still cares about me (1Peter 5:7).
And when all things become new, we will be able to cope with the infinite presence of Almighty God, however He chooses to present that to us. Our human limited vision keeps us from being able to fathom what God will be like. Like Isaiah however, we see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12).
I like the way C.S. Lewis described our ability to see Heaven in his book, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” As the travelers approached, Aslan’s Country, they drank the water and found that, although the light around them became brighter, they were able to bear it. They could look directly at the light without pain or discomfort.
I don’t know what God looks like. I don’t know what I’ll see when I see Him. I do know that if I trust in His visible son Jesus, who took on flesh for our sake so we could have a visible link to God, we will one day see the living God in whatever form or infinity He chooses to reveal Himself.
For now, I can only imagine.