It always annoys me when, in popular media, depictions or illustrations of “God” always amount to a man in a white robe, with a long white beard, sitting on a throne in the clouds. Case in point…
And that’s not even blasphemous. That’s just a harmless gag, but it annoys me that the default depiction of God—what we visualize when we picture “God”—is a big dude with a white beard, just chilling in a chair. Of course, He’s also shown to be someone who receives people up to His chair, sits us on His knee and promises to give us a bunch of wonderful gifts if we’re good.
Oh wait, that’s Santa Claus.
Not to be pedantic, but I take issue with depictions of God that don’t match the Biblical model. And what is the Biblical model? What does God actually look like? You’re probably thinking: “God is a Spirit; He doesn’t look like anything.” That’s true, of course, and that’s often a source of frustration for people who, like me, are visual learners. Some of us can’t fully understand something until it is visualized for us in some way or another.
Many is the person who has lamented John’s words in the opening of his Gospel account…
“No man has seen God at any time…”
(1 John 1:8a)
They lament it because they never read the next part of that statement…
“No man has seen God at any time. The only-begotten of the Father, He has declared Him”
(1 John 1:8)
People need a way to “see” and “understand” God and since understanding often comes from some kind of direct interaction, God very generously offered up His only begotten Son, allowing Him to be God in the form of a Man.
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!
Jesus is how we know who God is, what God looks like, how God thinks and acts, etc. To see Jesus is to see the Father. I don’t need to see some old, Santa Claus looking guy in a bathrobe to see God. All I need is Jesus.