What Does God Look Like?

I’ve been thinking about God lately, but not like I usually do. Normally I think about who God is, what He does, what He has written, that kind of stuff. But lately I’ve been thinking about what God looks like. I know, you’re not supposed to do that.

Besides that commandment about not making an image of God in any form, the Bible tells us God is spirit, so there’s no physicality to Him. All of the talk in Scripture about God’s eyes, feet, hands, arms, etc. are anthropomorphisms. It’s the writers applying human traits to God so we better understand Him. But in no way is that to suggest that God has a physical body. Still, we humans can’t help but try to imagine what God looks like. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Artists have been portraying God for centuries, the most famous being Michelangelo’s gigantic creation painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, where God’s finger is touching Adam’s finger. God is old and white-haired and pretty buff.

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The End of the World?

Throughout history there have been different “signs” that pointed to the end of the world. At least that’s how people (and by “people” we mean wacky futurists) have often interpreted them. For example:
  • In 1774, the Shakers came to America from England because they believed the thousand-year reign of Christ (called the millennium) was imminent. The Shakers were “fanatically anti-sex “ (no matter they built such great furniture), which was consistent with their end-of-the-world beliefs. After all, procreation doesn’t mean all that much if the world is coming to an end.
  • In 1970 Hal Lindsey’s prophetic guide to end times, The Late Great Planet Earth, was first published. Lindsey never actually set a date for the end of the world, but his book suggested it would take place before 1988, or forty years after Israel became a nation. The book sold ten million copies in the 1970s alone.
  • In 1978, Jim Jones ordered members of his cult to commit suicide because “it was time.” Tragically, more than 900 hundred people drank the Kool Aid.
  • In 1988 thousands of people bough a booklet entitled 88 Reasons Why Jesus Will Return in 1988. The book went out of print on January 1, 1989, and the author hasn’t been heard from since (big surprise).
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My Goal in Every Conversation with Mormons

The following post first appeared on Stand to Reason.

Last week some Mormon missionaries showed up at my door. I was unavailable at that moment, so we set up an appointment for them to come back next week. I’m looking forward to the conversation, but I don’t anticipate much impact…in that single conversation. After years of dialoguing with Mormons, I’ve learned to take it slow. Indeed, ex-Mormons will tell you that a patient approach is the best one. 

Think about the Mormons you know. Most of them probably grew up in the LDS Church. Their parents are Mormons. Their family members are Mormons. Most of their close friends are Mormon. The LDS church plays a preeminent role in their life, touching every area. With this in mind, is it realistic to expect Mormons to abandon their faith after one or two conversations? Probably not. That’s an unrealistic goal. 

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Moses and the Tent of Meeting

The third and final post in the series on Moses’ supernatural encounters with God is a personal favorite in scripture.

Moses and God Upon Mount Sinai

In the last post, and first of a series of 3 on Moses and the supernatural encounters he had with God, we looked at the story of the burning bush.

Did the Burning Bush Really Happen or Was Moses Hallucinating?

Moses had an unusual upbringing to say the least.

Transcending Mysteries: The Interview with Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens

Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens are long-time recording artists who tour the country using their gift of song to point people to the Transcendent. As songwriters, they are well versed in crafting melodies that help us connect to a powerful, loving, and all-too mysterious God. Their work with words has led them to write a book together: Transcending Mysteries: Who is God and What Does He Want From Us?   

The book, published by Thomas Nelson, is a deeply personal discovery of God through the pages of the Old Testament. Many of us – Greer and Owens included – struggle with the Old Testament text and the God we find (or think we find) in it. In the earliest pages they confess, “We fell in love with Jesus then had to figure out what to do with God.” And as you will see in the interview below, the authors discovered that when we embrace the struggle and venture into the unknown we will discover beautiful things about God and ourselves.  

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In the Footsteps of Jesus

There are few places in the Holy Land where you can actually say, “I’m walking on the very stones where Jesus put his feet.” Most places the Bible talks about as familiar stomping grounds for Jesus—Bethlehem, Nazareth, the hillsides around the Sea of Galilee, the Garden of Gethsemane, Golgotha, the tomb—are marked in modern-day Israel, but they are approximations, not the actual locations.

There’s no way to know if Jesus was actually at these particular places as they exist today, not with 2,000 years of dust and debris covering them, not to mention the many churches, chapels, shrines and souvenir shops that dot the landscape.

However, there is at least one spot where it’s pretty safe to say, “I’m walking where Jesus walked,” and that’s the Via Dolorosa, or the “Way of Suffering,” which courses through the old city of Jerusalem. Our guide assured us that these stones deep beneath the current city streets are in fact the stones Jesus touched as he made his way to the cross.

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The Resurrection Matters

The resurrection of Jesus is not just the reason for Easter. It is the most important event in the history of the world. Not only does Christianity rise and fall on the reality and the power of the resurrection, but the very fate of the human race also depends on it.

The apostle Paul said as much in his first letter to the Corinthian church: And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins (I Cor. 15:17).

What does that have to do with the human race? Well, if there’s no resurrection, there’s no Jesus, at least not the Jesus portrayed in the Bible. The biblical Jesus is the Son of God, who came to earth to save people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). In his death Jesus took on the sins of the world. In his resurrection he conquered death and those who believe in him to experience God’s forgiveness and be forever reconciled to God.
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The Incarnation: Amazing Grace

For all the amazing aspects of God’s being, character, and personality—His infinite power, knowledge, wisdom, love, grace, and mercy—the most amazing of all just might be the Incarnation. It is staggering to think about a perfect God taking on imperfect human form, the infinite becoming finite, the immortal taking on mortality, the invisible God becoming visible through His Son, Jesus Christ.

God coming to earth in the form of a lowly human being is such a profound mystery, and so unexpected, that even today, two thousand years after it happened, people still struggle to understand how it was possible. Even followers of Christ often fail to grasp the significance of the Incarnation. Once a year they, along with the rest of the world, are reminded of this event when they celebrate Christmas, but the true implications of what the birth of Jesus means are generally lost amidst the pageantry, decorations, and gift giving.

John Newton a former slave trader, understood what it all meant when he composed the world’s most popular hymn:
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