It's pretty common to wonder what God is like. In Romans 1:19b–20 (NASB), God weighs in on Himself. He begins to define for us the image He wants to put in our minds. God wants to make sure we know who He is:
That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
According to this passage, anybody, anywhere on planet Earth, can look up and look around and consider the universe—the mountains and waterfalls, the animals and sunsets, the stars and volcanoes, the marvelous flight-producing design of a feathered bird, the half a billion neurons in the motor cortex of your brain that are present just so you can talk—and conclude that there must be some divine force behind it all.
That’s good news. Nature shows us indeed that there is a God, a creative, beautiful, intelligent God. And we can see evidence, like perfect fingerprints, of God all around us. For instance, not long ago, scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to spot a galaxy they named GN-z11, the farthest galaxy away that we’ve ever seen. It’s 13.4 billion light years away from us, and according to Romans 1, God’s eternal power and divine nature can, in fact, be understood from what has been seen. Thanks to this far, far away galaxy— and many other evidences of God—people are “without excuse.” When we consider that galaxy and the sheer craziness of how big the universe is, most people can’t help but be drawn toward a divine being that is bigger than us all.
Besides leaving clues all over His creation, God gets even more specific in telling us what He’s like. Hebrews 1:1–3a describes how the revelation process trickles down. First, creation reveals God, as the Romans passage pointed out. Then the writer to Hebrews picks up the chain of events:
In the past, God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.
The prophets of the Old Testament reveal God in a more specific way than even Creation reveals Him. They point people to a coming Messiah, and that’s where the funnel ends, with the coming of the Messiah, the person of Christ. Look at that phrase more closely—when Jesus, God’s Son, stepped onto planet Earth, He is described as, “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.” In other words, Jesus showed us clearly who God is. God showed us who He is by sending Jesus, and Jesus was a walking, talking, living, breathing picture of God on earth.
Because God wanted you to have an unmistakably clear picture of what He is like, He sent Jesus into the pages of human history with this hope: For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
Don’t miss these two powerful truths:
- God has given us the light of the knowledge of His glory.
- This knowledge of God’s glory is found in the face of Christ.
Jesus’ life is recorded in the pages of Scripture, partially so we can know what He did and stood for and came to offer the world, and partially so we can know what a glorious God looks like. Jesus sketched on the canvas a picture of who God is for all of us to see and understand so we can respond to God in the right way.
Now, when Scripture says in Hebrews that Jesus is the “exact representation” of God’s being, that doesn’t mean that God is a smiling five-foot-eight, dark-haired, bearded Jewish man with a lamb in His arms. It means that if we look at the heart of Christ, the mind of Christ, the attitudes of Christ, the way Christ treated people, the things He said, the way He lived, the way He valued the world and all things in it, we’ll see in Jesus a picture of what God is like.
This is so key for us to grasp. In Jesus, God most clearly says, “Here I am. Here’s the most accurate picture I can give you of what I’m like.”
In Not Forsaken, Pastor Louie Giglio invites us to reframe our view of fatherhood by understanding that God is not simply the bigger version of our earthly dads. He is the perfect version of our earthly dads. And, He’s inviting us to walk in freedom as loved sons and daughters of the King. God is not the reflection of your earthly father; He is the perfection of your earthly father.