what would a god look like?


Religions generally present images of their gods, so there are lots of pictures to choose from. Some are based animals, and lots are imaginative mixtures of human, animal and verging on nightmare images. Google ‘hindu goddesses’ for a particularly fine selection.

The Jewish religion is quite clear about having a dislike of deity images, so the spin-off religions of Christianity and Islam haven’t had the opportunity to be quite so creative. Furthermore, the belief that man was created in the image of god, coupled with the idea of the human shaped man god Jesus appearing on earth, perhaps gives most Christians a reason to imagine an actual man with a hefty dose of supernatural powers, lurking invisibly somewhere behind the celestial curtain.

But is that what believers really think?  And for those who don’t follow any organised religion, but still have an urge to believe that a god exists, is it necessary to imagine what the deity looks like in order to believe it exists?

Personally, at the time in my life where I believed a god existed, I had no concept of shape, gender or material presence to the being. It was just the natural urge to reach for answers and protection that I’d dragged along from childhood: the invisible friend and perfect invisible parent providing imaginary love and guidance. Surely something outside of our material world, that has the power to create it, would be inconceivable. If we’re going to the imagine the full extent of what-ifs, we have to acknowledge that any existence outside of this universe is beyond our comprehension. Gods we can imagine are the least convincing of all.