There’s a cute story of a little boy who was working on a drawing. His daddy asked him what he was doing. The son replied, “Drawing a picture of God.” His daddy said, “You can’t do that, honey. Nobody knows what God looks like.” But the little boy was undeterred. He continued to draw, looked at his picture with satisfaction and said very matter-of-factly, “They will in a few minutes.” (selected)
Although he was sincerely determined to draw God’s picture, the little boy did not understand that no one has ever seen God entirely. True, it is written that Moses saw the backside of God (Exodus 33:18-34:9). But no one can actually see God face to face and live to tell about it even as God exclaimed to Moses, ” But He said, ‘You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!’” (Ex. 33:20, New American Standard Bible, NASB).
In that context, John the Baptist testified, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known,” (John 1:17-18, New European Version, NEV)
The fact that God hasn’t fully been seen is why he is called, “the invisible God.” Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus Christ is “…the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation…” (NEV).
Though God cannot be totally seen by the naked eye, he has revealed himself to humanity in several ways:
• God has revealed himself in the universe. David spoke of God’s glorious creation of heaven (Psalm 8:3-4). David marveled at God’s handiwork in the heavens as he declared, The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psa. 19:1-6 NASB)
• God has revealed himself by his creation of Earth (Gen. 1:1), including day and night (Gen. 1:2-5); Earth’s atmosphere and formation of continents and oceans (Gen. 1:6-10); vegetation and plants (Gen. 1:11-13); sun, moon, stars and the four seasons (Gen 1:14-19; 8:22; Isaiah 55:9-11; Rom. 14:17); aquatic and fowl life (Gen. 1:20-22); animal and human life (Gen. 1:24-31; 2:7-25).
• God reveals himself by the fact that mankind was created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27). Yes, God is a living person because he had made us in his physical image. Moreover, unlike the animal species, he created mankind to have the ability to think, feel, and choose. Ergo, we are conscious beings with a built-in conscience. Even though we might never have been directly taught the Law of God given through Moses, we have a natural inclination to consciously know what is right and wrong because of conscience (Romans 2:14-15).
• It’s also pointed out that God reveals himself through history. Dr. Alva G. Huffer wrote,
…The historic divine judgments—the Flood, dispersion of nations from the Tower of Babel, destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues upon Egypt, the captivity of Israel, etc.—were revelations of God. Fulfilled predictions God made concerning ancient nations were divine self-revelations. In his providence God uses one nation to punish another and his guiding hands upon the destiny of nations. (Read Habakkuk). According to Ezekiel the recognition of God’s work among the nations will be the major result of the fulfillment of future prophecies. The key phrase of Ezekiel is “that they might know that I am God.” (Systematic Theology, p. 50.)
• We learn about God and how he reveals himself to us primarily through his inspired Book, the Bible. Both Old and New Testaments show us the truth of God’s Word to mankind. We know his work and will through the way he inspired holy men to write the holy Scriptures (2 Peter 1:20-21). The Scriptures are the ultimate written source for receiving instruction of holy living and understanding God’s plan salvation (2 Tim. 3:15-17).
• Now we come full circle to the aim and purpose that God has for revealing himself in so many ways. The living manifestation of God’s Word is the revelation of himself through his only begotten Son, and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jesus was in God’s plan even before God began his creation (Col. 1:15-16). Jesus suffered and died but God resurrected him to immortality to be “firstborn from the dead,” (Col. 1:18; cp. Rom. 6:9) He is, therefore, “before all things” in that God his Father exalted him higher than any thing he ever made before or ever will make in the future: “And he is superior to all things, and in him all things consist,” Col. 1:17, NEV; also Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-4). When the “reasoning” [Greek: logos, “word”] of God “became flesh” at the birth of Jesus Christ (John 1:14), God was literally revealing his plan of salvation for mankind. Though we cannot see God our Father, we can see him through the eyes faith (Heb. 11:1). For Jesus—God’s Son—is the perfect image who, like a mirror, reflects God’s perfect moral character (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; 2:9). That is why Jesus could make the claim, “He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me,” (John 12:45, NASB).
One day, after Jesus has returned and completely established God’s Kingdom, God himself will come down from his heavenly throne to this planet (Revelation 21:1-4). Only those who’ve been faithful to him through conversion in Jesus Christ will be able to see God for they will be glorified with immortality just as Jesus is now (1 Cor. 15:51-52; Philippians 3:21). Just think… believers won’t need to draw God’s picture then to know what he looks like because he will actually be among us! Sadly, as for everyone else who has not accepted God’s Son as Savior, the Bible says that they will never be able to see God (Rev. 20:11-15).
By faith, we turn to the God we cannot literally see in this life, but believe we WILL see in the Kingdom Age to Come. Through his own self-revelation we can see evidence of God’s personal existence. If we know the Son of God, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior we can also know God our Father and his salvation plan even though we don’t visibly see him at present.
What’s the benefit of all this faith in our invisible God now? “Spiritual wisdom and understanding…walking worthily in the Lord…producing fruit for doing God’s good work…being strengthened with all power…patience and endurance with joy…being made suitable to be partakers of the eternal inheritance with all the other believers in Jesus Christ…forgiveness of our sins…” (Colossians 1:9-14).
Here is Steve Green singing his rendition of, “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,” http://youtu.be/MlbnP4_yj18
Good News to YOU!