No Resemblance

October 25, 2018
Volume 22, Number 38

Samuel Herbert is on a campaign to collect 10,000 signatures. His aim is to remove a statue in Buffalo, New York that was unveiled in 1983 in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. According to the news story, Herbert already has 6,000 signatures on his petition.

It’s not that Herbert and the 6,000 signers don’t appreciate the legacy of King; they absolutely do. The problem is that the 8-foot bust in the Hershel Walker Bobsled Park doesn’t really look like Dr. King. From the photos I’ve seen, I have to agree. The bust doesn’t come close to the man who became a champion for civil rights in America.

If Herbert achieves his full plan, a new statue – one that actually resembles Dr. King – will be raised on the same spot in 2020.

A record of God’s ten commandments to Israel can be found in Exodus 20. The second commandment reads: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4). The sin of idolatry is addressed in this command. But what if we wanted to make a statue of the only true and living God, the God of the Bible? Wouldn’t that be OK?

The problem is that statues are man-made. Even our best attempts to portray God would fall short. And besides, we don’t know what God “looks like”, as He has not revealed that to us. What we do know is what Jesus told us in John 4:24: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth.”

You don’t have to make a statue to get God’s resemblance wrong. Many people think of God as a stern police office who is only happy when He “busts” someone. Others regard God as a doting grandfather, who allows his grandchildren to get away with anything. There are numerous caricatures of God that people have created that are not at all based on what God reveals about Himself in Scripture.

So we don’t really know what God looks like since He is spirit; we get that. But how can we know anything about God? Can we know anything accurately about Him?

Psalm 46:10 speaks to that question: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Yes, we can know God, but we have to let Him reveal Himself to us through His word. I can’t trust what others tell me about Him, or what I want to believe about Him. The only sure knowledge about God will come from Him.

So, that image you have of God – does it bear any resemblance to what the Bible says?

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2018, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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