Do Christians believe that God the Father has a shape and form? if so, then what does he look like?
Not really - sometimes He is depicted as an old man (makes sense to depict someone described as ‘Father’ in that way). But that is just symbolic, we don’t really believe that He actually looks like an old man. We don’t even believe that He has any particular physical form or anything. It was Jesus who took on the form of man, not God the Father.
Often pictures of the Holy Trinity have depicted Father, Son and Holy Spirit together as three young men, all looking alike. This is an expression of the unity of the three persons of the Trinity. The Spirit is described in scripture as taking on several - non-human - forms - a dove, a great wind, tongues of fire. So again, depicting the Spirit as human is just symbolic as well.
We’ll find out in due time.
Well, we know what Christ looks like as according to sister Faustina, who was told by Our Lord to draw Him which relates to the Divine Mercy image. But God the Father, that’s a hard one. Maybe He doesn’t even take on a form…
In Geneis 18 it is written that God came down as “human” form to Abraham along with 2 other “messengers” but no description is given.
Abraham spoke to God and asked Sarah and the servant to prepare a meal for Him.
1 The LORD appeared to Abraham by the terebinth of Mamre, as he sat in the entrance of his tent, while the day was growing hot.
2 Looking up, he saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them; and bowing to the ground,
3 he said: "Sir, if I may ask you this favor, please do not go on past your servant.
4 Let some water be brought, that you may bathe your feet, and then rest yourselves under the tree.
5 Now that you have come this close to your servant, let me bring you a little food, that you may refresh yourselves; and afterward you may go on your way." “Very well,” they replied, “do as you have said.”
6 Abraham hastened into the tent and told Sarah, “Quick, three seahs of fine flour! Knead it and make rolls.”
7 He ran to the herd, picked out a tender, choice steer, and gave it to a servant, who quickly prepared it.
8 Then he got some curds and milk, as well as the steer that had been prepared, and set these before them; and he waited on them under the tree while they ate.
you may continue reading the passages, link from Vatican Bible included
Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
No shape, no form. The Father doesn’t look like anything. God is Pure Spirit and thus has no parts - no legs, hands, eyes, etc… Jesus is the Image of the Father because He is the only-begotten Son, having all the attributes of Divinity. His is not a physical image of the Father. If God were composed of parts He would not be God because to be composed of parts indicates a need to have parts in order to exist and in God there is no need. If He were composed of “parts” this would make Him subject to change and to something outside of Himself; God, then, would not be the Necessary Being Who calls everything into existence. Catholics - and Orthodox and most Protestants (and Jews, leaving aside a consideration of the Trinity here) - believe, based on both reason and revelation, that nothing of God is measurable, quantifiable, scientifically observable.
Thanks for the reply everyone,
FCEGM, I share the same view as a non-christian, but I’m curious, isn’t the view of God as not being composed of parts and that He is not measurable, quantifiable, etc… at odds with your belief in Jesus as both God and Human simultaneously?
No, famdigy. GOD, the Second Person of the Trinity, took upon Himself a human form and nature. Joined to that human nature He is known as Jesus, but there is only one Person who is undivided in Himself while being both God and Man. In His human vesture He could be seen, touched, listened to with one’s ears.
The theological term for the union of God and Man in Christ Jesus is “hypostasis”. Briefly put:
The dogma asserts that there is in Christ a Person, who is the Divine Person of the Logos, and two natures, which belong to the One Divine Person. The human nature is assumed into the unity and dominion of the Divine Person, so that the Divine Person operates in the human nature and through the human nature, as its organ," Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott.
So the Divinity of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity did not/does not change; iow, His Divinity is not in any manner altered or aided by the fact of His Incarnation as Man; it is, rather, man who is changed in Christ by our unity in the One Who has raised humanity in and through His Redemptive Death and Resurrection to participate in His Divinity by means of that Incarnation.
In speaking about the Incarnation and Risen Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to see that His becoming Incarnate was pure condescension on His part and not a necessity for His Being; i.e., the Divine Nature of the Son wasn’t/isn’t dependent on having a body for His Self-Existent Communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Second, what is true of the Divine Nature of One Person is true of the Others, since that Nature is One and Unique; therefore, none of the Persons requires a Body for Self-Existence. Third, Christ Jesus has two Natures, one Human, one Divine, not one; the Divine Nature when united to the Human Nature of Jesus Christ does not come into any sort of limitation in that Human Nature; His Divine Nature fills and fully informs the Human Nature, the Human Nature does not fill His Divine Nature.
St. Anselm addresses this:
“For we affirm that the Divine nature is beyond doubt impassible, and that God cannot at all be brought down from his exaltation, nor toil in anything which he wishes to effect. But we say that the Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man, one person in two natures, and two natures in one person. When, therefore, we speak of God as enduring any humiliation or infirmity, we do not refer to the majesty of that nature, which cannot suffer; but to the feebleness of the human constitution which he assumed. And so there remains no ground of objection against our faith. For in this way we intend no debasement of the Divine nature, but we teach that one person is both Divine and human. In the incarnation of God there is no lowering of the Deity; but the nature of man we believe to be exalted.”
And from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
“It is to be remembered that, when the Word took Flesh, there was no change in the Word; all the change was in the Flesh. At the moment of conception, in the womb of the Blessed Mother, through the forcefulness of God’s activity, not only was the human soul of Christ created but the Word assumed the man that was conceived. When God created the world, the world was changed, that is, it passed from the state of nonentity to the state of existence; and there was no change in the Logos or Creative Word of God the Father. Nor was there change in that Logos when it began to terminate the human nature. A new relation ensued, to be sure; but this new relation implied in the Logos no new reality, no real change; all new reality, all real change, was in the human nature.”
In addition to the excellent post by FCEGM, here’s a quote by Saint John of Damascus (an Arab Christian who worked for a Muslim court in the 700’s, incidentally) that discusses Christ’s flesh and the glorification of it within the Trinity, thus I think it is relevant:
We hold, moreover, that Christ sits in the body at the right hand of God the Father, but we do not hold that the right hand of the Father is actual place. For how could He that is uncircumscribed have a right hand limited by place? Right hands and left hands belong to what is circumscribed. But we understand the right hand of the Father to be the glory and honor of the Godhead in which the Son of God, who existed as God before the ages, and is of like essence to the Father, and in the end became flesh, has a seat in the body, His flesh sharing in the glory. For He along with His flesh is adored with one adoration by all creation. An Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV, Chapter 2]
The Christian concept of God as a Trinity is one of Love. God’s the Father’s Love is reflected back to Him in the mirror image of God the Son, with God the Holy Spirit the bond between them, the Third Person, who seeks out all the deep things of God.
When I say “Person”, perhaps it would be better to think of “personality” since the word “Person” tends to have limitations in our own mind.
That said, God the Son took on the form of a man in Jesus Christ, for a specific purpose. God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were still operating as they originally were. After Christ ascended, He sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
Nor can they act independently. As Christ said, “The Son can do nothing without the Father, and the Father can do nothing without the Son”, hence, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father.”
This trinitarian aspect of God is reflected in humanity. You’re a trinity yourself - body, mind and soul. The human family is a trinity - father, mother, child. We’re made in God’s image. The perfect marriage would have no conflict between members, but each would act interdependently. It’s meant to be a human reflection of God’s trinitarian super-nature.
I had the peculiar experience of my father appearing in my room the night he died several kilometres away. His body was dead, but his soul and mind appeared to be functioning as we talked, he could see me and I could see him, and at the end he gave this terrifying scream and disappeared. The point is one aspect of his human trinitarian nature - his body - was dead, but the other two components of soul and mind were still working (despite no longer having a brain, mind you). “Near Death Experiences”, much more common these days due to more advanced medicine, indicate a similar reality.
As to what God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit look like in their uncreated form, none of us knows. If we can’t even explain fully how our own mind, body and spirit works, how are going to understand God’s super-nature?
There’s an old traditional story where some medieval saint was pondering this question of the trinity, and getting frustrated. As he walked across a village square, he spotted a young boy pouring water into a hole in the ground from a bucket. Bemused he asked the boy what he was doing. He replied, “I’m trying to pour the ocean into this hole in the ground.”
The old saint laughed. “Son, you’ll never get the ocean to fit into this hole!” To which the young boy replied, “I’ve got more chance of getting the ocean into this hole than you have of understanding what you’ve been thinking about.” The old saint was startled. When he looked back a minute or two later, the boy had disappeared, and he never saw him again.
The “boy” was an angel, sent for the experess purpose of telling him to stop wasting his time trying to understand the Trinity, which was something he just could not possibly comprehend with his limited, human mind.
Oh, please are you for real? The picture I have seen in Church of the Divine Mercy image I as a Catholic am to accept this as true likeness of Our Lord? Do you also accept the image on the Shroud of Turin as authentic? They are vastly different.
It matters little what Our Lord looked like but Who He Is.
Your question makes no sense coming from you.
God’s blessing upon you and yours.
You seriously raised an old thread just to say that? :mad: