God: Invented in the Image of Mankind?
by Rich Deem


Inventing God?

Most skeptics believe that the Christian God looks like the old man in the picture Michelangelo created for the Sistine Chapel. Yes, this image of God was created through a person's imagination. However, the Bible says that God looks nothing like this image, but is, in fact invisible and cannot be contained within the entire universe. Obviously, it would have been difficult to depict such a God, so Michelangelo decided that old men were much easier to draw.

Rich Deem

Atheists commonly claim that humans invented God to satisfy some of his fear of death, therefore, wishing God into existence. According to the theory, man realized his limitations and fears and projected an image of God to calm these fears. In short, God is what man wishes to be - a kind of super-man. This model matches the gods of the pagan religions quite well, and possibly explains the origins of these religions. For example, in nearly all pagan religions, the gods look like the people - Ethiopian gods were dark-skinned whereas Greek gods tended to be white. So, aren't all gods just inventions of the people who claim them?

The Judeo-Christian God

In contrast to the pagan gods, the God of Judaism and Christianity does not look like the Hebrews. In fact, He is described as being invisible to us1 and not some image that humans can imagine.2 Accordingly, we can only see Him in His glory when we die and are transformed into spiritual beings.3 The Hebrews were commanded not to make an image of their God.4 The New Testament specifically says that God does not look like a man.5


However, if people were to have invented the God of Christianity, it is unlikely that it would be the demanding God of the Bible. The God of the Bible is described as holy6 - without sin and without the ability to commit sin.7 The holiness of God is described as being above anything that humans can attain, such that no human can stand before Him as holy.8 Behaving more morally upright than most other people is not sufficient to escape the punishment of the God of the Bible.9


Beyond the Cosmos: What Recent Discoveries in Astrophysics Reveal about the Glory and Love of GodIn nearly all religions, salvation is attained through human effort. Only in Christianity does salvation come solely as a gift from God10 - it cannot be earned through human effort.11 Clearly, in doctrines such as the nature of God and the way of salvation, there is very little common ground between Christianity and the religions of the world.

Transcendent God

The God of Christianity also differs from the gods of the world's religions in terms of His nature and existence. Most of the religions of the world describe their god as existing within the universe. In many cases, these gods even have parents. Both of these attributes are logically inconsistent with the reality of our universe. Only a God who is transcendent to both space and time, like the God of the Bible, is logically possible.

God vs. mankind

The God of the Bible is quite unlike humans. Therefore, the idea that humans "created" God is unlikely. A comparison between God and mankind is shown in the table below:

A Comparison Between God and Humans
Characteristic God Humans
Power Omnipotent7 Very Limited
Knowledge Omniscent8 Limited
Presence in Universe Omnipresent9 Restricted to Solar System
Form Extradimensional10 3 Dimensions
Size Larger than Universe11 ~6 ft
Composition Spirit (no body)12 Body of Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen
Lifespan Eternal13 ~120 years
Morality Absolutely Holy14 Sinners

Dios: ¿Inventado en la Imagen del Género humano?

References Top of page

  1. But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" (Exodus 33:20)
    When He passes me I cannot see Him. When He goes by, I cannot perceive Him (Job 9:11)
    The Almighty is beyond our reach (Job 37:23)
    No man has seen God at any time... (John 1:18)
    No man has seen the Father... (John 6:46)
    And He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
    Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God... (1 Timothy 1:17)
    God... whom no man has seen or can see... (1 Timothy 6:16) ...Him who is unseen. (Hebrews 11:27)
  2. "Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man." (Acts 17:29)
  3. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. (1 John 3:2)
  4. 'You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the LORD your God. (Leviticus 26:1)
    "So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. (Deuteronomy 4:15-18)
    "I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images. (Isaiah 42:8)
  5. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:22-23)
  6. 'For I am the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I am holy.'" (Leviticus 11:45)
    "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
    "There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:2)
    But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. (Isaiah 5:16)
  7. Thy way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? (Psalm 77:13)
    Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. (James 1:13)
    in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, (Titus 1:2)
    "Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies-- I [God] cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly. (Isaiah 1:13)
  8. And the men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before the LORD, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" (1 Samuel 6:20)
  9. A jealous and avenging God is the LORD; The LORD is avenging and wrathful. The LORD takes vengeance on His adversaries, And He reserves wrath for His enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, And clouds are the dust beneath His feet. (Nahum 1:2-3)
    It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31)
    For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. (James 2:10)
    For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (Romans 2:12)
  10. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  11. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  12. "Thine, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Thine is the dominion, O LORD, and Thou dost exalt Thyself as head over all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)
    "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty? (Job 11:7)
    ...Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
  13. in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. (1 John 3:20)
    ... Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)
  14. The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)
    But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14)
  15. The Extradimensional Nature of God
  16. "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built! (1 Kings 8:27)
  17. "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)
  18. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the name of the LORD, the Eternal God. (Genesis 21:33)
    "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity." (Micah 5:2)
  19. "There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides Thee, Nor is there any rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:2)
    "But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, (Acts 3:14)

Last Modified November 5, 2007


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