God’s image appears to be a clear and originally agreed-upon starting point for discussing race, but it has much more to tell us and even more ways to discipline us than we may initially think.
The concept on its own is complex. The divine image has never been easily defined, despite its importance as a primarily religious idea—highlighted multiple times throughout the beginning passages of Genesis (1:26–28; 9:6-7; 5:1–2 ). So, how do believers see God? What do young kids think God looks like? And what is the color of God? Is God black or white?
- 1 What Is The Image Of God In Black Theology?
- 2 How Do Christians Imagine God?
- 3 What Do Children Think God Looks Like?
- 4 What Is The Color Of God?
- 5 Conclusion
What Is The Image Of God In Black Theology?
The majority of Black Americans classify themselves as Christians and are very devout by traditional standards. For example, believing in a higher being is nearly universal within the Black American Community, with the overwhelming bulk (97%) claiming to believe there is a God or a holy divine being.
Theology Of Black Liberation
Black Theology, often known as Black Liberation Theology, is a theological worldview developed by African-American intellectuals and seminarians. It articulates Christianity in an effort to support people of African heritage in their fight against injustice.
Disappointed with present Protestantism, several blacks have turned toward something different: black theology, which attempts to connect the Scripture to their experiences. Therefore, black theology stresses that blacks must be addressed with equal respect and honor given to whites because they, too, were made in God’s image.
A Black Image Of Christ
A black figure of Jesus is frequently used in Black Liberation Theology. According to research results collected from the National Black Politics Study in 1993, having a black picture of Jesus is associated with a goal for racial independence but not with racial harmony, voting habits, or a view that religious institutions should be active in politics.
How Do Christians Imagine God?
Steven O. Roberts, a psychologist at Stanford, served as the team’s leader while they performed a variety of research with American Christians. Considering the prevalent image of the Lord as a white person (on stained glass windows and statues in churches), the researcher aimed to know if people actually believed it.
The team enlisted the help of 444 American Christians and presented them with 12 different pairings of faces that vary in age, color, and gender. Participants were questioned about which of the multiple faces resembled God.
Generally, the study discovered that individuals perceived the Lord to be more man than woman. Further, they discovered that white Christians seem more inclined to describe God as white, whereas black Christians seem more likely to describe God as black.
On the other side, the fact that the depiction of Christ as a white-skinned person having long hair, matching the white people of European countries, conceals the truth that he was actually a native of Middle Eastern heritage, most probably with a skin tone that was not entirely as European and white like has been popularly portrayed throughout centuries.
What Do Children Think God Looks Like?
Due to the popularity of God’s image as a white male in the adult population, Steven Roberts was also interested in how these impacts manifested in the American young children who are constantly exposed to God. The study selected 176 young people from the ages of 4 to 12 at eight parishes, five within Northern California and three within North Carolina, attending their Sunday school. All of these youths were instructed to sketch a portrait of God.
These portraits were then displayed to a group of 224 older participants, who were prompted to identify every portrait based on their age, gender, and race. To guarantee that people’s evaluations were fair, religious imagery was removed from the sketches, thereby indicating that these were not depictions of God. All in all, adults thought the children’s drawings were more man than woman, and white rather than black.
What Is The Color Of God?
Because of this, it may be argued—and occasionally is—that God is a white man’s God. The best way to respond to this statement is: “Obviously He is the Lord of the white people, and the African-Americans, as well as the dark individuals, and all people.” If there is any truth to the Christian God’s existence, then he is the Lord of the entire earth and every individual who lives on it.
The Misconception Of God As A White Male
It appears that some mistake on the behalf of Christians, both present and past, has resulted in the incorrect and bizarre image of God as someone with the features of a white man. It is completely wrong by scriptural standards.
As the Psalm proclaims clearly, “God is not a human.” Even Christ declared, “God is Spirit.” We’re not sure if spirit can have the feature of color, but if it does, we’re not taught what color it really is. Furthermore, both the New and Old Testaments assert that the Lord is invisible to people.
The notion is not just incorrect, but also bizarre. The land in which both Christianity and Judaism thrived created Semitic individuals, not white-skinned Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Moreover, if they held a humanlike depiction of God in their heads despite being prohibited from creating images because of the Second Commandment of God, it most likely resembled Semitic skin colors.
Christianity Isn’t A Race-Based Religion
The concept that people regard God as white is unusual for a further reason. Christian faith is not and has never been, an ethnicity or race-based faith. In the few years after Christ’s death and resurrection, the church was destroying ethnic prejudices and removing barriers among people’s communities.
Simon, a powerful leader in Antioch’s first-century church, was most likely Black. On top of that, the religious leader Philip converted a high-level Ethiopian official to Christianity who was certainly Black, years before the First Church was established. Even though the majority of the church was olive-skinned, along with Apostle Paul, they were impelled to propagate the message of the compassionate God across ethnic and racial borders.
A Remedy For Racism And Rebellion
It would be great to witness the restoration of the Lord’s image in our society, as a remedy for both the racism we experience toward one another and the rebellion we experience against God.
We cannot support others in properly understanding the image until we lead them to holiness, humility, and the real knowledge of the Lord. God’s image appeals to the significance of all individuals, and it beckons each individual from every race, nation, and culture to serve the One who we must persevere to turn ourselves into His likeness.
There is no such thing as white nature, Asian nature, Hispanic nature, or black nature. Only human nature should exist. Any conceptions to the contrary just serve to strengthen the racialized beliefs we are attempting to eliminate.
Whenever we begin with white or black rather than God’s image, we lock our fellow humans out of our basic humanity, acting as if we can’t communicate with each other, grow from each other, or accept each other over racial and ethnic lines.
Indeed, the image of God isn’t simply something we have or just some physical attribute; it is our ultimate objective and goal in life—what we are meant to accomplish and become (1 John 3:2–3).