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Brotherly Debate

I was about eight years old, making my older brother Dan ten and my younger brother Tim seven. We had been sent outside by our mother to run off some of our energy. We played with some sticks and rocks in the yard for a little while then we sat on the front steps of our house looking at the clouds in the sky.
“Do you ever wonder what God looks like?” Tim asked as he gazed up into the late afternoon sky. Our little sister’s cat, Scratchy,was stalking something in the sparse grass that made up our yard.
“What do you mean?” Dan asked.
“I wonder what his face looks like,” Tim mused. “I think he must have a beard.”
“Oh, yes. God definitely has a beard,” Dan agreed. We all nodded quietly, agreeing that God did have a beard, making us ‘beard-ites’ I presumed.
Picturing the image that popped up in my mind I joined in. “Yeah. God has a beard. It’s a short, dark black one like Bluto on the Popeye cartoons. He looks very powerful.” I said as I tossed a small stick towards Scratchy the cat. She sprung up and landed on top of the stick, disappointed that it wasn’t a mouse.
“No.” Tim stated flatly. “It’s not a short, black beard. It’s black but it’s long, like a Santa Claus beard. Only black.” He said as he watched the cat spring another attack on an imaginary mouse.
“Tim!” I said. “His beard is black, but it’s shorter than a Santa Claus beard.” I said, realizing that our coalition was falling apart.
“Nope.” Tim shook his head vehemently. “Like a Santa Claus beard.”
I looked towards Dan who threw two pebbles, one behind Scratchy and when she turned, another and she spun around, batting her paws at the blades of grass. “What do you think, Dan?” I asked. “Short, black beard, or black, Santa Claus beard?”
Dan turned and looked at us as he drew himself up to pronounce his opinion. “You’re both wrong.” He said. “God doesn’t have a black beard, short or long. He has a white beard that is very long and flowing and billowing like a cloud in the sky.”
“Nooo!” I cried as we all threw something towards the cat. She jumped sideways and looked at us with a glare then walked away. “Black and short.”
“Black and long.” Tim added.
“White and billowy.” Dan said with his most authoritative voice.
We were at a stand-off. “Can I ride your bike, Dan?” Tim asked.
“Yeah.” Dan said. “I’ll push you.”
We spent the rest of the afternoon in the sunshine taking turns riding the only bike without flat tires. But when we saw our Dad’s pickup turning into the driveway we dropped the bike and ran towards him.
“Hi ya’ pups!” Dad said with a grin when we ran up to him. He was just climbing out of his pickup. “What’s up?” Scratchy the cat was rubbing along Dad’s leg and he bent down and rubbed his hand along her back.
“Dad. Doesn’t God have a long, flowing, billowing white beard?” Dan asked.
“Or is it a short and black beard?” I said almost interrupting.
“No, a long black beard, right?” Tim said as I threw a stick behind Scratchy, almost hitting her in the hind end.
Dad looked at us with a bemused smile and then settled the argument. “Nobody knows just what God looks like. The Bible doesn’t tell us.” He began to whistle as he walked towards the house then he turned and said. “You guys better come in and wash your hands. It’s about supper time. And don’t tease your sister’s cat.”
“So the Bible doesn’t say.” I said to my brothers as we looked at each other. We shrugged then grinned at each other.
“Last one in is a rotten egg!” Dan hollered and we ran giggling towards the back door. And that’s how I learned that it’s just as important to know what the Bible doesn’t say, as to know what it does say.
“No one has seen God at any time… “ John 1.18 NASB

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