To some, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the stars and the moon, the unknown and the seen, has no face, no color, no race, no one image.

But to others, God can be depicted in a photo, a painting, a poem, or a piece of writing.

Artists have created renditions of God in paintings, drawings and sculptures of the Most High in their image. Most notable among them is Michelangelo’s version of such events as the Creation and the Judgment on the Sistine Chapel in 1512, which set the modern trend for evoking the image of God and Christianity.

But before God, as the world knows him (or her), came to look like a European man, Africans made God in the image of their likeness. Believing themselves to be the creation of the God, Africans possessed a since of pride and understanding that God lived in them, as articulated by Marcus Garvey.

A world-renowned leader, Garvey emphasized to his followers and fellow leaders that the image of God should be made in their own likeness; he understood the power and influence of an image.

Tony Martin writes in “Race First: The Ideological and Organizational Struggles of Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association” that Garvey, like other liberation leaders, believed a God made in the likeness of the race would advance race pride and self-reliance.

“His political use of religion began by the simple argument that if, as established Christian churches preached, man was made in the image and likeness of God, then Black men should depict a God in their own image and likeness, which would inevitably be Black,” Martin writes.

“Garvey pointed out that the practice of Western Hemisphere Africans to worship a God of another race had few parallels anywhere else. It was quite normal for people to visualize and depict their gods in their own color. The foisting of a White God onto Black people was therefore White distortion.”

The image of God was seen in Garvey’s eyes as more than just an image, but a political statement of liberation and a testament to the divine lineage in which Africans ascended from.

In “Conversations with August Wilson” by Jackson R. Bryer and Mary C. Hartig, playwright Wilson notes the importance of the Black God: “Amiri Baraka has said that when you look in the mirror, you should see your God. If you don’t you have somebody else’s God,” he said.

“So in fact, what you do is worship an image of God which is White, which is the image of the same people who have oppressed you, who have put you on the slave ships, who have beaten you, and who have forced you to work. The image was a White man. And the image that you were given to worship as a God is the image of the White man.”

Egyptologist and African history lecturer, Ashra Kwesi, is known for his controversial presentations on the concept of an image’s impact. In terms of spirituality, he believes and has seen the various effects a White-God image has had on Black people around the world.

“If we had a divine representation in our image, it would be impossible to create destruction on each other, create disunity we have among each other,” he explained. “The reason these things exist is because of the negativity. Keep in mind that we were (taught) white is pure and black is bad…. It played in a deep psychic way on us as a people.”

He further explained that present-day images for example of a little Black girl with her hair done up into little horns next to an angelically depicted White girl continues to press the negative portrayal and demonization of Black people.

“This is spiritual psychological warfare, and our people are looking at this (image) and it plays on a deep subconscious part of our mind in terms of seeing ourselves as a demonized, vilified form and not in our divine right,” he said.

Kwesi, like other Pan-Africanist scholars, believes Blacks should return to their divine representation and see God reflected in their own image for self-empowerment, self-respect, and reconnect with their ancestral roots of spirituality.