I’m a firm believer that God not only has a sense of humor but has a great sense of humor. As someone who values humor, wit, and banter, I’ve come to see it reflected in Scripture from the One who created the world. God longs to have a relationship with us and made a way for us to be with Him for eternity (John 3:16). So, I can’t imagine that if we, His most valuable creation, have wide varieties of humor that range through individual personalities, that the God of the universe, who created us in His image, does not have one.
Is it Irreverent to Think God Is Funny?
The history of religion has reflected a God who is to be feared (Psalm 86:11), respected (Proverbs 31:30), and revered (Deuteronomy 10:12). And rightly so. But that is only one side to our Lord, yet it has dominated the image of God and Christianity. To unbelievers, God comes across as a vengeful, angry God who fixates on being obeyed and on their unrepented sins. This view, of course, comes from out-of-context Scripture, human perception, and subliminal messaging. Christians, who have a relationship with the Father, know that He is loving and kind. He loved us so much that He sent His only son to be crucified on a cross (John 3:16).
In the Psalms, David reveals a very intimate relationship with God. There we see a God who cares, who listens to David’s cries of anguish, who cries with him in times of distress, and who also rejoices with David. “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). The word delight means, “To take great pleasure” or “To give keen enjoyment.” This delight, this enjoyment, is given to us from the Lord and we are invited to participate in it with Him.
God even gives us guidance on when to express our emotions. Ecclesiastes 3 says,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,… He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil — this is the gift of God.
As we are in a relationship with God, we are given the gift of laughter, dancing, and happiness, not apart from God, but with God.
God Reveals His Humor through His Creation
From the very beginning, we were created in God’s image. What an immense honor it is to have the features of God, to be like Him. As stated above, if we have a sense of humor, then the One who created us has a sense of humor as well.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:26-27).
God reveals His sense of humor through the animals He created: ostriches, elephant seals, platypuses, kangaroos, etc. (Genesis 1:25). He first surrounded Adam with these creatures to relieve Adam’s loneliness, and one way, in my opinion, was by making Adam laugh. Adam was then charged with naming the animals of the world. This, possibly, reveals Adam’s own sense of humor (Genesis 2:19-20).
God Reveals His Humor through His Son
Jesus had a very important mission when He was sent in the form of a baby — His ministry, death, and resurrection — but as He was both fully God and fully man (John 1:14), He experienced the same emotions (John 11:35) and temptations as us (Matthew 4:1-11). We see that Jesus even had fun with His disciples, so much fun in fact that He was accused of being a “glutton” and a “drunkard” (Luke 7:34).
I have also found Jesus quite humorous throughout His time on earth with His disciples. I first noticed Jesus’ sense of humor in John 1:43-49,
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?”
Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
Jesus’ dialogue in these verses, to me, is just seeping with humor. I just envision Jesus humorously clapping and, a bit sarcastically, calling Nathanael out. Jesus, in just two comments, fulfilled prophecy that the Messiah would be called a Nazarene (Matthew 2:23; Isaiah 11:1) and began His ministry with His disciples with humor!
And just the fact that John, one of the three disciples in Jesus’ inner circle (Matthew 17:1; Mark 5:37), included Jesus’ wit in his gospel, reveals how important it was to him that Jesus’ sense of humor be conveyed. The disciples followed Jesus because He was the Son of God and they believed He would save humanity as the prophesied Messiah, but they were also His friends, and friends come together and like each other through similar interests and laughter (Philia love).
In my relationship with God, seeing Jesus’ humor in this passage and elsewhere in the New Testament doesn’t take away or diminish the enormity and seriousness of His ministry, death, and resurrection. On the contrary, it adds to all of who He is and what He did so that I may be with my Lord and Savior for eternity.
God Reveals His Humor through His Word
During my quiet times with the Lord, I have come to Scripture oftentimes sad, confused, and fearful, but I, more often than not, leave cheerful and, at times, laughing out loud at who God is, and I am thankful for the gift of humor and laughter.
One verse had me laughing out loud, Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom…” When I read the first part, “The beginning of wisdom is…” I was expecting a list of ways to obtain wisdom, a how-to list, as it were, but, no. The writer of Proverbs was just like “to have wisdom, get wisdom.” No finer details. We know, from Solomon, that wisdom is a gift from God when asked (1 Kings 3), there are no how-to steps in getting it, and the writer pointed it out in a very straightforward manner, to the point that it was humorous to me.
The humor I found in this verse that particular evening relieved so much stress that I had been carrying, and some I didn’t even know I had until the Lord made me laugh. I came to the Word prepared to find respite and peace, and God quelled my anxieties with His humor. And that weight came off my shoulders (Philippians 4:6) and into God’s hands.
What Does This Mean?
Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16-17), transcendent, and infallible. It is God’s love letter to His people, so that we may know Him and share His love with others. He is revealing who He is to us, and part of who He is, because it is a part of us, is His humor. For all of whom God is, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14), His humor draws us in to help us feel comfortable and to establish a connection in the midst of everything else going on in life. He is our Father, friend, confidant, and lover (Revelation 19:7). When we come to Him in our cry for help and in times of worry (1 Peter 5:7), He is there to comfort us and to make us feel better, to make us laugh.
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Molly Law is the Editor of Christianity.com. She has a Master of Arts in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling UK, where she studied and lived for a year in Scotland. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Professional Writing and a minor in Biblical Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Her editorial career includes Senior Editor of a bimonthly magazine for the American Correctional Association, Editorial Assistant at Luath Press in Edinburgh, and Freelance Journalist for the News Virginian. She enjoys reading 18th-century British Literature, creative writing, and traveling.