Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) constructed an astonishing portrait of God himself based on a survey of 511 American Christians.
The psychologists questioned a group of devout Christians to find out how they envision the face of God in their minds.
The surprising results of the study found God is not the archetypal bearded old man from Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel.
Instead, most people questioned seemed to think God looks like a young Caucasian man.
Participants in the study were tasked with combing through hundreds of randomised pictures of faces to select which they thought most resembled God.
The selected samples were then combined into one stunning composite image.
Joshua Conrad Jackson, who led the UNC study, said the images chosen in the study were reflective of the participant’s political leanings.
Conservative people were more likely to pick images of strong looking Caucasian faces.
Liberals on the other hand appeared more likely to choose less Caucasian and more feminine faces on the younger side.
Dr Jackson said: “These biases might have stemmed from the type of societies that liberals and conservatives want.
“Past research shows that conservatives are more motivated than liberals to live in a well-ordered society, one that would be best regulated by a powerful God.
“On the other hand, liberals are more motivated to live in a tolerant society, which would be better regulated by a loving God.”
The study also found the perceived image of God is also influenced by the demographics of the participants.
Younger people drifted towards younger faces and attractive people were more likely to pick attractive looking faces in the experiment.
Similarly African Americans tended to pick African American faces from the random piles as opposed to their fellow Caucasian Americans.
However, the study did not find a gender bias – participants across the board picked masculine looking pictures of God despite their own sex.
Professor Kurt Gray, the study’s senior author, said: “People's tendency to believe in a God that looks like them is consistent with an egocentric bias.
“People often project their beliefs and traits onto others, and our study shows that God's appearance is no different – people believe in a God who not only thinks like them, but also looks like them.”
The authors of the study concluded in their paper submitted to the science journal PLOS ONE people tend to imagine a God which best suits their own needs.
The psychologists wrote: “We began this paper with a question: What does God look like?
“Our results suggest that there may not be a single answer for all believers, even within the same religion.
“When believers think about God, they perceive a divine mind who is suited to meet their needs and who looks like them.
“Even though American Christians express belief in a universal God, their perceptions of His face are not universally similar.”