If god had a name, what would it be?
And would you call it to his face
if you were faced with Him in all His glory?
What would you ask if you had just one question?

And yeah, yeah, God is great.
Yeah, yeah, God is good.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
What if god was one of us,
just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home?

If God had a face, what would it look like?
And would you want to see
if seeing meant that you would have to believe
in things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints
and all the prophets?

And yeah, yeah, God is great.
Yeah, yeah, God is good.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
What if god was one of us,
just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home?

Just trying to make his way home, back up to heaven all alone.
Nobody calling on the phone,
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome.

Yeah, yeah, God is great.
Yeah, yeah, God is good.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
What if god was one of us,
just a slob like one of us,
just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home,
just trying to make his way home, just like a holy rolling stone?
Back up to heaven all alone, just trying to make his way home.

Nobody calling on the phone,
'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome.


Lyrics submitted by Justa

What If God Was One Of Us song meanings
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69 Comments

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  • +6
    General Commentthis song is awesome.
    it's about how people always talk about God with such ease and never really think He/She might be the stranger you bumped into and then yelled at. He might be the homeless guy you look at with contempt or the quiet girl in your glass who you pick on, because you want to fit in. This song reminds me how cruel life can be and how lonesome we can get, no matter how wealthy or powerful we are, in the end of the day, when you are all alone in your fancy apartment and have no one to call to and have no friends who would invite you out.
    Chamigaon January 01, 2005   Link
  • +4
    General CommentEach person imagines God in a different way. We all have our perspectives about Him/Her/It.

    And I know a lot of people think, "If God is so great, how did he let all these wars happen, etc..."
    TO ME, God didn't go wronge...we we're the ones who made the earth the way it is today. We we're the ones who made the wars, and the inventions, and the hatred, and the love. This is our own outcome. And if God didn't stop the wars...he sure didn't make it worse. Their could have been much more worse outcomes! We are the ones that have to fix these problems because we created it! If God came to our rescue everytime something bad happened...it would be a daily routine to crash airplanes, kill people, etc...because we would know God would fix it.

    God is making us stronger...life cant always be meadows filled with daisys and roses...we have to learn how to deal with our problems.

    Thats just my conclusion. We all have our perspectives about this topic, and this song was Joane Osborne's. Plus, listing to this song always makes me wonder all the questions she asks....
    Plus, I'm just a 12 year old kid who to some people dosin't have an opinion at all. If you're like that...you can just ignore this post. But this is my feeling towred this topic.
    BrokenPianoon August 21, 2005   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningJust came back from Carrefour, Haiti (Jan. 16,2012)

    Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered this song. The Missions workbook we used on our team spoke of how difficult it is to enter another culture, and really identify as one of the people. I think I've learned that a little more, and how what Jesus did for us was so TOTALLY OVER-THE-TOP AWESOME. Our group of Americans, worked alongside Haitians rebuilding from the devastation of the 2010 earthquake during the day, but we went to a safe location at night, with a cot to sleep on. We had people make us food that wouldn't get us sick. We didn't have to go down to the well to pump our bathwater. The facility was guarded while we slept. We had very gracious hosts. But the people we went to help might always be at a distance from us, because we really didn't live in their worlds. We didn't sleep in a tent made of construction tarps, cooking whatever food we might have on smoky charcoal fires. We didn't speak Creole. How would they understand that God's love moved us to reach out to them. We hadn't become one of them, even though we are all in the human family.

    God did become one of us (Philippians 2:5-11). He left it all behind to become one of us. Not just being God, He was born of the line of an earthly king, but even that he left behind that too, born as a common man; "a slob like us." He worked daily, and went home sweaty at the end of each day. He got hungry, and felt heat exhaustion. The gospel of John 1:14 says, "And the Word [God] became flesh and dwelt among us, .." Before that, (1:6) "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." Yeah, I think there were (and are still) many who don't want to look him in the face. We tend not to want to be distracted from our pursuits, by his inconvenient presence.

    In one of the comments, someone said something about this as just a hypothetical thing, which IF you believed in God, it might have meaning. This too is one of the points of the song; "And without faith it is impossible to please him [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." (Hebrews 11:6)

    Is God still one of us?

    Jesus himself says he is. (Matthew 25:31-46) v.45 "Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one one the least of these, you did not do it to me.'" He identifies himself with the face of the poor. In Genesis 1:27, "So God [says he] created man in his own image [with his face], in the image of God [with his face] he created him, male and female he created them." Did you ever use the expression, "They all look alike." Well, if we were looking at frogs or hamsters it might be easier for us to understand. Nevertheless, with all the uniqueness and individuality that God has imparted to people, we all look alike. Your face is his face, the same as those that mother Theresa cared for, or the same as you might encounter today. Will you see the face of God in them, and be struck with AWE.


    I'm so glad the rest of the message isn't pessimistic, that God is only listening to the Pope, maybe. He hears me too, and all who will draw near to him by faith. Hebrews is a great book in the Bible, saying of Jesus, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need." (Hebrews 4:15,16) The stuff gets much better after that!!! Read on.

    I'm so glad to remember the song this morning.
    DokMarkyon January 24, 2012   Link
  • +4
    Song MeaningI believe that this song has nothing at all to do with god, instead it has everything to do with people - Christians in particular!

    It's "Just trying to make his way home, back up to heaven all alone. Nobody calling on the phone, 'cept for the Pope maybe in Rome." line in the song that does it for me. How do people see god, who is he, what is he? That is the question.

    During the times of the plague columns of people would walk through the streets whipping themselves, trying to atone for the sins of the masses with their own pain, as if that would give god some sick satisfaction and make him lift the curse. But what would god really have thought of this public spectacle? During the inquisition people were tortured and burned for not believing. Would god have enjoyed this?

    We humans are very good at justifying just about anything to ourselves. I can have that piece of cake if I go for a walk. I can lie on my tax return because the government isn't using the money properly anyway. I can kill these people because GOD told me to. But what would he really think?

    What if the guy on the bus was god? How would you treat him? Would you set up a fancy formal function with priests and choirs - removing yourself and hiding away because he is the BIG GUY? How about just talking to him? "What would you ask if you had just one question?", how about 'How are you'?

    Ultimately I think the point of the song is if god was just a guy on the bus, would you get to know him? Or just stick with what the church (whichever denomination you identify with) tells you? Maybe god is alone, nobody calling on the phone, because nobody can be bothered getting to know him anymore.

    Just my thoughts.
    arthurnon January 31, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think this song brings people face to face with the realization that GOD is real. This song asks questions of faith and asks the listener do they want to know GOD. I personally love this song it is beautiful and Joan has an awesome voice.
    Meth3552on May 07, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentbitter huh daf?

    god is great but are you willing to believe it ?
    lotsa ppl say no cos they've never see him
    and that he lets bad stuff happen
    what if one day he came up to you and said
    'hey im real and im not the baddie"
    You wouldnt be able to be an atheist or even a sinner, could you handle that ?
    God gave us free will to stuff up and do anything we like, thats why he's not one of us .
    it would be an invasion of the right he has given us.

    God is nothing like you or me
    God is great .
    dutch_angel_moion April 15, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentSomehow, I have trouble seeing this song as simple "yaaay everyone be Christian!", since the song does end with God going off to his heaven all alone, and nobody is calling him on the phone.

    It's a condemnation of Christians who say the words but don't actually believe. The ones who forget all about the whole "love your neighbour as yourself" parts of Christianity as they rush to point out how SAVED they are and how they've got a reserved ticket to heaven and you sinners are all going to burn, and we'll stnad up there in heaven and laugh at your misery 'cause that's what good Christians do, and that's what they would do to God if he was just a slob like one of us.
    Axiomatic Axiomaticon January 14, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOkay, I want to add my 2 cents. I'm a christain kid who believes in God, but I don't think this song is nesscessarily talking about whether you believe or not(which everyone is makingit out to be)I think it's about being scared to notice something amazing about someone just because of physical traits.
    Like, in the song, Joan sings aobut how God might be a lonely slob, and she then says "would you want to see if seeing meant that you would have to believe." Well, to me, that means that we as humans are quick to judge without going deeper into a situation or personality. It's saying, "Would you want to work hard to get past the appearance, or do you want to take the easy way out and just brush him/her/them off?"
    The whole thing about God might just be the writer's way of emphasizing the rediculousness of bigotry.
    SilentSong19on September 15, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis song has always amazed me from d 1st time I heard it. This song to me speaks to us human beings and us putting God as mystical, celestial being . It makes us think about how we threat our fellow men. The lines "What if god was one of us, just a slob like one of us, just a stranger on the bus trying to make his way home?" makes us wonder how would we feel if God was just like us? Walking the same streets as us and facing the same trials were facing... This song comforts me in a sense it makes remember that I am not alone in this world..:)
    darlene1624on February 23, 2012   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFor some reason felt in love with this song since i heard it back then which is quite amazing since i used to listen only hip hop music.

    As for the song's meaning, the intro sums it all up nicely:

    "One of these nights at about twelve o'clock
    this whole earth's gonna reel and rock...
    things thay'll tremble and cry for pain
    for the Lord's gonna come in his heavenly airplane"

    This being said, Joan Osbourne changes her mind wondering what if the "Lord" was already there and asks several questions related to that theory. Osbourne challenges us to grab a hold and ride with her throughout this utopia. Doing so she doesn't deny God 's "supreme being" status (she sings "yeah, God is great") but questions atheist (would they believe?)and believers (would they change their ways?)....

    Allow me to dwell on this God issue, the intro obviously refers to the "Second Coming" whereas the rest of the song deals about God becoming flesh and dwelling among us. For some reasons it reminds me of Ivan Karamazov's "Grand Inquisitor" so called "poem" told in Dostoievki's "The Brothers Karamazov" novel (1880).

    Ivan's tale deals about Jesus coming back to earth in spain during those inquisition days (16th century), performing a couple miracles and finally drawing local cardinal bishop's hate upon Him.....

    No matter what, this song is a christian song evn though it's quite multi-layered.

    Period.
    echo19on March 26, 2012   Link

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