SEEING GOD

 

 

Has anyone ever seen God? Some passages seem to indicate "yes" but others "no."

 

The apostle John wrote "No man hath beheld God at any time, if we love one another, God abideth in us, and His love is perfected in us" (l John 4:12). Other passages indicate that some mortals have indeed seen God. Consider the following examples from Scripture: Although Abraham may not have realized at first, he was visited by God and two angels in human form (Genesis 18). After that, Moses and seventy-three others saw God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 24) and later Moses saw the glory of God in part (Exodus 33). Isaiah saw the Lord (most likely in a vision (Isaiah 6).

 

In the New Testament, as Stephen was dying from being stoned, he saw God's glory and Jesus standing at His right hand (Acts 7:56). These passages indicate that in the past, some humans have indeed seen God in some way, shape or form! Was the apostle John wrong? Does the Bible contradict itself? Or is there a reasonable explanation to what seems to be a problem? Perhaps this will help: God is by nature a spirit (John 4:24) and spirits are invisible to human eyes. But God has at times revealed Himself in the presence of humans in ways that humans can comprehend. Certain apostles and prophets saw Him in visions.

 

But no mortal man has ever actually entered the Heavenly realms to behold God as He really is. That's because flesh and blood cannot enter there. Humans like us must undergo a change first that will happen when the Lord returns: first the dead in Christ shall rise, then living saints will be changed (1 Corinthians 15:50-52). Then these will behold God as He really is. Meanwhile (are you ready, here comes-the main point), if you want to see God, take a close look at His Son. Jesus made Him known: "No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him" (John 1:18).

 

When Phillip asked to see the Father, Jesus replied that to know the Son would be to know the Father, and he who had seen the Son had seen the Father also (John 14:7-9). Thomas (the one we call "doubting") wouldn't believe that Jesus had been resurrected until he saw for himself (John 20:20-28). But Jesus called "blessed" those who would believe without seeing (John 20:29). In other words, we shouldn't have to see Him  personally to believe in Him. In the first passage we mentioned, John's point was that if we love one another, we don't need to see Him because He abides in us!

 

Faith is believing in what we have not seen (Hebrews 11: 1). We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Someday all will behold Him in a meeting that will be one on one face to face! The question is, Are you ready for that?