On Seeing God.

No one has ever seen , not so much as a glimpse. – John 1:18

Here we have a statement, given as a rule, that no one has ever seen God, yet we have evidence in the Old Testament that not only did a few people glimpse God, some saw God face to face.

I guess the author of John forgot all about the alleged parents of mankind, and Eve. In the Garden of Eden, they walked and talked with God.

When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God. God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”
God said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?” –Genesis 3:8-11

oil on wood panel
oil on wood panel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no direct reference to God walking with the first couple, but we can see that it was a common enough thing that Adam and his wife thought it wise to to hide from God in their newly discovered nakedness.

God appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your children.” Abram built an altar at the place God had appeared to him. –Genesis 12:7

Abram, later known as #, had many visitations from God, this was but the first. The Bible says he lived to be the ripe old age of 175. And then there is Abram’s grandson, # who not only saw God, but wrestled all through the night with “Him”.

The man said, “But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it’s Israel (God-Wrestler); you’ve wrestled with God and you’ve come through.” –Genesis 32:28

Jacob named the place Peniel (God’s Face) because, he said, “I saw God face-to-face and lived to tell the story!” – Genesis 32:30

# was said to have spoken to God as one would a neighbor.

And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another. When he would return to the camp, his attendant, the young man Joshua, stayed—he didn’t leave the Tent. –Exodus 33:11

And, it would appear, Moses also got a unique glimpse of God later on.

God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.” –Genesis 33:21-23

There are others who saw God in the Old Testament: Isaac, Job, Isaiah, and Amos. So, what was John thinking when he said that no one had ever seen God?

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