Has a person ever seen God?
When people ask if anyone has ever seen God, they usually mean God the Father. The Bible is clear that no one has seen God: "No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known" (John 1:18). However, God has made Himself known in many ways throughout history, including through physical expressions. These expressions, however, should not be confused with seeing God Himself.
For example, God revealed Himself to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). His particular form is not made known, but His presence was evident and He spoke with them.
In Genesis 12, the Lord spoke to Abraham, one of many times the Lord interacted with Him. Genesis 18 reveals an account during which three angelic visitors came to Abraham, one of whom represented the Lord Himself.
Genesis 32 provides an account during which Jacob saw God appearing as an angel.
Judges 13:22 notes that Samson's parents feared death because they had seen an appearance of God.
God appeared to Moses and the nation of Israel on many occasions in the wilderness, primarily in the form of a cloud (Numbers 14:14). Joshua in particular experienced God's presence in a special way as God prepared him to serve as Israel's leader after Moses (Exodus 33:11).
In Exodus 33:18, Moses asked God, "Please show me your glory." Upon this request, God replied, "And he said, 'I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name "The LORD." And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.'" (Exodus 33:19-20).
In the New Testament, God made Himself known through Jesus Christ, God in human form (John 1:1). John 1:14 says, "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
After His departure, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would come to indwell and empower believers with God's presence. This work inaugurated on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). During this period of history, God primarily makes His presence known through His Spirit along with His inspired Word, the Bible.
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