John 1:18—Why does John say no one has seen God when other verses declare we will see God?
Problem: On the one hand the Bible claims no one can see God, but on the other hand it says “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8) and His servants “shall see His face” (Rev. 22:4) and “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Solution: The verses which teach that no man can see God are referring to no mortal man in this life. Even Moses was refused this honor (Ex. 33:23). Mortal man is not suited for that exposure. However, what mortal man cannot see in this life, immortal man will see in the next life (1 Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4). This is known as the beatific (blessed) vision and will be the spiritual climax of the believer to see God face-to-face, to know Him directly in His essence and not merely indirectly as reflected through created things (Rom. 1:18–20).
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.