Has Anyone Seen God?

Latter-day Saints believe the answer is yes!

Is it true that no man has seen God?

John 1:18 “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

JST: John 1:19 “And no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son; for except it is through him no man can be saved.

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The video above shares several biblical passages in which God is referenced.

Isaiah 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

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Acts 7:55-565But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”

Lehi’s Vision, 1 Nephi 1:8: “And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God. “

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Several accounts from the Old Testament:

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This suggests bodily features of God and an ability to see Him. The Children of Israel are still at the foot of Mt. Sinai at the time of this writing. 2

This type of opportunity to see the face of God or his entire body (Stephen’s stoning context) isn’t a casual or common experience. See the verse below in John 6.

John 6:46: “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father. “

This verse in Hebrews stresses the same point:

Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord”

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Jesus himself said the following:

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” 

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Moses was initially fearful to see the Lord, Exodus 3:6:

“Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. “

But later in his ministry Moses was permitted to look at the Lord’s back, Exodus 33:23

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Moses’ encounter with God couldn’t be much plainer than read below. Many saw God and survived to tell about it.

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After Jacob’s wrestle with the angel, Jacob shares this account:

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Additional examples:

Numbers 12:8 “With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”

Deuteronomy 34:10 “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face

1 Kings 11:9 “And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice

Summary: The Old and New Testament attest that people do see the Lord under the proper circumstances and when they’re prepared.

Gods and Councils: El (the Father), Jehovah or Yahweh or YHWH (Son), & additional deities

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Brant Gardner discusses the Father God, El; the mother God or spouse of El, Asherah; Jehovah, the preeminent among the Sons of El; and other topics in the development of gods in Judaism.
 
The Sons of God were assigned to different nations.  Jehovah was assigned to Israel.  By the 8th and 7th centuries BC Jehovah grew in stature, supplanting El in certain respects, as the Jews developed a proto-monotheism.

 

A FARMS review from 2004:   The Deuteronomist De-Christianizing of the Old
Testament.

From a FARM’s review:  Of Simplicity, Oversimplification, and Monotheism.  Barry Brickmore explains LDS concepts about the Godhead that are misrepresented by evangelical author Owens in his book, “New Mormon Challenge.”

Please read or listen to Stephen Smooth on this topic:  The Divine Council in the Hebrew Bible and the Book of Mormon.

Joseph Smith revealed the Divine Council when he translated the Book of Abraham.  Scholars also now understand the Old Testament to teach about the Divine Council.

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Great interview by Laura Hales from LDS Perspectives Podcasts:

Episode 42: The Divine Council with Stephen Smoot

Non-Mormon,  Dr.  Mattei writes about El (Father) being worshipped before Yahweh in this post #27:   Are Yahweh and El the same god OR different gods?

Summary: Mattei argues that El (Almighty God) and Yahweh (Son) are distinct.

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Dr. Michael Heiser, a prominent traditional (and Trinitarian) Christian , shares many insights LDS folks agree with.

“The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos. All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council. The divine council of Israelite religion, known primarily through the psalms, was distinct in important ways.”

 

David Bokovoy, an LDS expert on divine councils, engaged with Michael Heiser on this topic.  Heiser wrote a critique of Mormonism’s use of Psalm 82.  Then David explained our position.  Heiser finished the dialogue.  Very awesome to have this type of dialogue.

David Bokovoy’s view on divine councils, El, and Yahweh:

 

Prof. William G. Dever is a world-renowned archaeologist on ancient Israel:

 

These 3 Mormon guys are fun,  and also bring solid content.

Mark Smith is a foremost scholar in this area of Judaism’s early polytheism and eventual monotheism.  Concepts of multiplicity of Gods in a council structure is recognized by all Biblical scholars today.

El was present in the early tradition and texts as a separate most-high God.    Later,  however, as the Jews returned from the exile and the OT was canonized, Jehovah appears to assume the characteristics of El.  That is, Judaism thus became monotheistic.

Smith explains — in his book “Jehovah and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel” — that in early Jewish history, Jehovah was Israel’s God fully distinct from El (the Father).  In Deuteronomy 32 : 8-9 Jehovah was cast as one of the sons of El.  Each diety received its own nation in Deuteronomy 32.  Yahweh was given Israel.

 

 

Michael Ash explains the role the Deutoronomists played in reforming Judaism into something more monotheistic.  Additionally, prior to the Babylonian Captivity, Asherah (a Heavenly Mother figure) had been worshipped in the Temple for centuries.

Nephi’s vision of the Tree of Life includes a reference to the virgin Mary, the mother of the Son of God.  The Tree of Life in 1 Nephi dovetails with Mark E. Smith’s teachings about Asherah.

You may also want to review the slides (and watch below video) used by Robert Vukich in his debate:  Rejecting the False Doctrine of the Trinity.

Robert discusses the scriptural basis for more gods than Jehovah.  He also shows that God the Father (El) is completely separate from the Son, Jehovah.