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Can God's face be seen (Genesis 32:30)?

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So Jacob named the place Peniel,  explaining, “Certainly I have seen God face to face and have survived.” (Genesis 32:30)

God said to Moses, “No man shall see Me, and live” (Ex. 33:20, John 1:18). Moses was allowed only to see God’s “back” (Ex. 33:23). Yet the Bible informs us that Moses spoke with God “face to face” (Deut. 5:4). How could he speak to God face to face without seeing His face?

Genesis 32:22 - 32

ESV - 22 The same night he arose and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, and everything else that he had.

Clarify Share Report Asked November 02 2021 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
As God said in the verses cited in the question, man cannot see (and has not seen, at any time) His face in its full glory and live. References to God speaking with a human face-to-face (such as with Jacob and Moses) involve (in my opinion) God veiling enough of His full nature to make it possible for a human to be truly said to be in His presence, or speaking with Him "face-to-face", and yet live. (And, of course, His most complete visible revelation to humans was in Christ, who (even so) provided His closest apostles (Peter, James, and John) with a tolerable glimpse of that same full nature that He shared as part of the Godhead.

November 02 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
Only God’s “back” (Ex. 33:23) or “feet” (Ex. 24:10) or “form” (Nu 12:8), in a symbolic sense, can be seen with impunity. –NIVSB

Our Lord’s face shone on the Mount of Transfiguration, and Moses’ face shone when he came down from meeting God on the mount (Matt. 17:2; Ex. 34:29–30) --WW

It is possible for a blind person to speak face to face with someone without seeing their face. The phrase “face to face” means personally, directly, or intimately. Moses had this kind of relationship with God. But he, like all other mortals, never saw the “face” (essence) of God directly. NG & TH

November 07 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report


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