Did he or did he not see God's face


#1

Deut 4:12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice.

Ex 33:11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

But then in verse 18 it says "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."

Do these portions of scripture contradict each other? Curious after a friend was wondering about this and had asked me about it. Tried doing a search on C.A. but could not find anything. I do know that it has to do with the literary style of the OT


#2

The theme of the “quest for God’s face”, the desire to know this face, the desire to see God as he is, is clearly present throughout the Old Testament, to the extent that the Hebrew term pānîm, which means “face”, recurs 400 times, and refers to God 100 times. One hundred times it refers to God: to the wish to see God’s face is expressed 100 times. Yet the Jewish religion absolutely forbids images, for God cannot be portrayed as, on the contrary, he was portrayed by the neighbouring peoples who worshipped idols; therefore with this prohibition of images the Old Testament seems totally to exclude any “seeing” from worship and from devotion. Yet what did seeking God’s face mean to the devout Israelite, who knew that there could be no depiction of it? The question is important: there was a wish on the one hand to say that God cannot be reduced to an object, like an image that can be held in the hand, nor can anything be put in God’s place; on the other, it was affirmed that God has a face — meaning he is a “you” who can enter into a relationship — and who has not withdrawn into his heavenly dwelling place, looking down at humanity from on high. God is certainly above all things, but he addresses us, he listens to us, he sees us, he speaks to us, he makes a covenant, he is capable of love. The history of salvation is the history of God with humanity, it is the history of this relationship of God who gradually reveals himself to man, who makes himself, his face, known.

..... In the Old Testament there is a figure with whom the theme of “the face of God” is connected in a special way: Moses. The man whom God chose to set his people free from slavery in Egypt, giving him the Law of the Covenant and leading him to the Promised Land. Well, in Chapter 33 of the Book of Exodus it says that Moses had a close and confidential relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (v. 11). By virtue of this trust, Moses was able to ask God: “show me your glory”, and God’s response was clear: “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name”…. But he said “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.… There is a place by me.... You shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen” (vv. 18-23). Thus on the one hand there was the face-to-face conversation as between friends, but on the other, the impossibility in this life of seeing the face of God which remained hidden; sight is restricted....

Something completely new happened, however, with the Incarnation. The search for God’s face was given an unimaginable turning-point, because this time this face could be seen: it is the face of Jesus, of the Son of God who became man.

Pope Benedict XVI

Read the whole thing....

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2013/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20130116_en.html

In Jesus of Nazareth God really visited his people, he visited humanity in a manner that surpassed every expectation: he sent his Only-Begotten Son: God himself became man. Jesus does not tell us something about God, he does not merely speak of the Father but is the Revelation of God, because he is God and thus reveals the face of God. In the Prologue to his Gospel St John wrote: “no one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (Jn 1:18).

Pope Benedict XVI


#3

St. Thomas Aquinas says this in his Summa

Hence he did not see the very Essence of God; and consequently he was not taught by Him immediately. Accordingly when Scripture states that “He spoke to him face to face,” this is to be understood as expressing the opinion of the people, who thought that Moses was speaking with God mouth to mouth, when God spoke and appeared to him, by means of a subordinate creature, i.e. an angel and a cloud. Again we may say that this vision “face to face” means some kind of sublime and familiar contemplation, inferior to the vision of the Divine Essence.


#4

Also St. Augustine says this

It was Himself under the aspect in which He willed to appear (but did not appear in His own very nature) which Moses longed to see, inasmuch as that is promised to the saints in another life. Hence the answer made to Moses is true that no one can see the face of God and live; that is, no one living in this life can see Him as fully as He is. Many have seen, but they saw what His will chose, not what His nature formed… when He willed…not in His nature under which He lies hidden within Himself even when He is seen.


#5

It is possible that Moses saw a Christophany, or Theophany of the Son of God who is the image of the invisible God the Father.

God’s peace

micah


#6

According to the commentary book of Fr. George Leo Haydock the expression in Exodus 33:11 in the context means speaking familiarly rather than the literal interpretation.

Face to face. That is, in a most familiar manner. Though, as we learn from this very chapter, Moses could not see the face of the Lord. Ch.

The Ecumenical Council of Vienne (1311-1312) convoked by Pope Clement V condemned the proposition that the soul does not need the light of glory (lumen gloriae) raising it to see God and enjoy Him beatifically. (D 475) The light of glory refers to the permanent supernatural power which allows souls to see God with their intellect. According to Ludvig Ott the term is found in St. Bonaventura, St. Thomas Aquinas and Psalm 35:10: "For with you is the fountain of life; and in your light we shall see light." The article on Heaven in the Catholic Encyclopedia also mentions it as quoted below.

This permanent invigoration is called the "light of glory", because it enables the souls in glory to see God with their intellect, just as material light enables our bodily eyes to see corporeal objects.


#7

[quote="Bookcat, post:2, topic:313371"]
The theme of the “quest for God’s face”, the desire to know this face, the desire to see God as he is, is clearly present throughout the Old Testament, to the extent that the Hebrew term pānîm, which means “face”, recurs 400 times, and refers to God 100 times. One hundred times it refers to God: to the wish to see God’s face is expressed 100 times. Yet the Jewish religion absolutely forbids images, for God cannot be portrayed as, on the contrary, he was portrayed by the neighbouring peoples who worshipped idols; therefore with this prohibition of images the Old Testament seems totally to exclude any “seeing” from worship and from devotion. Yet what did seeking God’s face mean to the devout Israelite, who knew that there could be no depiction of it? The question is important: there was a wish on the one hand to say that God cannot be reduced to an object, like an image that can be held in the hand, nor can anything be put in God’s place; on the other, it was affirmed that God has a face — meaning he is a “you” who can enter into a relationship — and who has not withdrawn into his heavenly dwelling place, looking down at humanity from on high. God is certainly above all things, but he addresses us, he listens to us, he sees us, he speaks to us, he makes a covenant, he is capable of love. The history of salvation is the history of God with humanity, it is the history of this relationship of God who gradually reveals himself to man, who makes himself, his face, known.

..... In the Old Testament there is a figure with whom the theme of “the face of God” is connected in a special way: Moses. The man whom God chose to set his people free from slavery in Egypt, giving him the Law of the Covenant and leading him to the Promised Land. Well, in Chapter 33 of the Book of Exodus it says that Moses had a close and confidential relationship with God: “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (v. 11). By virtue of this trust, Moses was able to ask God: “show me your glory”, and God’s response was clear: “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name”…. But he said “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.… There is a place by me.... You shall see my back; but my face shall not be seen” (vv. 18-23). Thus on the one hand there was the face-to-face conversation as between friends, but on the other, the impossibility in this life of seeing the face of God which remained hidden; sight is restricted....

Something completely new happened, however, with the Incarnation. The search for God’s face was given an unimaginable turning-point, because this time this face could be seen: it is the face of Jesus, of the Son of God who became man.

Pope Benedict XVI

Read the whole thing....

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2013/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20130116_en.html

In Jesus of Nazareth God really visited his people, he visited humanity in a manner that surpassed every expectation: he sent his Only-Begotten Son: God himself became man. Jesus does not tell us something about God, he does not merely speak of the Father but is the Revelation of God, because he is God and thus reveals the face of God. In the Prologue to his Gospel St John wrote: “no one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known” (Jn 1:18).

Pope Benedict XVI

[/quote]


#8

=TheHem;10307260]Deut 4:12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice.

Ex 33:11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

But then in verse 18 it says “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.”

Do these portions of scripture contradict each other? Curious after a friend was wondering about this and had asked me about it. Tried doing a search on C.A. but could not find anything. I do know that it has to do with the literary style of the OT

***I’ve pondered the same thing.

I suspect the answer can found in a few additional questions***.:slight_smile:

1 Corinthians 13:12 “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known.”

**Gen.3: 19 **“In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

So here is the question:

Q #1. If when man dies his body re-turns to “dust”; how than are we to meet our God '“ace to face?”

“face to face” here means in the same “of like-substance”

John.4: 23-24 "But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

Q #2. So God “is Spirit.” … How does this relate to man?

Man alone of the BILLIONS of Created Things can rationalze; make complex new things out of existing things [A rocket to the moon and back 4 example]; and can choose to love or to hate.

In order to do these things requires that we have:
a mind

An Intellect

& a freewill

Which are all attached to mans Souls.

LIKE OUR GOD; these are Spiritual realities and Eternal things. Thus **Gen .1;26-27 **is both fulfilled and explained. “Created in the image of God”]

So when mans dies and “meets God” for the First Judgment; we meet “Intuitatively”:slight_smile:
There after as “beings” of the same subsannce [SPIRIT] we will know and be able to communicate with each other. AMEN:thumbsup:


#9

[quote="TheHem, post:1, topic:313371"]
Deut 4:12 And the Lord spoke to you from the heart of the fire. You heard the sound of his words but didn’t see his form; there was only a voice.

Ex 33:11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.

But then in verse 18 it says "And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live."

Do these portions of scripture contradict each other? Curious after a friend was wondering about this and had asked me about it. Tried doing a search on C.A. but could not find anything. I do know that it has to do with the literary style of the OT

[/quote]

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 11. Face to face. That is, in a most familiar manner. Though, as we learn from this very chapter, Moses could not see the face of the Lord. (Challoner) --- The angel assumed a human form, (Menochius) which Moses knew could not fully display the majesty of God; and hence he begs to see his face, or his glory, (ver. 13, 18,) which God declares is impossible for any mortal to do, ver. 20. (Haydock) --- He addresses him, however, with unusual condescension, and speaks to him without any ambiguity, "without any medium," as the Arabic expresses it. Other prophets were instructed by visions, and were filled with terror, Daniel x. 8. --- Young man, though 50 years old, and the general who defeated the Amalecites, chap. xvii. 13. Puer means a servant also, in which capacity Josue waited on Moses, and was alone allowed to be present with him in the tabernacle. He did not sleep there, (Calmet) but guarded it from all profanation. Some say he was still called young, because he was unmarried; in which sense the Chaldean styles him hullema, which corresponds with the Hebrew halma, a virgin. (Serarius) (Tirinus)


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.