Genesis 32:30 VS 1 John 4:12

Genesis 32:30 – “… For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered …”
1 John 4:12 – “… No one has ever seen God …”

The man in Genesis is an angel of God. God didn’t have a body until the Incarnation.


That’s not what the passage says. It says that Jacob saw the face of GOD – nothing about an angel.

Additionally, how can John say that no one has ever seen God when he, himself, saw Jesus and Jesus is God.

These two passages have me confused.

Jacob thought he saw God, but it was actually an angel.

Jesus didn’t exist until the Incarnation, since He is the Son Incarnate.

Where does it sat that? Why didn’t the scripture writers correct that statement say that Jacob mistakenly thought that he saw the face of God?

Then why did John, who saw Jesus, say that nobody have ever seen God?

All very confusing.

It may have something to do with the resurrection. That passage was before Jesus was resurrected and the Apostles blessed with the Holy Spirit. Jesus himself said that the holy spirit would reveal knowledge to them. Many times the gospels say about the Apostles not having certain knowledge because they were not blessed by the Holy Spirit until after the Resurrection. The tongues of fire came down upon them after Jesus was Glorified. Even Jesus, as God in the form of man, did not have certain knowledge either until after he resurected and was glorified.

I could be wrong, but that’s the way I understand it.:slight_smile:

Two points:

*] While the gospel accounts recount the time BEFORE their minds were opened to the truth by the Holy Spirit, it was written MANY years AFTER their minds were opened to the truth. Which is why we often see comments such as …

John 20:9 - *For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

*]Independent of that, this is taken NOT from the Gospel of John but from John’s first letter to the Churches … written MANY years after Jesus rose from the dead, ascended into heaven and the knowledge of the truth was revealed to the apostles.

There are numerous places in the OT where people speak of having seen God - Isa 6.5 is another, but it seems highly doubtful that they are meant to be read literalistically. They are more an expression of sheer awe following an experience they have just had. Very few of us have such experiences so it cannot be said with any precision, what it is the figurative language corresponds to, but the general message comes across clearly enough.

Again, I would have to say, context, context, context.

In Genesis 32:30, I see Jacob wrestling with “some man” or a messenger from God. This could have been a human man sent by God, or even an angel. I think it also could have been Jacob, wrestling with his own conscience, trying to decide what to do next. Once he made the correct decision, God then said to him “You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.” After that, the covenant God made with Jacob (Israel) was kept. One must read what comes before and then what comes after to see how Jacob proceeded in love for his brother. I think Jacob saw the face of God in the love he felt for his family and others.

In 1 John 4:12, you also have to read what comes before and what comes after the verse. This verse is speaking of God’s love being manifested through us as we show love for one another. If others do not see love, they do not see the face of God. It is only in love for one another a person can glimps the manifestation of God. Look at the entire verse

12 No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

Then look at verse 20

If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Another thing to remember here is the author always refers to God the Father as “God” while referring to Jesus as “God the Son” – remember, 2 persons.

=Sir Knight;5722063]Genesis 32:30 – “… For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered …”
1 John 4:12 – “… No one has ever seen God …”

“Ver. 30. Phanuel. This word signifies the face of God, or the sight, or seeing of God. (Challoner) — Hebrew reads here Peni-el, though it has Phanuel in the next verse. Jacob thus returns thanks to God for the preservation of his life, after having seen God or his angel in a corporeal form, and not in a dream only.”

Matthew Henry also defines the word “Peniel” as not “as God”; but “the face of God.”

What is being said here is that Jacob encountered an angel of God, from God and behalf of God. NOT God Himself, but his messager, as is oft the case in the bible. Of this we can be assured because verses cannot contradict each other.

Love and prayers,

It means Jacob experienced God in a very unique and mystical way, it doesn’t mean God had a (human) face or that Jacob literally saw Him.
Exodus 33: 19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” 21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”
Clearly, Moses didn’t get to see God in “all His Glory” so poetically Moses is said to have seen the “backside” of God (even though God doesn’t really have a back).

Plus, in this specific case of Jacob, it was an angel that Jacob wrestled with:
Hosea 12: 4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel
and talked with him there-

Moses did not see God’s face but according to scripture, it appears that Jacob did.

But not as we would define,“seeing God face to face”

According to what?

Why would the Scripture writers forge something?

And John said no one has seen God’s face because no one had seen God’s face.

You’re going around in circles, SK.

According to Scripture and in context.

According to Scripture and in context, Jacob saw the face of God.

I’m not the one going in circles. On the one hand you are saying that Jacob did not see God but when asked why the writers don’t point out that Jacob was mistaken, you ask why they should “forge” something – indicating that Jacob DID see God. Which is it?

Did he see God or was he mistaken and not actually see God? In which case, why did the writers point out that he was mistaken?

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