I know God is a Spirit, but there are things written in Scripture that suggest He actually does look like something. When Moses saw Him, he only saw Him from the back. God Himself says: “No one can see My face and live.” There are references to the “Beatific Vision,” which I’ve always taken to mean His actual face. Is there any truth to this, that He does have physical looks? Whether or not He looks like a person? I may be asking a question, however, that no one knows the answer to, but I just didn’t know if anyone had read anything I might not have that would have more on this.
Seeing God’s “face”, so-to-say, is to see God as He is Himself. Only one who has entered the Beatific Vision can see God as He is. It’s because of our sinfulness. I believe that Adam and Eve were able to see God before the fall, but impurity cannot come into God’s presence. We’re allowed to see God’s “back” or “shadow” - that is, the reflection of God seen in creation. When God is fully present on Earth (primarily as God the Son), He veils Himself - in the full humanity of Jesus, in the Eucharist, and in other people. Jesus WAS God the Son, of course, but no one - NO ONE who has not entered into the beatific vision has seen God in His full glory. Even Jesus during the Transfiguration only showed part of His glory.
I would answer this thread more along the lines of Jesus Christ, Son of Man on earth. During the Carrying of the Cross, Saint Veronica wipes Jesus’ face and it leaves the image of His face on her veil. This is The Holy Face so remarkable by the pain of suffering and glory of redemption. Saint Therese of Lisieux is more properly known as, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face. Perhaps, google.com search, The Holy Face of Christ medal. I had a medal of The Holy Face of Jesus - i gave it as a Christmas gift to my local parish priest!
The Holy Face as well as The Shroud of Turin may give more insight to the glory of God the Son. He is perfect in all respects and still bears the marks of His Crucifixion before His glorious Resurrection. Jesus is Lord.
I think this video of Fr Barron in his Catholicism series will help you.
“What Christians mean by God” - youtu.be/W_Yjue8MXAI
To see God’s face means, simply, to know God, directly, intuitively. This is essentially an “intellectual vision”, an ineffable experience because we have nothing to relate it to in ordinary life; we’re not capable of this on our own. Its a supernatural gift, IOW, whereby the complete knowledge is given, without the benefit of the senses, without knowing or needing to know how it is received. I know, clear as mud.
All Israel throughout its history longed to see the face of God.
Moses said, "I pray thee, show me thy glory." And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name `The LORD’; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live.” (Exodus 30:18-20)
Humanity was finally able to see the face of God when Jesus was born.
*And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John 1:14)
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life – (1 John 1:1)*
The “Bread of the Presence” in the Old Testament is literally translated from Hebrew as “Bread of the face.” lchm phnim = bread-of faces. The Bread of the Presence forshadows God who became a person with the advent of Christ.
God is a person - Jesus. We behold the face of God whenever we look at the Eucharist. We get to see the face of God at every Mass. Peter refers to the Eucharist as, “things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:12). Even Moses did not get to see what we see at every Mass - the face of God.
If seeing God’s face is a metaphor for knowing, what does it mean to see God’s “back parts”?
Exodus 33:23 And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
Nothing exists except God. So, in seeing God’s face, one simply would not exist.
So when the second coming happens, will people living at the time, actually see something that looks like a person touching down on the mountain, or some other form, like a super bright light, etc?
Honestly, we don’t know. All I know is that, though the second coming will come as a surprise (whenever it comes), there won’t be any mistaking it.
I often feel that the second-coming will be accompanied with an inner experience which is unmistakable.
If man was created in the image of God, then look into the crowd, God is there.
At the Second Coming, everyone will see and know Jesus. And since He is in His Body, we will see His human Face.
Moving along, though, the Beatific Vision isn’t the same thing as God’s Face. Close, though.
Here’s the definition from Father Hardon’s dictionary:
"The intuitive knowledge of God which produces heavenly beatitude. As defined by the Church, the souls of the just “see the divine essence by an intuitive vision and face to face, so that the divine essence is known immediately, showing itself plainly, clearly and openly, and not mediately through any creature” (Denzinger 1000-2). Moreover, the souls of the saints “clearly behold God, one and triune, as He is” (Denzinger 1304-6).
“It is called vision in the mind by analogy with bodily sight, which is the most comprehensive of human sense faculties; it is called beatific because it produces happiness in the will and the whole being. As a result of this immediate vision of God, the blessed share in the divine happiness, where the beatitude of the Trinity is (humanly speaking) the consequence of God’s perfect knowledge of his infinite goodness. The beatific vision is also enjoyed by the angels, and was possessed by Christ in his human nature even while he was in his mortal life on earth. (Etym. Latin beatificus, beatific, blissful, imparting great happiness or blessedness; from beatus, happy.)”