Seeing The Son/Father and Seeing God


Peace (to those of good will)

  1. If the Father is God, as per John 20.17: “Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God.”

  2. And if he who sees the Son sees the Father, i.e. John 14.8-9: “Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, Shew us the Father?”

  3. How can it be said as with 1 John 4.12: "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us. "

These are from the Douay-Rheims translation of The Bible. The first logical position that comes to mind is that no one ever saw the Son, but this is in direction contradiction to 1 John 1.1: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life:”

To whom be qualified to do so, please concisely clarify the reconciliation of these statements, and I thank you for your participation.

Merry Eastertide :wink:


I may not be qualified but here I see the beauty of John. God is not linear, does not fit in a syllogism. One has to stretch the understanding of each word in all ways possible to come closer to understanding. God is Spirit, Jesus is Spirit in the flesh. God is all we see in Jesus yet also more than we can ever see.


May I answer with a question? (Or three?)

In what way can it be said that he who has seen Jesus has seen the Father? In what way can it be said that seeing Jesus is not seeing God? Are these really contradictory?


Instead of containing a simple answer, the thread is at risk, if you will, as being of another topic – a horse of a different color – as “prophetically anticipated” by conscience.

Michael Mayo: With your expression of non-linearity as applied to God, how do you view what seems to be a form of linearity regarding the dogma (the theological formula) known as the Filioque (of historical importance): The Procession of the Holy Ghost from both Father and Son as one Principle, or as the Fourth Lateran Council declared, it is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds? I suppose you could say that this is a form of non-linearity, which is in line :wink: with the definition of περιχώρησις as rotation. A line is defined by beginning and end points. Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Ἄλφα τὸ Ὦ {ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος} I am the beginning and the end seems similar to such a description! Forbid the perception that I am attempting to box my God in with words, let alone a schema.

Wesrock: At first one may simply refer again to the passage and say that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father because Jesus said so as expressed by the author of John’s Gospel, but the equation of Father with God and The God never having been seen seems to negate this. Again, the familiar phrase John 10.30: I and the Father are one will come to mind. On the other hand, it is said 1 John 1.5: This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light. How literal may one be without deviating into error? Is not all that we see light (Ah, but through a glass in obscurity)? Is this to say that one is seeing God by the mere function of eyesight? As an educated guess, most would say this is not the case, so it seems it is to be interpreted (properly, of course). The question remains whether they really, really saw The Son. For him to be appearing in different forms post-resurrection is a sort of pseudo-proof that maybe, maybe they never really saw him as he truly was, but this is mere conjecture.

John 1.4:* In him life was and the life was the light of men.* As with 1 John 1.5: God light is, both passages utilize the Greek φῶς. The point seems to be that life is in him, and yet it is written John 14.6: I am the way the truth and the life. So we have * is in * and * am * simultaneously. It seems the original question has yet to be given a satiable answer. Or maybe I’m insatiable. :cool:


And you have joined us…why? It seems you have your own answers.

I refer you to Mark Shea’s excellent book, “Making Senses Out Of Scripture”, in which the full measure of multiple meanings to troublesome verses is addressed. Peace.


To whom is included with your us? I was hoping one who was a learned apologist or one filled with the Holy Spirit would point to a scriptural reference here regarding a clarification or an inspired traditional statement from those of apostolic succession regarding this seeming paradox of words, as was stated with the original question. I joined the forums because there are many inquisitions such as this one to be posited, but if this is the way most of them will be answered, I may take the hint and look elsewhere such as with your suggestion of books that cost money, but even this requires referencing from others. If you have any other books to which you could refer, I’d be happy for your time. Do you know if that particular book deals with this particular question? If so, please summarize it here. If I also find anything of interest I too may post some references for others’ benefit. Thanks for your input.


(1) Jesus is God the Son in hypostatic union with the nature of man, the image of the Father, God moving amongst his people. In Jesus, some saw God through the hypostatic union of the flesh, we see God’s will and we see God’s love. We need only read the verses that follow the statement you question to get a better sense of how Jesus means it:

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.

(2) However, we must admit that our perceptions are limited. While some saw Jesus, who is truly God, they did not see the divine essence in itself. They did not grasp or comprehend the invisible, incomprehensible God in Himself. In that way, God remains veiled or hidden.

(3) In such a way it can be said in one sense that those who have seen Jesus have seen God, but in another sense it can be said they haven’t, and it’s not necessary to pull two quotes out of context and force them into being read in the same sense.


They really saw the Son, as the Son had assumed hypostatic union with the flesh, but as described in my last post, people didn’t see the invisible, incomprehensible divine nature. In Jesus we find the will and love of God, and a physical person who is God (by virtue of the hypostatic union), but we don’t fully perceive or comprehend the divine essence.

I should be clear, that, that Jesus’ flesh was not an illusion. It was true flesh, born not just through woman but developed from her flesh. What people saw after the resurrection was also true flesh, though we call it glorified. Church teaching is that all of the saved will possess a glorified body after the resurrection.


Jesus Christ speaks consistently with the fact that the Son has two natures in one person, as defined at the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.). Also, Council of Florence (1441)

Denzinger 704
"Because of this unity the Father is entire in the Son, entire in the Holy Spirit; the Son is entire in the Father, entire in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is entire in the Father, entire in the Son. No one either excels another in eternity, or exceeds in magnitude, or is superior in power. For the fact that the Son is of the Father is eternal and without beginning. and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son is eternal and without beginning.’’*Whatever the Father is or has, He does not have from another, but from Himself; and He is the principle without principle. Whatever the Son is or has, He has from the Father, and is the principle from a principle. Whatever the Holy Spirit is or has, He has simultaneously from the Father and the Son. But the Father and the Son are not two principles of the Holy Spirit, but one principle, just as the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of the creature, but one principle.

Haydock Commentary on 1 John 4:12

Ver. 12. No man hath seen God at any time. No mortal man hath seen God and the perfections of his divine Majesty in such a manner as the blessed in heaven, but we have powerful motives to love and serve him, and to love our neighbour for his sake. (Witham)

Modern Catholic Dictionary, Circuminsession

The mutual immanence of the three distinct persons of the Holy Trinity. The Father is entirely in the Son, likewise in the Holy Spirit; and so is the Son in the Father and the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit in the Father and the Son. Circuminsession also identifies the mutual immanence of the two distinct natures in the one Person of Jesus Christ.

Modern Catholic Dictionary, Perichoresis

The penetration and indwelling of the three divine persons reciprocally in one another. In the Greek conception of the Trinity there is an emphasis on the mutual penetration of the three persons, thus bringing out the unity of the divine essence. In the Latin idea called circumincession the stress is more on the internal processions of the three divine persons. In both traditions, however, the fundamental basis of the Trinitarian perichoresis is the one essence of the three persons in God. The term is also applied to the close union of the two natures in Christ. Although the power that unites the two natures proceeds exclusively from Christ’s divinity, the result is a most intimate coalescence. The Godhead, which itself is impenetrable, penetrates the humanity, which is thereby deified without ceasing to be perfectly human.

Also John 10, 30: "I and the Father are one:’ 10, 38: “Believe the works that you may know and believe that the Father is in me and I in the Father:”


Thanks for all of these postings, and hopefully others find it helpful if only at the least bit. It sounds as if the topic, especially in relation to Wesrock’s posts, is beginning to touch on the similar phrase from John that the antichrist is one who does not profess Christ come, with a seeming emphasis on in the flesh, which may interest some regarding the topic. Although our references here may help grasp some definitions, it still seems to be up in the air. I don’t mean to be argumentative, but if one who sees Jesus, He who sees me sees the Father sees the Father, and Jesus is only seen as through the veil of the flesh, and the Father is pure spirit without bodily relations, then it seems there is a link here between seeing the flesh of Jesus to seeing the spirit of the Father, but it seems if one is to see the spirit of the Father, one is seeing God which is expressed explicitly as not having been perceived by any one. The topic feels as though it is inexhaustible in one’s seeking :wink: Another thing to dwell upon is that there doesn’t seem to be any mention of Jesus’ speaking of being within or having the Holy Spirit be within him as he does when speaking of his filial relation to the Father, but it is a task for which he has to ask the Father to send, as it is expressed within John 14.16-17: * And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever. The spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, nor knoweth him: but you shall know him; because he shall abide with you, and shall be in you. *

The above passage is a link in unison to what has be said regarding the relation of the Father with the Son, but here also as related to creatures. The world doesn’t see the Spirit of truth, yet you will know him because of the indwelling. May this perhaps raise the question of what is required to see the Father through the Son? and yet by the time the indwelling occurs, the Son is already glorified. A little more in and we find that the world won’t see Jesus, but you will see me. Seeing the one who sent me appears not to be contingent upon Jesus’ glorification, because it is said earlier in John 12 prior to his speaking to Philip as he addresses the crowd with our author referring to the Lord’s blinding their eyes as written in Isaiah’s scroll.

Ciao for now.


Yes, I do not see it as linear at all. Can anything eternal be linear but a line with no end points. As you have pointed out, The Beginning (Alpha) is also the end (Omega), Christ. Let’s let God be God and language be language. One only a shadow, a weak analogy of the other always subject to amendment.


Agreed, indeed.
It may even be folly to apply the word linearity to what we call time, let alone pure Actuality! Yet, it helps for reference’s sake.


No worries!

…but if one who sees Jesus, He who sees me sees the Father sees the Father, and Jesus is only seen as through the veil of the flesh, and the Father is pure spirit without bodily relations, then it seems there is a link here between seeing the flesh of Jesus to seeing the spirit of the Father, but it seems if one is to see the spirit of the Father, one is seeing God which is expressed explicitly as not having been perceived by any one. The topic feels as though it is inexhaustible in one’s seeking :wink:

To try to reframe my impression of the scene, Jesus was stating that Philip did not need to seek elsewhere for some other authority. They need only look to Jesus to see and know the Father’s will, to know the Father’s love. You need only to look to Jesus to see who the Father is in a personal sense.

By way of a poor analogy, it’s like me finding a memoir written by John Doe. I might never actually see John Doe in the flesh, but I only need to see his memoir to understand what kind of man John Doe is. What he loved, what he did, the type of character he is. It’s a type of wholly personal revelation of self. In that way, Jesus was this type of personal revelation of the Father.

We may even be able to delve into it in an even more literal sense, though. If Jesus is God, and the Father is in Him, then in a way we really have seen Him in his Image. You’re right, it’s a complex issue, but I still hold that this type of seeing is still not the same as comprehending God in His entirety of self, or what theologians and philosopher call his “essence”. And also, I don’t believe there’s any reason that we *need *to read John 14:8-9 and 1 John 4:12 in the same sense, if that’s the concern.


Your rephrasing and analogy bring to mind Colossians 2.9: For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally;

Maybe the phrase of John’s (1 John 3:2) is applicable to the situation: We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. One claiming to see Jesus in any way, yet not being as He is then raises a serious issue…:hmmm: (these forum’s emoticons… ha)

Interesting that we will be like him because of the way we will see him, as this is coming from someone who is claiming to be an eye-witness.



…consider this passage:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]11 Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before Yahweh’. Then Yahweh himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before Yahweh. But Yahweh was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But Yahweh was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire. But Yahweh was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. 13 And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’

(1 Kings 19:11-13)
…though the Son and the Father are One and he who has seen the Son has seen the Father, no man has ever seen God–there could be a simple exegesis: No man has seen the Full Revelation of God.

…but what is truly amazing is the Revelation that God chooses to Abide (Live) in man!

Maran atha!




As you express these words, the parallel of matter and spirit in union, or the descriptive terminology of immanence and exigence of God as being part of the psychosomatic experience of a human being comes to mind, even as it applies to human terms as in full intention of the will or only partial and full knowledge of the intellect. One can potentially imagine a different way of being; yet this way of potential filling and allowing a partially filled or inspired or even void state of YHWH is what seems to be the case. The musing here is that this is some how presented in relation to the way revelation is related, as if the medium is more than a means but is partly the message itself!

And, most definitely, maranatha.



…consider the human experience through several encounters with Jesus (the Word, God):

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]10 He was in the world that had its being through him, and the world did not know him.

11 He came to his own domain and his own people did not accept him.

15 Now as they talked this over, Jesus himself came up and walked by their side; 16 but something prevented them from recognising him.

(St. John 1:10, 11; 24:15-16)
In St. John 1:10 the world did not recognized (Know) its Creator; in verse 11, the God-with-them, the Immanuel, was rejected when He Came to His own (chosen) people–Israel, God’s firstborn, did not accept God’s relationship; in the final example, St. John 24:15-16, Jesus’ own did not recognize Him–they actually thought of Him as a stranger who was completely oblivious to the Event!

…in each example Scriptures speak on man’s lack of Knowledge of God. This is how the passage can be understood… it is not that One Person of God exists outside of the other Two Persons but that man cannot recognize (Know) the fullness of God:

12 Now we are seeing a dim reflection in a mirror; but then we shall be seeing face to face. The knowledge that I have now is imperfect; but then I shall know as fully as I am known.

(1 Corinthians 13:12)

2 My dear people, we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is. (1 St. John 3:2)
Maran atha!




I’m not a scholar, nor am I a well read student. But I thought that I would give a stab at this one anyways. The Holy Trinity is three separate and distinct individuals in one Godhead. The three are all God. So as it stands, if you have seen Jesus, you have seen God. Just as if you have seen the Holy Spirit, you have seen God.

No man has ever seen God the Father. To me, this means that no one has seen Father God while in their bodies because Ezekiel would see Him sitting on a throne while Ezekiel was out of his body having a lucid dream. I believe that today there would be many humans in the kingdom of heaven who have seen God the Father. This of course would be after their souls have been salvaged.


I am sure I am not qualified, but since not knowing what qualifications you seek, I shall put that aside and put on a thick skin and attempt.:stuck_out_tongue:

  1. No man has seen the Father. True. He is spirit and he has not let human eyes see his face or whether it is even possible. I’d think our retinas will burnt to a crisp before it even register any image. Closes to it was Moses but his back only I believe. I am not even sure a spirit has a front or back though.
    2.If you have seen the Son you have seen the Father. The Trinity has one thing in common, same nature. Jesus revealed that he and his Father are one. Before that revelation, we didn’t know that. Bearing in mind God is spirit and Jesus is the embodied 2nd person of the Trinity, there is no conflict in the statement of having seen the Son one have seen the Father based upon what was revealed. If Jesus had not said that he and his Father are one, there would be cause not to accept the statement that having seen the Son one has seen the Father. Because one would have to ask “how is that possible?” I am not sure in what ways Jesus and the Father are one, perhaps in mind/love/wisdom etc. But since he has declared it, I will accept it with a simple mind as true and take whatever happens to either one, is happening to both. That would be the easiest to visualize the unity for me. (Pretty sure that flunks any qualifications you think I ought to have. )

  2. Human eyes have seen Jesus. This is certain. And he also happened to be the 2nd person of the godhead, the Son. So if one has seen Jesus, he has seen the Son. Hypostatic Union.

There is no conflict in logic, only uncertainty in the details.


Mathew 5:8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

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