John 1:18 WEB

No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

The Book of John was written after Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Scholars suggest John was written around 100 CE. Conversely, others give an earlier date. What is consistent is the assumption John was written after the death and resurrection of Jesus. Another consistency scholars point out is John’s purpose in writing the Book of John (John 20:19-31). John was written so all people may believe in the divinity of Jesus and be saved.

I trust the author of John. So when the author of John says no one has seen God at any time, I believe him (John 1:18). I assume that includes Jesus because Jesus is a person (Rom 1:3). Yet, John is written to demonstrate Christ’s divinity (John 20:31). The author often does that by revealing Christ’s humanity (John 4:6). And, if Jesus had seen God, John would have told us.

In John 6:46 we are told Jesus has seen the Father. However, the root word of the first “seen” (μανθάνω) in the verse should probably be interpreted learn rather than seen. Also, the second “seen” in the verse (ὁράω) should probably be translated as perception or understanding. John would not have said, no one has seen God if Jesus had seen God. The “seen” (ὁράω) in verse John 1:18 is mental understanding. We can know this because Jesus “seeing” God is explained in the second half of the verse as “explaining” God.

These minor nuances matter. If Jesus can see God with his eyes then God is at least two separate people. Saying Christ has seen God literally affects our understanding of the Trinity. Also, it causes the people of God to misunderstand Jesus. Jesus was both fully divine and fully human (John 4:6). He prayed (John 17:1, 18:1) and listened for the small voice within (John 8:6), just like you and I. He knew and understood scripture (John 19:28), he declared the Word of God (John 6:35), he taught sermons (John 6:59). In other words, he had the same toolset that you and I have. We can know the singular God just like Jesus because Jesus has revealed Him (John 3:21).

Lord Jesus, you testified God is one, please give me a new revelation of that truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray, amen.

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