Can Anyone In This Life See God?

Welcome back once more everyone to Deeper Waters. This site is still in the process of being upgraded so that readers can give their support to this ministry. Hopefully everything will be in place by the time we have a post up tomorrow. As it is, we are now going through the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas in order to understand the doctrine of God and we are discussing how God is known by us. If you do not own the Summa, you can go to and read the Summa Theologica online there for free.

Tonight’s question is if anyone in this life can see God. Aquinas does grant one exception at least to this and this is of course by divine grace. Moses was enabled somehow to see God face to face. However, didn’t Jacob also see God face to face?

Aquinas answers no. He saw God in a likeness that did not represent his full glory. Had that been seen, Jacob would not have survived. In this way, seeing Jesus could be seen as seeing God in that Jesus, being fully God, came in the likeness of flesh. That is, the flesh of Jesus was real flesh and it was also a shield to all to keep them from seeing the fully glory that was within that flesh. No one could have seen that in this mortal body and lived.

Aquinas also deals with an interesting argument of Augustine’s called the argument from truth. Truth is something that is greater than us and beyond us, but somehow, truth can be found in finite minds while it itself is not finite. Unchanging truth is found in minds that change. Augustine argues that there must be an unchanging mind that is not finite in which this truth dwells and as Aquinas would say, this everyone knows to be God.

While I believe this argument, of which I’ve given just a brief synopsis, is valid, Aquinas is told that if we see truth and this truth is in God, then it must be the case that we see God somehow. Aquinas disagrees of course. While all truth is in God, it is not in him that we see the truth but rather by him that we see the truth. Aquinas compares it to saying that we see things in this world not by looking at the sun but by the light of the sun. Of course, this will be different in the next life.

The ultimate reason that we cannot see God in this life is because we are in corruptible matter. The things that we see with our eyes are material things. Hence when angels show up, they appear in some material form or else as in the case of Elisha and his servant, ones eyes are altered in such a way that they can see the spiritual realities around them, and we can wonder what it would be like for each of us if we could get a chance to see the spiritual warfare that is going on all around us.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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