Can God's face actually be seen (Genesis 32:30)?

In Genesis 32:30 Jacob said, "I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." Mormons sometimes cite this verse with a view to proving that God the Father has a physical body with a face that can be seen.

This is a faulty interpretation. To begin, it is possible for a blind person to speak "face to face" with someone without seeing their face. The phrase "face to face" in the Hebrew mindset means "personally," "directly," or "intimately." Moses had this kind of unmediated relationship with God. But he, like all other mortals, never saw an actual "face" of God. We must not forget the Bible's emphatic statement that "God is a spirit" (John. 4:24). And "a spirit does not have flesh and bones" (Luke 24:39). So, again, God does not have a physical face. Being "face to face" with God simply refers to being in God's direct presence in an intimate way.


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