John 1.18 “No man has seen God at any time”
John 1. 18 has been used by the Watchtower organization with the object of trying to disprove the divinity of Jesus.
How then is this verse used by Jehovahs Witnesses to support their doctine?
There are two potential points which could conceivably be put forward to support the Watchtower contention.
We therefore need to examine these in the light of the rest of Scripture. These are:-
A) Does John 1. 18 lead us to believe that Jesus had never seen God the Father and therefore was simply a man (or a created being) ?
Any such suggestion is disproved by John 6. 46, when Jesus referring to Himself says, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father” . This is further clarified by Matt. 11. 27 which tells us ….. “and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son.”
B) Is then John 1. 18 telling us that because people at the time saw Jesus in His fully human form then he must be less than God ?
Again we need to look at the rest of Scripture for a fuller understanding of the meaning of this verse. When we do so the following is clearly shown.
John 1.18 cannot refer to looking upon the manifestation or the form of God, for the following Scriptures prove otherwise.
Genesis 32 verse 30 Jacob’s testimony …”I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved”
Exodus 24 . verses 9 & 10 also verse 11 Moses and others saw the God of Israel.
Isaiah 6. Verses 1 to 13 Isaiah saw the Lord.
1 Timothy 3. verse 16, if we need any more evidence, tells us that God was manifested in the flesh in the Person of Jesus, and seen by very large numbers of people.
It is therefore very apparent that human visibility of the manifestation of God is not the meaning here.
However, going back again to the earlier words of Jesus we looked at, in John 6.46 :-
Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.
And Matthew 11.27 …… and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son.,
leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the verse in question (John 1:18), is speaking of the divine essence or the very nature of God which only Jesus who was one with the Father, and shared the same divine nature as the Father, could know and comprehend. Jesus therefore had a knowledge of God and saw him intimately and completely.
Further Scripture references confirming the divinity of Jesus are listed in the posting on December 28th 2011 on this site.