“How can I respond when my friends say that no man can see God?” Liahona, Aug. 2011, 46–47
Your friends have probably read the few verses in the Bible that say that man can’t see God (see Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 1 Timothy 6:14–16; 1 John 4:12). These verses seem to contradict other Bible verses that say that men—such as Jacob, Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah—have seen God (see Genesis 18:1; 32:30; Exodus 33:11; Isaiah 6:1).
Fortunately, we have the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, which clarifies the four scriptures that say that man can’t see God. The Prophet’s inspired revisions of those verses explain that sinful people can’t see God—only those who believe. And even then, a righteous person must be changed—transfigured—to see God (see D&C 67:11). In the Pearl of Great Price account of Moses seeing God, Moses explains that it was his spiritual, not natural, eyes that saw God (see Moses 1:11).
You can let your friends know that “we believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8). You can also bear testimony of Joseph Smith and of latter-day scripture, which helps us understand that “the pure in heart … shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).
Alma taught that every aspect of nature testifies of a supreme Creator due to its infinite complexities and harmonies (see Alma 30:44). This is a great opportunity for you to testify to your friends that you can feel His presence in your life every day through the Holy Ghost. You can also explain that we do not need to see God in order to believe He is there. That is why we have faith. If we could see Him, there would not be much effort required to believe and follow Him throughout our lives. There will be a time when we will see Him on the other side of the veil. Until then, your belief is enough to spiritually see His hand in your life.
Janel E., age 18, Washington, USA
A roommate once asked me how I could believe in something I could not see. I answered that it was because I can feel the Holy Ghost, who testifies that God knows me, and this increases my faith and brings peace to my soul. I cannot see Him, but I know He loves me because I have faith and I feel His Spirit.
Samuel P., age 18, Lara, Venezuela
Few people have ever seen God while they were on earth, but we have all been affected. We see everything He has created, all the blessings He gives, and we can all feel His love. I feel it most when I bear my testimony. As long as we open our eyes and our hearts, we will see God all around us, as well as in each other, His children.
Katelyn E., age 16, California, USA
When my schoolmates ask why I believe in God if I have never seen Him, I explain that we have not seen God because it is not time for us to see Him. After we are resurrected, we will come before Him to be judged (see D&C 137:9). I then share my testimony and explain that having faith means believing and having hope. If they have faith, they will see God like I see Him—with the eyes of my heart.
Daiana V., age 18, Santa Cruz, Argentina
One day my companion and I were teaching a couple, and we told them that the Father and the Son had appeared to Joseph Smith in answer to his prayer. The man said that no one could see God. Immediately the alarm on my watch went off, letting us know that we needed to head home. We left their home that day without answering that statement.
The next day I read a scripture in the Bible that says, “If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision” (Numbers 12:6). I knew this scripture would help this brother believe.
The time of the next visit arrived, and we spoke about prophets. I showed him this scripture, and his countenance changed. His eyes filled with tears, and he said, “This is true. There are people prepared to see God.” Later we taught him about Book of Mormon prophets who have seen God, and he knew it was true.
Elder Diaz, age 25, Mexico Mérida Mission
Normally we don’t see God, but you can feel His Spirit. He wants you to get to know Him by reading the scriptures and having faith in Him. If you have faith in Him, you won’t have to see Him to know who He is and that He exists. Prophets, like Moses and Joseph Smith, who have actually seen God have had to be transformed to see Him.
Aaron F., age 12, Oregon, USA
A friend of mine once asked me this question, and I asked her where she had gotten this idea. She told me that a man had shown it to her in the Bible. I then remembered John 1:18, where he says that no man can see the Lord. With the help of seminary, I remembered other scriptures in the Bible that say men like Moses and Jacob, being full of the Holy Ghost, saw God. And so I was able to answer my friend confidently and bear my testimony.
Luis M., age 17, Mato Grosso, Brazil