This question is a trap but it is meant to begin a timeless debate: if God exists, why does nobody have seen Him? Why can I not see Him right now? Although I know He helps me and He is always besides me, although I feel how He often interferes in my life many times a day, anyway I cannot see Him. There were times when many peoples had seen God and spoke with Him.
In the beginning, Adam and Eve talked with God face to face in the way we speak with our loved ones, and they were always enjoying His presence. But being tempted by the devil, they fell in the proud, thinking that they would be like God if they would eat from the tree of good and evil. God had warned them before, if they taste from that tree, they would die. Once they sinned, the following happened:
“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” ” (Ge 3, 6-11)
Adam and Eve knew that they were naked, they lost their innocence they had from the beginning, and they began to perceive the sexual instinct. From now on, Adam and Eve entered the vicious circle of death, of corruption, of degradation. They lost the eternity of the age, beginning easily to grow older.
It is very important for us to seize the attitude of the two once they were wrong: “Adam and his wife hid from the Lord God”. Their disobedience and the sin they made have began to separate them from God. They had been expelled from Heaven and received the punishment that was meant to teach them the way back to communion with God.
This was the first stage, when man used to see God face to face, and talked with Him without any impediment.
After the fall, begins the second stage, God shows to the people much rare, and only to some, in different ways. From now on, God begins to discover himself to the gradually fallen man, more and more obviously, but always calling our liberty. From then to today God has not imposed, forcing people to discover Him, without their will, he showed himself to those with a pure heart, who wanted it.
This is why Abraham received God at the oak in Mamvri as three angels, to Jacob God appears as a staircase climbing up to the heaven, to Moses through the burning bush. Many Old Testament prophets spoke with God, only hearing his voice, receiving orders and advices in order to guide the people of Israel.
St. John Chrysostom very beautiful says that we shouldn’t need the Scripture if we hadn’t fall into sins, because we could spoke with Him face to face, and his orders would be engraved in the tables of flash of our hearts. Falling into sins, God gave Moses the tablets of laws to guide the people and to protect them from making evil, His presence being replaced by word. Distancing ourselves from God, He speaks us through Scriptures, as He had send a letter to a far friend.
In the Old Testament, people see God through the great miracles that He made with Israel, through the prophets whom He sent, through their words and their chosen spiritual life. Now Lord He reveales Himself as a fair God who punishes evil and protects His people from the very large sins of the pagan people, the Creator of the whole world and the one and only true God among all gods heard in the world. This was preparatory stage for an ending moment: the coming of Messiah, the chosen of God, who had been expected by all Jewish with great interest. From here begins the third stage.
It all culminated in the Incarnation of the Son of God from the Holy Spirit and from the Virgin Mary. Jesus Christ, True God and man, was and has been for humanity until now, the most clearly mode in which God has revealed himself to the world. During the New Testament, people saw God walking among them, making great signs and wonders, talking with power and with wisdom that nobody ever had before. God dwelt among people 33 years. Some have known Him as God, others as a great prophet, and others only a simple man. Christ never imposed in the way he really was, but He let each to perceive Him as their hearts. Christ made known God in Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Yes! There were people that had seen God, whom had touched Him, had embraced Him into their arms with joy, who spoke with Him, people who asked for help, who complained of the weakness of their life. What happened in Israel in those 3 years when the Savior Christ preached the Kingdom of Heaven, had never happened anywhere and anytime in this world. God became like us to easily perceive Him and to show His solidarity with our needs, feeling all the shortcomings of human life in his body, taken from Virgin Maria. He lived a sinless life always being in communion with His Father, giving His life on the Cross – for our salvation.
The fourth stage in the perception of God is Christ showing to the people after His Resurrection from the dead. His body was no longer a material one, full of damages, tied to the primary needs: hunger, thirst, sleep, warmth and so on, but he was a spiritual body, full of the Holy Spirit, a body that was nourishing by the Grace of the Holy Trinity, which had no longer need of anything.
With this body, Christ appeared to the apostles and to the women. The risen Christ looks differently from the Christ before death. The Risen Christ was full of light seizing all those around Him with His divine energies.
All revelations of God on earth had been enshrined by the freedom of man, He never imposed Himself.
In the last stage, the fifth, when the end of the world will come and when all will come to the trial, God will be seen in all His fullness, being the Creator and the Judge of the world. Even sinners who on the earth have chosen not to know Him and not enter in a relationship with Him, or even to deny His existence, then standing face to face, will be overwhelmed by His presence, and they will immediately know the truth. Then the whole world will understand everything that has happened and they will confess God in the way they had to do on the earth.
People saw God and they can still see him today, but He shows only to those with a pure and a humbly heart:
“Blessed are those with a pure heart because those shall see God”.
Two thousand years ago, the world was pagan, and today there are hundreds of thousands of churches worship to God all over the world. Those who built these churches witness by this that they saw Christ, or they have felt His presence very strong in their life.
You can also see God, but He shows only to those without sins, to those who love and let themselves be loved. St. Anthony the Great spoke with Christ in the way you speak with a friend, but his life was an angelic one. Christ and Virgin Mary appeared in prison to Saint Nicholas to strength him with the preach of the truth faith to the First Ecumenical Council
To St Paul appeared Christ from Heaven although he had never seen Him.
The Saints have always seen God.
Why God doesn’t let sinners see Him? In order to encourage them to get out of their illness, to realize that to see God is a big and frightening thing, and a very desirable thing… and not a thing always available. We humans have always been attracted to easily get things we cannot reach.
Knowing that is hard to get to see God, surely some will dare to climb the difficult path of struggle with passions.