God’s Attribute of Invisibility

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It doesn’t make sense to think of God’s invisibility as a communicable attribute. If we can’t see him, then how can he communicate this attribute to us? And how can we humans understand that God’s invisibility is another part of his being? The easy way to see God is through his visible created things, such as mountains, oceans, animals, and desert sands. But stopping at that point isn’t enough for those of us who cherish our love relationship with God.

The Apostle Paul tells us, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Paul is saying that we can understand God’s power and divine nature through his created things, but it is through that understanding that we care for and develop our relationship with him.

Many passages of Scripture speak to God’s invisibility. For example in John 1:18, we read “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” From this passage, we learn two things: (1) that no one has ever seen God and (2) that even though he is invisible to humanity, he still shows himself to us through “the one and only Son, who is in closest relationship with the Father,” and “has made him known.” Jesus, the God-man reveals the invisible God in Scripture.

And in the Old Testament, even though Moses spoke to God he did not see God’s face (cf. Exodus 33:20). Instead, “Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud [essence of God] would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses” (Exodus 33:9). Furthermore, in the exodus, God showed himself to the Israelites, either as a “pillar of cloud by day or a pillar of fire by night” (cf. Exodus 13:21-22). Nevertheless, for those of us living in the twenty-first century, how can we think God when we cannot see God?

We can adjust our vision by seeing God in every created thing of nature; the sun, stars and moon, animals, bodies of water, mountains; our fellow human beings, our children, and lastly ourselves. More important, we can see God in every word of the Bible—and in the reflection of his beloved Son. As the God-man, Jesus taught and demonstrated the visibility of the Father throughout his time on earth.

Until next time …