The Bible tells us that no one can see God. He “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). People could see Jesus, God the Son, because he was also a man. We’ll see Jesus in heaven. But is 1 Timothy 6:16 saying that even in heaven we won’t see God the Father?
The Bible says no one can see God, but it also talks about a future time when we will see God. Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.” The apostle Paul writes, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12). In heaven, we’ll be in the presence of the Lord, and we’ll see him face to face. My favorite verse about seeing God is 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.”
In other words, the people of God have this hope that one day we’ll see God. It’s what theologians call the beatific vision. We’ll have a vision of God the Holy Trinity when we’re in his presence in heaven.
So, does this idea of a vision of God contradict 1 Timothy 6:16?
No. When we see God in heaven in a vision that brings joy fullness, we’re not going to see God’s essence with our eyeballs. Instead, it’s a spiritual experience. By the grace of the Holy Spirit we’re going to experience the vision that the Scriptures talk about.
But we will see Jesus Christ with our eyeballs. He has a resurrected body even now in the new creation, and we’re going to be with him. We’ll see him and worship Him.
This vision of God is, in one sense, is a mystery. But it’s also our great hope, which is ours through the grace of God. Through that vision, we’ll know everlasting happiness. As Christians, it’s what we look forward to.