ABC:John 1

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Verse 18[edit | hide | hide all]

American Atheist's list at American Atheists claims this is a contradiction and make the following comments (italicized).[1] RationalWiki also claims there is a Bible contradiction here.[2]

No one has seen God the Father at any time. That it is evident a distinction is being drawn between God the Father and Jesus, the Son of God, is evident from John 1:18, as they are both mentioned separately. However, Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord has been seen, and seen consistently throughout the Old Testament. Jacob even later states that it was Angel whom he was wrestling, and whom he called God. See Genesis 48:16, "The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." For more on Jesus as the Old Testament Angel of the Lord, see Christophanies.

Verse 18 (Again)[edit | hide] includes on its "List of Biblical Contradictions" the question, "God be seen?" while making the following comments (italicized).[3] also makes a similar criticism in the section "Who has seen God?"[4] The EvilBible also claims a contradiction exists here.[5]

Meritt claims Exodus 33 contradicts itself by saying God spoke to Moses face to face (v. 11) but that Moses was unable to see God's face since none can see God's face and live. (vv. 20,23) It should first be pointed out that John 5:37 referred to the disciples having seen God the Father specifically, and to infer it as referring to everyone at all times would be a stretch.

Jesus Was God[edit | hide]

The answer to this is really pretty simple, and contained in John 1:18 - none have seen God the Father, but God the Father has declared His Son, the Word, to be God as well. This answer is also provided by Jesus. Jesus claimed to have existed with God the Father before the world itself and to have shared His Father's glory. This is repeated elsewhere as well in the Bible. (Proverbs 8:22-31; Colossians 1:17; 1 John 1:1-3) Jesus in Revelation 1:7-8 is called "the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Isaiah 9:6 prophesied that His name would be "Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Christophanies[edit | hide]

A number of times in the Old Testament it appears another, more tangible form of God appears, God the Son, and this is called a 'Christophany.'[6] Jesus after all said He Himself was the original God of Israel.

The book of John presents this as the God of Israel coming to His own and being rejected. Jesus spoke with sorrow of His past relationship with Israel.

The Pharisees refused to consider the eternal nature of Jesus as God's Son, and thus were puzzled by Jesus' riddle showing David's prophesies of the Messiah evidenced an eternal Creator coming to Earth as the Messiah in human form.

Jesus, Angel of the Lord[edit | hide]

What many people don't realize is that when God spoke to Moses originally in the burning bush, to Abraham even earlier, and to Jacob, it was not God the Father speaking, but the 'Angel of the Lord' who spoke.

Other cases of apparent Christophanies in the Bible, including places where the Angel of the Lord is called God, include:

As seen above, the Angel of the Lord was referred to as God a number of times. Some of the KJV translators may have recognized this as several times they capitalized the word 'Angel.' (Genesis 48:16; Exodus 23:20,23,34; 32:34) However, whenever angels or people were called God, they said God alone should be worshiped. Therefore, it is clear from the Bible that the Angel of the Lord was no mere angel, for if so it should have denied the worship it received.

Conclusion[edit | hide]

It appears thus that the first half of Exodus 33 refers to Jesus appearing as the Angel of the Lord and speaking to Moses, just as He did throughout the Old Testament to many of the patriarchs, and was called God frequently when doing so. The last half of the chapter refers to God the Father Himself speaking and saying none can see His face. Genesis 32:30 refers to Jesus, the Angel of the Lord, as God, as do many other places in the Old Testament. Thus Jesus could be seen face to face, yet be considered God, while God the Father could not be seen face to face as something in God the Father's glorious nature meant those who looked on His face would die.

Verse 35[edit | hide]

Jim Meritt of states a contradiction exists here, asking "Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?"[3]

Admittedly this actually stumped me at first, as the chronology in John 1 at first glance does seem to contradict Mark 1 as to what happened in the days after Jesus' baptism. However, as aptly pointed out by Mickey at[7]

What many, myself included, failed to notice is that John 1 never states Jesus' baptism was occurring, only that John was bearing witness that he had done so in the past. John 1:15-36 never says the baptism itself is taking place, only that John the Baptist sees Jesus coming and professes that the events of Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-10 had occurred.

Verse 42[edit | hide] claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments:[4]

The verses aren't at all incompatible. Evidently Andrew met Jesus first and brought Peter to Jesus as described in John 1:42. Then the next day Jesus went to Galilee while they were fishing and told both them and Philip "Follow me." Matthew 4 just doesn't mention the initial meeting between Jesus, Peter, and Andrew, perhaps because Matthew was less familiar than John with that meeting and the early history of what occurred. As one of the first disciples and the one closest to Jesus, John likely knew more detail about the early history of the apostles than Matthew did.

Sources[edit | hide]

  1. N.a. (2019). "Biblical Contradictions? American Atheists.
  2. RationalWiki Editors (2019). "Biblical Contradictions." RationalWiki.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from
  4. 4.0 4.1 TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from
  5. Thiefe, Chris. Biblical Contradictions.
  6. What is a theophany? What is a Christophany? Got Questions Ministries.
  7. Mickey (2009, December 28). Where was Jesus three days after His baptism? Thy Word Is True. Retrieved from