QUESTION: How do we explain the apparent contradiction between Genesis 32:30 and I John 4:12? Genesis 32:30 says, "Jacob saw God face to face," yet I John 4:12 states that "no man has seen God at any time?"
ANSWER: I John 4:12 states: "No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." The context of I John 4 shows that John was speaking of the Father (see verse 10). No man has seen the Father in person except Jesus Christ (John 1:18; John 5:37).
Therefore when Jacob explained: "...For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved," he could not have meant the Father. The One whom Jacob saw face to face - the One with whom he wrestled all night long - the One who blessed him and changed his name to "Israel" which means "prevailer with God" was that member of the God Family who became Jesus Christ. It was He that was "in the beginning..." with God, and "...was God" (John 1:1-3; John 1:14).