User:Matthewfaulconer/Seeing God with spiritual eyes

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Several scriptures tell us that no man can see God except with spiritual eyes. See for example Moses 1:11 and D&C 67:11-13. Consider two questions: a) Why is it important to note that spiritual eyes are required to see God? b) Is seeing with spiritual eyes really seeing?

One way to answer these questions is to consider why it is that the scriptures record the fact that the people did see God. Clearly a big point, probably the main point, of recording people seeing God is because their experience serves as a testimony of God's reality. But if this is the main point, it might seem that the claim that God was seen spiritually weakens the point. Since our culture tends to trust only in what is physical and treat all else with skepticism, since our culture tends to deny both God and Satan, in this culture, the claim to have seen God is likely to be interpreted as the product of imagination or halucination. So then to say in that context that you saw God with spiritual eyes would seem to, if anything, reinforce the idea that the experience was not real--that it was the product of imagination. In that context then it seems strange to emphasize the "spiritual seeing" aspect of the experience, which encourages skepticism, when the point is to serve as a testimony of the reality of God.

But if we imagine instead a culture where belief in non-physical experiences with both good and evil spirits is pervasive, a better explanation arises. The concerns of a people in that culture would more likely be whether the experience was authentic, whether it really came from God, or whether it was inauthentic, whether it was an evil spirit masquerading as God. We can see that this type of concern was very real in other cultures by looking at D&C 129. (D&C 129 clearly fits in a culture interested in distinguishing good and evil spirits. The fact that we hardly know what to make of the section today shows just how much our culture differs from the culture of the early church in this respect.)

In conclusion, the point of explaining that we must see God with spiritual eyes is to explain how the authentic experience of seeing God differs from an inauthentic version. Note specifically that this is how Moses distinguishes the two (see Moses 1:13-14).

Related Scriptures[edit]