On-line version ISSN 2304-8557
Print version ISSN 0023-270X
SLATER, J.. Jesus's direct experiences of God the Father: A paradox within Jewish theology and gateway to human experience of God. Koers (Online) [online]. 2011, vol.76, n.3, pp.479-504. ISSN 2304-8557.
With the unavailability of a consistently similar and collectively accepted biblical definition of a 'direct experience of God', this article sets out to explore Jesus's direct experience of God the Father within the Hebrew environment, which states that no one can see God 'face to face' and live (Exod. 33:17-20). An immediate or direct experience of God is no doubt biblically rooted, but the nature and understanding thereof is largely a product of philosophers and theologians within the context of their worldviews. This article makes the case that Jesus had immediate experiences of God the Father, and this operates from the position that a direct experience of God is a fundamental property of the human reality. It sets out to explore the intimate nature and characteristics of Jesus's immediate experiences of God the Father. This is done in the light of the paradoxical religious considerations of the Israelites (Gen. 32:30; Exod. 33:20) where God said to Moses: 'You cannot see my face; for no one can see me and live.' But Genesis 32:30 records Jacob as saying: 'For I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.' While the paradox is furthered by John 1:18: 'No one has seen God at any time ...', Christians in Paul's time appear to have departed from such Hebraic reticence. The article sets out to identify some characteristics of Jesus's direct experiences of the Father and use these as a yardstick to measure the plausibility of human experiences of God. Complying with the limitations imposed on the scope of this article, the vastness of this topic has been restricted to what is reasonable within these confines.
Keywords : human unworthiness; immediate/direct experience of God; paním-el-paním (face-to-face); transcendent reality; transformation.