(Ex. 24:10) Can we see God or not? (c.f. Ex. 19:12-13)

CLAIM: Exodus 33:20 states that no man can see God and live (c.f. Ex. 19:12-13; Jn. 1:18), but this passage states that “they saw the God of Israel” (Ex. 24:10). Which is true?

RESPONSE: In Exodus 24, God invited these men to see him. In Exodus 19, he forbid this. This is no more contradictory than inviting a dinner guest over at 7 o’clock at night, but forbidding them to come over at 7 o’clock in the morning. While one case is acceptable, the other isn’t. For more comments on the visibility of God, see 1 Timothy 1:17.