Looking at the face of God

I have always been told that no one can look at the face of God and live because God is too holy for us to comprehend and we would indeed die. However, somewhere along the way this week in my deeper study and reflection I came across another impetration which I had not heard of, but I am sure is an old understanding.

The understanding that no one can look at the face of God not because God is “super holy” and cannot be in the presence of sin, puts limits on God. In fact that idea makes humans able to do something that God cannot do, which in turn puts God in a box which we control.

So perhaps we cannot look at the face of God and live, not because there is some limit to God, but because there is some limit to humans.

God is in all aspects of creation: which includes the most painful, hurtful, evil, tragic and unjust. And because God is everywhere, God 'sees' all this pain. No one but God is able to 'look' at all of that injustice and evil and still live. If we were to actually see all the evil and pain in the world we would literally be crushed by its weight and we would die.

On a small level we get this feeling of overwhelmed when we see things on the internet which turn our stomachs. If I multiply that out by the infinite about of pain felt throughout time, I can only imagine what that would feel like. This makes God “wholly-other.”

Not being able to look at the face of God is more about human limitation - not God's.