"He who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
There are times when Trinitarian apologetics almost seems to be senseless babble. First, does the Trinitarian really want to promote Sabellianism and claim Jesus and the Father are the same person? Trinitarians do make such claims from time to time when it is convenient for them. And here, once again, the Trinitarian is caught in his own craftiness.
John tells us that "no one has seen God," (1:18; see 1 John 4:12) and in the same vein of thought, Jesus tells us plainly that "no one has seen the Father (5:37; 6:46), and not only so he refers to that person as "the only God (5:44). The Word of God expresses God the Father, just as our word expresses us.
No one has seen God. The Only Begotten who is in the bosom of the Father, he expresses. (1:18)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God, he has seen the Father. (6:44-46; cf. 3:13).
And the Father who sent me himself witnesses concerning me. His voice you have never heard, His appearance you have never seen, and you do not have the Word of Him abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life, and it is they that testify concerning me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you might have life. I do not receive glory from men. But I know that you do not have the Love of God within you. I have come in the Name of my Father, and you do not receive me, if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the Glory that comes from The ONLY God? (5:37-44).
No one has seen the appearance of God. The Greek word used here is eidos and is not the Greek word for "form" which would be morphe. This word is derived from the Greek word "to see" and does not mean "form" or "shape." The same word is used at Luke 9:29 and 2 Cor 5:7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:22. It is also used only one other time at Luke 3:22 where it again means "appearance" in that the Spirit had the appearance of a dove.
Now Jesus says if you have seen him you have seen the Father. However, Jesus also says that no one but he himself has seen God the Father. Are both John and Jesus contradicting themselves? No, they are most certainly is not. John tells us that the Word "became flesh" and that Word, the only begotten, expresses God (1:14-18). In fact, Jesus tells us right in the very next passage just how they have seen the Father; it is not in substance of his nature but in function.
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who abides in me does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me or else believe me because of the works themselves. (14:10-11).
In fact, we find the very same thing at John 5:36 which is the verse directly preceding the passage where Jesus tells the Jews they have never seen the appearance of God the Father.
But He answered them, "My Father until now works, and I work.... For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God his own Father, making Himself equal with God... Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing from himself, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever he does, that the Son likewise does. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that He Himself is doing, and the Father will show Him greater works than these, so that you will marvel... But I have the greater testimony than John. For the works which the Father gave me, that I should finish them, the works themselves that I do testify concerning me that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me himself witnesses concerning me. His voice you have never heard, His appearance you have never seen. (5:17-37; cf. 4:34).
And Jesus tells the blind Jews, and the Trinitarians again but they do not listen.
If You are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. the works that I do in the name of my Father, these testify of me... I and the Father are one. The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father. For which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make yourself a god. Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, `I said, You are gods?' If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken, do you say of him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'? If I do not do the works of my Father, do not believe me, but I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." (John 10:25-38; see John 15:21-25).
Jealous characters aren't they? Again we see that Jesus and the Father are one in the works that he did and to witness the works of Jesus is to see the Father at work. Jesus is God's Word and God does all his works through his Word. Jesus explains at John 15:24 that the Jews had sinned in not accepting him because he, Jesus, was the Word of God doing the works of God. Indeed, this is the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Jesus said himself he drove out demons by the Holy Spirit which is the power of God his Father (Mt 12:28) and God the Father was in him in his Spirit since God is spirit, an obvious reference to the Father, Jesus being flesh. We find all through the Bible that Jesus was empowered by the Spirit of his God, the Father (e.g. Acts 2:22; 10:36-38) and in doing the works of God he was one with God in that function. No one has seen God the Father, but the only begotten, He expresses.
Again John has foiled the Trinitarian and he has no way out. Jesus himself said no one had seen God the Father and yet he also said to see him was to see God the Father. At face value, these are two diametrically opposed statements. And since Jesus expressly says that no one has seen the "appearance" of God, the only possible way to explain this is to acknowledge that people had seen God the Father in the works of his Word, his Son, Jesus the Christ. There is absolutely no way the Trinitarian can claim that this passage is a reference to his divine nature since God is spirit by nature and no one can see God. Jesus was the glory of God (12:41-45), not in what he was by nature, but in what he did. The Trinitarian is caught in his own craftiness.