Seeing and not Seeing the Face of God: Overcoming the Law of Contradiction in Biblical Theology


  • Steven Kepnes Colgate University



This paper attempts to illuminate and interpret the contradictory portrait of God as both seen and unseen in the Torah. Thus Moses is commanded not to look on the face of God yet also praised for having spoken to God “face to face". We seek ways to reconcile the contradictory portraits of God through the use of the term “doubled-mindedness” in the theology of Jerome Gellman, in the logic of  “thirdness” in C.S. Peirce’s semiotics, and in the use of both particle and wave models in Einstein’s physics of light. The paper concludes by disusing the practical consequences of theological double-mindedness for the religious life and the philosophical meaning of redemption as the time when the contradiction of the unseen and seen God is resolved.


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Kierkegaard, Soren. 1954. Fear and Trembling and the Sickness Unto Death. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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How to Cite

Kepnes, Steven. 2020. “Seeing and Not Seeing the Face of God: Overcoming the Law of Contradiction in Biblical Theology”. European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 12 (2):133-47.