Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Bruce Schuchard

Scripture References in this Resource

1 John 4:7-12; John 1:1; John 1:18; John 20:20–29; Exodus 3:14; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Habakkuk 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20; John 1:19–3:36; John 4:1-5:47; John 6:1–10:39; John 10:40–20:31


Armbrust, Kevin L. “ ‘No One Has Ever Seen God’ (John 1:18): Not Seeing Yet Believing in the Gospel of John.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2014. 242 pp.

Only a few New Testament texts explicitly state that Jesus is θεός (“God”). John explicitly indicates that Jesus is God not once or twice, but three times. These three statements appear at the beginning of the Gospel’s prologue (1:1), at the end of the prologue (1:18), and just before the Gospel’s conclusion (20:28; cf. 20:30–31). John’s strategically placed statements thus form an end-to-end double inclusio. References to Jesus as God over against God (the Father), whom Jesus reveals, first frame and inform the prologue. Then such references frame and inform the narrative that follows. The striking and absolute statement “No one has ever seen God” (1:18a) introduces a key consideration that is revisited again and finally at the Gospel’s end (20:29). Standing at the midpoint of the Gospel’s end-to-end double inclusio, John 1:18a confronts the Fourth Gospel’s reader with a truth that might initially surprise. There is one who always has been the one and only one who makes known the God who has never been seen (1:18b). Thus, John 1:18a links the beginning of the narrative of the Gospel with its informing end, where the seeing of the invisible Father happens not when one sees with flesh and blood eyes, and no more, but when one by the power of the Holy Spirit believes in response to words from and about Jesus (20:29) that Jesus is one with the Father, ὁ ὤν (LXX Exod 3:14) in the flesh.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.