John begins his first epistle by speaking of Him who was from the beginning, God the Son, who became manifest by taking to Himself true and full humanity. The invisible became visible. The Word that was with God and was God “became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes…and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—
1 John 1:1, NKJV
God is spirit and has no body. John makes that point in the closing verse to his Gospel prologue: “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). He reinforces that fact in his epistle: “No one has seen God at any time” (1 John 4:12). But that does not mean we cannot perceive God.
Scripture makes it clear that God has revealed Himself, both in creation and His word (e.g., Psa. 19). Paul will make the case that the essence of God is conspicuous in what He has made (Rom. 1:19-21). As the existence of an exquisite painting reflects the glory of talented painter, so the evidence of a vast, ordered, complex, majestic creation displays the glory its Creator.
John, however, points to another way in which the invisible God reveals Himself. After telling us that no one has ever seen God, he goes on: “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). When Philip asked Jesus to show His disciples the Father, Jesus pointed to Himself: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).