This is one of the weakest contradiction claims that I've seen, but it seems to be one that trips up a lot of young Christians. Those responding to this claim often get off into the weeds of discussing the Trinity which is a fine topic of conversation, but it's a bit too complex to adequately discuss in a social media feed. Here is a much simpler but still effective response that we can give to the claim that Genesis 32:30 contradicts John 1:18.
"And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen. 32:30)
"No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." (Jn. 1:18)
Genesis 32:30 is a recording of a claim made by a man. It is presented as an accurate recording of what Jacob said. According to the Bible, Jacob claimed to have seen the face of God. This verse could still be true even if Jacob was mistaken or lying. There are no verses that contradict this verse by claiming that Jacob did not claim to have seen the face of God. Therefore, there are no verses in the Bible which contradict Genesis 32:30.
If I were to say that Trump claimed to be the greatest President in the history of mankind, my statement would still be true even if you correctly pointed out that there have been many national leaders and even president's of America whose accomplishments far outshine those of Donald Trump. I could agree with you completely without contradicting my original statement about Trump's claims. My original statement about Trump was merely a presentation of someone else's claim. It was not an endorsement of that claim.
The same can be said of the claim made by Jacob and recorded in Genesis 32:30. The Bible simply tells us what Jacob said. It does not endorse that claim any more than the news media can be said to have endorsed the claims of Trump by merely recording them. Those who claim that this is a contradiction in the Bible have not taken the time to think about it clearly.
Bill Fortenberry is a Christian philosopher and historian in Birmingham, AL. Bill's work has been cited in several legal journals, and he has appeared as a guest on shows including The Dr. Gina Show, The Michael Hart Show, and Real Science Radio.
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