Apparent contradiction: Can YHVH God be seen or not?

YES, He has appeared to many! NO, He is invisible!
Genesis 3:8-9 Exodus 33:20
Genesis 12:7 John 1:18
Genesis 17:1 John 6:46
Genesis 18:1-33 1 Timothy 1:17
Genesis 26:2, 24 1 Timothy 6:16
Genesis 32:24-32 1 John 4:12
Genesis 35:9
Genesis 48:3
Exodus 3:16
Exodus 4:5
Exodus 6:3
Exodus 24:9-11
Exodus 33:11-23
Numbers 14:14
Deuteronomy 5:4
Deuteronomy 34:10
Joshua 5:13-15
Judges 6:11-24
Judges 13:22-23
1 Kings 22:19
Job 42:5
Psalm 63.2
Isaiah 6:1-5
Ezekiel 1:27
Ezekiel 20:35
Daniel 3:24-30
Amos 7:7
Amos 9:1
Habakkuk 3:3-5
Matthew 18:10

Does Exodus 33:11 and 33:20 really contradict?

There is certainly an apparent contradiction, but is there a real contradiction in Truth? Think about it. Is there a part or an extent of יהוה that is impossible for us (as mere humans in flesh) to see? If יהוה exists outside (and capable to enter inside) His creation (the Universe), and if we cannot leave the Universe without first passing from this life… then YES, there is an enormous part of יהוה that we cannot see or comprehend… in all probability, maybe even after death. But if יהוה decides to enter His created Universe within dimensions that we as humans can see and perceive, then we can indeed see יהוה, but at the same time… the greater Endless/Limitlessness of יהוה is not being FULLY seen or comprehended. In other words, He has been seen in part by many (while in the flesh), but He has NOT been seen in all of His FULLNESS by human fleshly eyes.

Is it difficult to imagine our flesh coming to a quick end (i.e., death) if it was exposed to the fullness of יהוה, the ultimate source of creative power as Exodus 33:20 indicates? On the flip-side, is it also difficult to imagine that יהוה could manifest Himself in such a limited/restricted way that Moses (and others) would not die (as in Judges 6:23 and Judges 13:22-23)? Is He the Designer of our flesh… and fully aware of the physical limits of our flesh?

From what seems apparent in the Tanakh, we can see lesser manifestations of יהוה (if He so chooses to reveal Himself), but we cannot see the greater reality that is Him (outside the Universe) in the current state of our flesh within the Universe.

Face to face OR with great intimacy?

Some teachers go down the “Ancient Hebrew” road and contend that the English translation of Moses seeing יהוה “face to face” was speaking more of a depiction of greater intimacy with יהוה, not a literal face-to-face encounter. They may indeed have some valid points, but there is still the problem of יהוה appearing to Adam, to Abraham, to Isaak, to Jacob, to Gideon, to David, to Nebukadnetstsar, etc etc in conjunction with passages like Judges 6:23 and Judges 13:22-23 where there was an obvious fear of death after יהוה was seen.

Note: a distinction should be made between simply seeing יהוה and being with Him face-to-face. For example, Nebukadnetstsar may have seen the “demah bar Elah” in the fire, but he didn’t speak with יהוה inclose proximity… with intimacy… face-to-face as Moses did.