Friday, March 31, 2006

Beatific Vision

Does anyone know of a good treatment of JE and the Beatific Vision?

His views are strongly reminiscent of Augustine (Cf. De Civ. XXII, 29) - the internal knowledge of the Trinity is intellectual - the external vision of God is in Christ. Muller writes that the 'scholastics note that the visio is not a visio oculi, a vision of the eye, except with reference to the perception of the glorified Christ. With reference to the saints' new perception of God, the visio is cognitio Dei clara et intuitiva, a clear and intuitive knowledge of God, an inward actus intellectus et voluntatis, or act of intellect and will.' (A Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms s.v. visio Dei).

You can find very striking statements regarding the Beatific Vision in JE - See Excellency of Christ, or Heaven is a World of Love. Here is a really interesting formulation from his funeral sermon for David Brainerd:

'Their beatific vision of God is in Christ, who is that brightness or effulgence of God’s glory, by which his glory shines forth in heaven, to the view of saints and angels there, as well as here on earth. This is the Sun of righteousness that is not only the light of this world, but is also the sun that enlightens the heavenly Jerusalem, by whose bright beams it is that the glory of God shines forth there, to the enlightening and making happy all the glorious inhabitants. “The Lamb is the light thereof; and so the glory of God doth lighten it,” Rev. 21:23. None sees God the Father immediately, who is the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Christ is the image of that invisible God, by which he is seen by all elect creatures. The only-begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him, and manifested him. None has ever immediately seen the Father, but the Son; and none else sees the Father any other way, than by the Son’s revealing him. And in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect behold his glory. They see the glory of his divine nature, consisting in all the glory of the Godhead, the beauty of all his perfections: his great majesty, almighty power, his infinite wisdom, holiness, and grace. They see the beauty of his glorified human nature, and the glory which the Father has given him, as God-man and Mediator. For this end, Christ desired that his saints might “be with him, that they might behold his glory,” John 17:24.'

The sermon is in Volume Two of the 19th C two volume edition (Banner, Hendrickson reprints), is available online, and will be in Volume 25 of the Yale Edition. If you have acccess you can get the first edition (Boston, 1747) from Evans Online: Early American Imprints, 1st series, no. 5939.

Muller's Dictionary is a must-have for students of JE.


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