Last modified on December 12, 2019, at 01:56

Beatific vision

Beatific Vision (Latin: visio beatifica) in Christian theology is the ultimate direct self-communication of God the Holy Trinity to the individual person, the immediate knowledge of God which the angelic spirits and the souls of the just enjoy in Heaven, the fulfilled state of complete beatitude. It is called "vision" to distinguish it from the mediated indirect knowledge of God which the human mind may attain in the present life "from womb to tomb". The beatific vision is probably best understood by a consideration of a strong analogy in comparing the difference between a lifetime of being blind and a lifetime of having sight, or a lifetime of deafness without the sounds of nature and the joy of beautiful music.

All of human experience of reality during the whole of a lifetime before death is mediated by the imperfect, physical, creature senses of perception and the processes of understanding and reasoning by means of the mind and brain. As a member of redeemed humanity in the "communion of saints" mentioned in the Creeds, a person possessing the beatific vision reaches the perfection of salvation in its entirety, which is heaven. In beholding God face to face the created intelligence finds perfect happiness, and for this reason the vision is termed "beatific". The notion of vision stresses the intellectual part of salvation, but the whole of the beatific vision encompasses the whole of the human experience of joy which, at the resurrection, will be enjoyed by the whole person, body, soul and spirit, the totality of happiness coming from personally seeing and experiencing God finally face to face intimately in the depth of the soul to the very core of one's being, and not imperfectly through faith.[1]

Christian philosophers and theologians who specialize in the study of Christology have speculated about possible answers to the question, Did Christ have the beatific vision during the Passion? [2] Some say that the Lord Jesus Christ as God the Son in his own divine Person as God and man had uninterrupted communion with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit during his Passion, because the Unity of the One God cannot be divided. Others say that Jesus in His divine nature as the Incarnation of the Word of God in his fully human nature, possessing a true human soul and spirit, was humanly deprived of the Beatific Vision of the Father and the Holy Spirit when he hung dying on the cross; but that in his fully divine nature as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity of the One God he was not, in his divine nature, divinely deprived of his eternal communion with the First and Third Persons of the Trinity as the One God; and that it was restored to him as man in his fully human nature the moment He died, and continued all during the time He lay in the tomb and went and preached to the souls in prison,[3] because of what is called the hypostatic union of his body with him as the Incarnation of the Word made flesh,[4] the Son of the Father.

See also



Apostles' Creed

Nicene Creed

Athanasian Creed







Christian mysteries

Orthodox Mysteries


  1. 1 Corinthians 13:11–12.
  2. See multiple commentaries on Matthew 27:46.
  3. 1 Peter 3:19.
  4. John 1:1-2, 14, 18; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15-20; 2:9.

External links