An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Beatific Vision

The joy or blessedness given in the vision of God. It is reflected in the beatitude “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8) and Paul's confession that we shall see God “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12). The vision of God serves as the primary metaphor for the end of the Christian life in monastic traditions, mysticism, and Thomism. It has been understood as an immediate knowledge of God. It is not a theoretical knowledge but a personal knowledge of the incomprehensible mystery and love of God. The beatific vision may be understood as another expression for the highest good (or summum bonum), perfect fulfillment in God, and eternal life. Anglican Kenneth Kirk wrote what remains a classic study of moral theology based on the beatific vision in his 1931 book titled The Vision of God.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.