Tuesday, March 6, 2012

2001 analysis - part 24: Bowman experiences the beatific vision


Gustave Dore's image of the beatific vision, from Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. In Christian theology, the beatific vision is the eternal and direct visual perception of God. [Image from the Wikipedia 'Beatific vision' page, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.]

Above: Bowman sees various patterns of bright white light while in the stargate, thus indicating that he is experiencing the beatific vision.

The beatific vision (Latin: visio beatifica) – in Christian theology is the ultimate direct self communication of God to the individual person, when she or he reaches, as a member of redeemed humanity in the communion of saints, perfect salvation in its entirety, i.e. heaven. The notion of vision stresses the intellectual component of salvation, though it encompasses the whole of human experience of joy, happiness coming from seeing God finally face to face and not imperfectly through faith (1 Cor 13:11–12).

It is related to the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox belief in theosis, and is seen in most – if not all – church denominations as the reward for Christians in the afterlife.

While humans' understanding of God while alive is indirect (mediation/prayer, not actually looking at Him), the beatific vision is direct (immediate, visual), or literally, seeing God. In other words, the beatific vision means a soul is actually looking at God, as is, viewing Him without any sort of censorship like that depicted by the prophet Isaiah.

History of the beatific vision
In Christianity, the bible teaches that God "dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has even seen or can see" (1 Timothy 6:16), but when God reveals Himself to us in heaven we will then see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; Matthew 5:8; Psalms 17:15). This concept has been termed "the beatific vision of God" by theologians of the Catholic Church, as well as various Protestant denominations, including the Lutheran Church and the Methodist Church.

In the philosophy of Plato, the beatific vision is the vision of the Good.

The vedic concept of having a visual perception of God is generically called Darshan.

Sunni Islam also has the idea of beatific vision. The Qur'an speaks of believers seeing Allah in paradise.[a]

a. Wikipedia, 'Beatific vision'. Web, n.d. URL = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatific_vision.


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