Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Beatific Vision

In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."  The greatest blessing and joy of the eternal state is that we shall be able to gaze continually on the perfect glory of God.  We might say that this is the essence of Heaven and the essence of life.  Theologians sometimes call this the Beatific Vision for it is the most beautiful sight possible.  Jesus elaborates further in John 17 when he says that true life is to know God.  Later he prays that the ultimate goal of our salvation be realized by the Father allowing us to gaze on his glory, Joh 17:24  "Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world."   Our salvation will end up with us entering into the very fellowship of the Godhead!

It is very clear as we read such passages in the Bible that God sees himself as the ultimate prize for mankind.  If one is going to have and experience true life and total satisfaction and joy it will be in having not only peace with God but intimate fellowship with him.

Now what struck me as I was preaching this the other Sunday was how different this is from man made religions and in particular Islam.  There we are told that if we perform certain "holy" acts like murdering innocent people or what ever, we will have a special reward in heaven; 72 virgins.  To me this says a lot about Allah.  First of all it makes it pretty clear that this is not God's word but instead some man's word.  It doesn't focus on God or Allah but humanity and in particular half of humanity, males and their lusts.

But more than that it is a clear, although accidental, statement that Allah is no prize himself!  He is not the reason and reward but 72 females.  Eternity is not about enjoying God but satisfying your own lusts with sex slaves.  Regardless of what else Islam might teach of Heaven they make a fatal error that their god is not the God of the Bible.  I rejoice to know that our God is Holy and Wonderful and Glorious to the point that he and he alone will make Heaven a state of eternal bliss.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Nathan - that is just so spot on. How much more antithetical could it be? It is this kind of picture that needs to be drawn when people say "we all worship the same God". Not quite!