The apostle John once wrote to the church and made a bold promise: “Beloved we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). What does John mean when he says the Christian will see God? Older theologians referred to this doctrine as the beatific vision. Although often overlooked by evangelicals, the beatific appears everywhere in the New Testament as the Christian’s most blessed hope and source of everlasting happiness and holiness. For this reason, the Great Tradition pursued the beatific vision to better understand the goal of theology and the Christian’s spiritual ascent to God.
In this episode, Reformed theologian Michael Allen joins Matthew Barrett to discuss why the beatific vision is essential to our doctrine of God, the Christian life, and eschatology.
Michael Allen serves as the John Dyer Trimble Professor of Systematic Theology and Academic Dean of Reformed Theology Seminary in Orlando. Previously, he taught at Knox Theological Seminary, where he held the D. James Kennedy Chair of Systematic Theology and also served as Dean of the Faculty. He has published many academic articles and books, including Justification and the Gospel: Understanding the Contexts and Controversies, Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval in Theology and Biblical Interpretation (with Scott R. Swain), Sanctification, a volume in the New Studies in Dogmatics series, and Grounded in Heaven: Recentering Christian Hope and Life in God.
Matthew Barrett is the author of Simply Trinity: The Unmanipulated Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Baker). He is the founder and executive editor of Credo Magazine and host of the Credo podcast. He is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.