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Beatific vision

Beatific vision is the vision of God granted to the redeemed when reaching heaven. The term is mainly found in Catholic theology. It was much debated in the later Middle Ages. Benedict XII (1316) declared the blessed in heaven “see the Essence by an intuitive vision and face to face, so that the Divine Essence is known immediately, showing itself clearly, plainly, and openly, and not mediated through any creature.” Defined another way, the created intelligence, man, beholds God face to face in heaven and visualizes the immediate knowledge of God, which is impossible on earth, and receives perfect happiness called the beatific vision. According to Thomas Aquinas this beatific vision was briefly granted to by Moses and Paul in this life.

In Islam the vision of God is the culminating experience of the rewarded in heaven, though the impossibility of seeing God directly is defended by affirming that a general manifestation of God is interpreted in the forms of habitual devotion. A.G.H.


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Bowker, John. ed. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. New York. Oxford University Press. 1997. p. 133 Thomas Aquinas. <>.