Friday, December 5, 2014

"City of God" XXII.29

Chapter 29:
So what sorts of things go on in heaven with our glorified lives (both body and soul)? "To tell the truth, I have no real notion of what eternal life will be like, for the simple reason that I know of no sensible experience to which it can be related." To be sure, we are to share in the peace of God, but what does that mean? "We are to receive, within ourselves and in our relations to one another and to God, a supreme degree of peace--whatever that supreme degree for us may be." Anything we can say about heaven is not what we see, it is what we believe. We know that the saints will dwell in the blessed presence of God, but it's hard to say exactly what that means. Will we be able to open or close our eyes? If we close them, do we stop seeing God? The Bible suggests that this seeing is a "heart" seeing, but what does that mean?
When we speak of eyes in heaven having a more powerful vision, we do not mean the kind of sharper sight which snakes and eagles are said to have. For, however keen such animal vision may be, it is limited to material objects. What is mean is that in heaven eyes can see realities that are immaterial.
This vision, however, will not be a vision that rests on our own inherent abilities--however purified and glorified these abilities may be. If this were the case, we would be able to see something of God here and now through our best and greatest available tool--philosophy. Yet, philosophy is not really "our most certain source of knowledge." Our knowledge of God comes only through "the light of reality and of Divine Revelation."
But what exactly is the relation of this to our physical and spiritual eyes? Well, that's hard to say. Augustine walks through a couple of options, but reminds us that at the end of the day it doesn't matter. What matters most will be our standing directly in the delightful presence of God.

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