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Seeing God
The Beatific Vision in Christian Tradition
Hans Boersma
Foreword by Andrew Louth

HARDCOVER; Published: 7/24/2018
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7604-1
Price: $ 55.00
487 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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To see God is our heart’s desire, our final purpose in life. But what does it mean to see God? And exactly how do we see God—with our physical eyes or with the mind’s eye? In this informed study of the beatific vision, Hans Boersma focuses on “vision” as a living metaphor and shows how the vision of God is not just a future but a present reality. 

Seeing God is both a historical theology and a dogmatic articulation of the beatific vision, of how the invisible God becomes visible to us. In examining what Christian thinkers throughout history have written about the beatific vision, Boersma explores how God trains us to see his character by transforming our eyes and minds, highlighting continuity from this world to the next. Christ-centered, sacramental, and ecumenical, Boersma’s work presents life as a never-ending journey toward seeing the face of God in Christ both here and in the world to come.

Christianity Today 2019 Book Award for Theology/Ethics
David Bentley Hart
— author of Atheist Delusions and The Beauty of the Infinite
“Hans Boersma’s Seeing God is the most significant and theologically comprehensive treatment of this topic in English since Kenneth Kirk’s classic The Vision of God. And, far more than Kirk, Boersma provides the invaluable service of breaking down the barriers (mostly barriers of misconception) separating differing Christian traditions, East and West, Orthodox and Catholic and Protestant. This is theological reflection of the most illuminating kind.”
Simon Oliver
— Durham University
“Christian theology has traditionally identified the beatific vision as the ultimate end of humanity. But what does it mean to ‘see God’? How can we pursue such an end if it is beyond our understanding? Building on his exemplary ‘sacramental ontology,’ Hans Boersma here offers us a ‘sacramental teleology’ in which the end of humanity—the visio Dei—is revealed sacramentally within the created order. A profound and important work.”
Janet Soskice
— University of Cambridge
“Only Hans Boersma could write this book. With a superb command of the Scriptures and of the Reformed, Protestant, and Catholic traditions, he revisits the neglected topic of beatific vision and reminds us what it is to see God in Christ. An energizing book from one of today’s best theologians.”
Michael McClymond
— Saint Louis University
Seeing God is a subtle yet sustained polemic against the notion that the Christian eschaton is simply an improved version of the universe as we know it, and that Christian Platonists—Nyssen, Augustine, Dante, Jonathan Edwards, C. S. Lewis—were all wrongheadedly otherworldly. Boersma’s breviary for sacramental ontology, advocating a more ‘vertical’ kind of theology and spirituality, deserves consideration among so-called Christian materialists and contemporary proponents of the ‘renewed cosmos’ approach to eschatology.”
John Milbank
— University of Nottingham
“Hans Boersma’s Seeing God provides a richly comprehensive historical account of theologies of the beatific vision. But it also successfully mediates between the Nyssen account of eternal progress into God and the Thomist account of an eternal finality, and it properly modifies Aquinas by insisting that the final vision will be one achieved essentially and not accidentally in the resurrected body. This is a wonderful achievement.”
Ephraim Radner
— Wycliffe College
“This is a striking manifesto, in the form of a gentle, subtle, moving, and encyclopedic tour through the church’s long reflection on our final destiny of gazing upon God’s face given in Christ. Boersma eloquently unveils the powerful truth that we are made in our bones to thirst for such a vision and that the ordering of our lives is properly geared toward this end.”
Lydia Schumacher
— King’s College London
“The doctrine of the beatific vision, the final vision of God, has been sidelined in some recent theological discussions. In this rich and exciting study Hans Boersma restores the appreciation of its centrality that was common in earlier Christian traditions. He invites us to engage in the ultimate adventure of our lives—to become who God made us to be and thereby come to know God in ways that anticipate the vision of him in his fullness. A wonderful and supremely worthwhile feat.”
Southwestern Journal of Theology
“All in all, in creating a resource tracing the doctrine of the beatific vision through the ages, Boersma does an excellent job of tracing the beatific vision from the pre-Christian era with Plato and Plotinus through the post-Reformation era with Johnathan Edwards.”
The Living Church
“We would do well to join Boersma in the hopeful pursuit of our ultimate end.”
“Boersma has succeeded in the task he set himself: to re-articulate the beatific vision in a ‘Christological, God-focused’ way with an ecumenical and sacramental core.”
Scottish Journal of Theology
Seeing God is historical theology of the first order.”
Evangelical Quarterly
“This work will benefit the professional theologian and historian the most, as Boersma
not only summarizes historical thought but actively engages with current discussions
on these historical figures, as well as on the beatific vision generally. However, this work will also benefit any person interested in learning more about the beatific vision, especially those interested in how Christians have historically articulated it.”