“How good is God,” wrote Jonathan Edwards, “that he has created man for this very end, to make him happy in the enjoyment of himself, the Almighty, who was happy from the days of eternity in himself … that he might make them blessed in the beholding of his excellency, and might this way glorify himself.”
A more profound sentence can hardly be found outside of the Bible. That we were created to enjoy God now and for all eternity is a profound discovery only out-profounded by the discovery that God delights in himself and has delighted in himself for eternity.
Wading into these waters is Jonathan Edwards scholar Kyle Strobel. In his new book Jonathan Edwards’s Theology: A Reinterpretation (T&T Clark, 2013) he writes, “[Jonathan] Edwards depicts God’s life as the mutual beholding of infinite beauty. God created humanity that another being might partake in God’s goodness and delight” (151).
This beatific vision — of the Father beholding and delighting in the Son for all eternity — is both profound eternal reality of God’s triune nature, and it’s also an open door for adopted children of God as we anticipate the day we feast our eyes and souls on the person of Christ for ourselves (1 John 3:2). This beatific beauty of God changes everything about theology, how we live our lives now as Christians, and what we anticipate forever in eternity.
And it’s the subject of the new Authors on the Line podcast with Strobel [get the transcript here (PDF)].