Christ’s Beatific Vision from the moment of His Incarnation


“Petavius (De Incarnatione, I, xii, c. 4) maintains that there is no controversy among theologians, or even among Christians, as to the fact that the soul of Jesus Christ was endowed with the beatific vision from the beginning of its existence.”[1]

Catholic teaching holds that Christ our Lord saw the Divine Essence of God in His created soul from the first instant of His Incarnation. As an act of condensation, Christ prevented the glory of this vision from overflowing to His sacred body. He only allowed this to happen once before His resurrection – at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor. Christ also prevented the glory of His beatific vision from overflowing to the lower faculties of His soul so that He might experience sorrow and pain, as in the His dolorous Passion (Summa theologiae III, q. 13, a. 5).

The Catholic belief that the blessed shall enjoy the Beatific Vision follows from the fact that Christ enjoys the Beatific Vision in His soul. By being perfectly conformed to Christ, the blessing of what Saint Paul calls being “in Him”, we share in His inheritance.

I’d be interested in whether the Byzantine tradition also holds that Christ saw the Divine Essence of God in His created soul.

[1] Maas, A. (1910). Knowledge of Jesus Christ. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 13, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08675a.htm

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  • Alfred

    Modern biblical scholars and theologians including Raymond Brown and Karl Rahner do not accept the teaching that Jesus had the Beatific Vision.  A good article is in the book Catholicism by Father Richard p. McBrien, who was chairman of the Dept. of Theology at Notre Dame. If Jesus had the BV he would have been perfectly happy and therefore incapable of true sorrow or pain as expressed in the Gospels.  The Gospels indicate ignorance on the part of Jesus.  As Cyril of Alexandria said, “We have admired his goodness in that for love of us he has not refused to descend to such a low position as to bear all that belongs to our nature, included in which is ignorance.”  Once more a very outdated opinion by an ultra-conservative who would refer to papal statements which are not infallible and based on medieval speculation.

Christ’s Beatific Vision from the moment of His Incarnation


“Petavius (De Incarnatione, I, xii, c. 4) maintains that there is no controversy among theologians, or even among Christians, as to the fact that the soul of Jesus Christ was endowed with the beatific vision from the beginning of its existence.”[1]

Catholic teaching holds that Christ our Lord saw the Divine Essence of God in His created soul from the first instant of His Incarnation. As an act of condensation, Christ prevented the glory of this vision from overflowing to His sacred body. He only allowed this to happen once before His resurrection – at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor. Christ also prevented the glory of His beatific vision from overflowing to the lower faculties of His soul so that He might experience sorrow and pain, as in the His dolorous Passion (Summa theologiae III, q. 13, a. 5).

The Catholic belief that the blessed shall enjoy the Beatific Vision follows from the fact that Christ enjoys the Beatific Vision in His soul. By being perfectly conformed to Christ, the blessing of what Saint Paul calls being “in Him”, we share in His inheritance.

I’d be interested in whether the Byzantine tradition also holds that Christ saw the Divine Essence of God in His created soul.

[1] Maas, A. (1910). Knowledge of Jesus Christ. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved April 13, 2009 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08675a.htm

Download My Book for Free
Thomas Aquinas in 50 Pages
Over 15,000 copies downloaded! This is a quick and easy way to learn the basic philosophy and theology of Saint Thomas Aquinas. The Popes of the last 300 years have endorsed St Thomas Aquinas. Learn more through this accessible resources. Download it for free.

Comments Policy: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. If your comment contains a hyperlink to another site, your comment automatically goes into "Comments Purgatory" where it waits for release by way of moderation.

  • Alfred

    Modern biblical scholars and theologians including Raymond Brown and Karl Rahner do not accept the teaching that Jesus had the Beatific Vision.  A good article is in the book Catholicism by Father Richard p. McBrien, who was chairman of the Dept. of Theology at Notre Dame. If Jesus had the BV he would have been perfectly happy and therefore incapable of true sorrow or pain as expressed in the Gospels.  The Gospels indicate ignorance on the part of Jesus.  As Cyril of Alexandria said, “We have admired his goodness in that for love of us he has not refused to descend to such a low position as to bear all that belongs to our nature, included in which is ignorance.”  Once more a very outdated opinion by an ultra-conservative who would refer to papal statements which are not infallible and based on medieval speculation.