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CHAPTER LIHow God is seen as He essentially is

AS shown above (Chap. XLIX), the divine substance cannot be seen by the intellect in any created presentation. Hence, if God’s essence is to be seen, the intelligence must see it in the divine essence itself, so that in such vision the divine essence shall be at once the object which is seen and that whereby it is seen.604604At once the objectum quod and the objectum quo, the Aristotelian ὅ and ᾧ See B. II, Chap. LXXV, reply 2.

This is the immediate vision of God that is promised us in Scripture: We see now in a glass darkly, but then face to face (i Cor. xiii, 2): a text absurd to take in a corporeal sense, as though we could imagine a bodily face in Deity itself, whereas it has been shown that God is incorporeal (B. I, Chap. XX). Nor again is it possible for us with our bodily face to see God, since the bodily sense of sight, implanted in our face, can be only of bodily things. Thus then shalt we see God face to face, in that we shall have an immediate vision of Him, as of a man whom we see face to face. By this vision we are singularly assimilated to God, and are partakers in His happiness: for this is His happiness, that He essentially understands His own substance. Hence it is said: When He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John iii, 2). And the Lord said: I prepare for you as my Father hath prepared for me a kingdom, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom (Luke xxii, 29). This cannot be understood of bodily meat and drink, but of that food which is taken at the table of Wisdom, whereof it is said by Wisdom: Eat ye my bread and drink the wine that I have mingled for you (Prov. ix, 5). They therefore eat and drink at the table of God, who enjoy the same happiness wherewith God is happy, seeing Him in the way which He sees Himself.


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