I just received an advance copy of Kyle’s new book on the Christian life, Formed for the Glory of God: Learning from the Spiritual Practices of Jonathan Edwards. Kyle is quickly becoming one of the most well-respected and prolific contributors to the study of Jonathan Edwards’ thought. Last summer I reviewed his edition of Edwards’ Charity and Its Fruits that goes a long way toward making an important work of Edwards on love more easily accessible (read my interview with Kyle here and a review here). This new book is an immensely readable vision of the Christian life that draws throughout on the wisdom of Jonathan Edwards. I will be blogging through it chapter by chapter in the coming weeks.
In Chapter 1, Kyle paints a portrait of the goal toward which the Christian Life is drawn: the beatific vision. “Life is a pilgrimage of faith that dissolves into sight,” he writes. “That sight is the beatific vision.” Seeing God transcends merely visual perception. As Kyle points out, “To see God is to become like God” for in seeing God we come to know him in fullness.
Truly seeing God is grasping him as the highest good, truth and beauty. It is having your eyes opened and taking in the reality of who he is. It is receiving the love of God in full and having God as the object of your own love. As Henry Scougal notes, ‘The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.’ What you love is the true north that orients the compass of your heart. In heaven, God the Father is the true north of every soul, oriented by Christ and set into motion by the Spirit of God
[The beatific vision] happifies because it fulfills the purpose of human persons – to know God and love him. It is the culmination of salvation where God pulls his children to himself and communes with them for eternity (pp. 25, 27).