The Transformation of Our Face
What began as faith, becomes sight
Picture yourself sitting on a park bench, something steals your attention from across the pond, an indistinct figure moving in your direction. There’s something familiar in the stride, the way the arms swing, the silhouette. Each step is like the turning of a focal ring on a vintage camera—slowly you get more definition, the face focuses, and then: your eyes meet. And the roundness of their smile tells you not only who the person is to you—but who you are to them. The corner of your lips lift, their smile becomes yours.
This is a little of what I think the beatific vision is like, a friendly face coming into focus. What began blurry in this world becomes crisp in the next, what began as faith, becomes sight.
And the beatific vision is not just about seeing Christ’s face, though, that’s gift enough. It’s about the transformation of our face. “We know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 Jn 3:2).”
We will see Him because we are like Him.
He has been healing our vision since we first put our feet upon the way. But it’s not just healing in the next world.
We will see Christ’s resurrected face because we have resurrected eyes. This is the transformation we’ve been waiting for, a new physicality that doesn’t reject the old but recasts it into something fresh, a supernatural union of spirit and flesh, a miracle marriage of body and soul.
Where there was duplicity, now there is unity.
Where there was rivalry, now synergy—a combined strength greater than before, creative power to see the unseeable. New eyes—poised, steadied, ready for infinite vistas. In the words of Hans Boersma, “what makes the beatific vision glorious is that the soul revels with increasing intensity and intimacy in the infinite, ever-greater gift-giving of the invisible God who in Christ has made himself visible.”
It’s almost impossible to imagine, we’re going to see the face of Jesus. And I don’t mean something ethereal, but a face of beard and bone. God’s choice to become one of us was not a temporary incarnation, but a permanent one.
Emmanuel does not mean God visits us. It means God with us.
He will forever manifest Himself through the resurrected humanness of Jesus. And this, I believe, was the divine plan from the very beginning. “Even had there been no fall,” Kallistos Ware writes, “God in his own limitless, outgoing love would still have chosen to identify himself with his creation by becoming man.”
The Incarnation is not just about God rescuing us, it’s about God relating to us. It’s about God revealing His innermost nature. It’s about God communicating to us. This is what He says:
I became like you, will you become like me?
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