Astoundingly, and only by the grace of God, we enter the glorious presence of God every time we gather for corporate worship (Heb. 12:18–29). Furthermore, although the Lord has His own glory that He will not give to others (Isa. 48:11), He has also created human beings in His image to reveal something of His glory to the rest of creation (Gen. 1:26–27). None of this means, however, that we have yet had a full experience or vision of divine glory. That day is coming, for in the final resurrection and consummation we will see God and His glory in its fullness (1 John 3:2).
The Bible promises us the beatific vision, the direct vision of God and His glory, but it does not give us a full picture of what that will be like. We do know that the resurrection of the body into a spiritual body—one glorified by the Holy Spirit, with the presence and effects of sin removed—will be necessary for the fullness of the vision of God to occur. First Corinthians 15:35–56, as we have seen recently, is the most comprehensive passage on the resurrected body in all Scripture, but it is interesting that it does not give us a lot of information on what our resurrected bodies will be like. We can see that while there will be discontinuity between our bodies now and our resurrected bodies, there will also be continuity. Resurrection involves the continuation, in some sense, of what we have now. Christian salvation is not ultimately salvation from the body, or the escape of the soul permanently from the body, as the ancient Greeks looked for. Instead, it is the salvation of the body, the purification and transformation of what we possess now so that it will be free from the ravages of sin and fit to live in God’s presence forever.
In our glorified state, we will see God face-to-face (see also 1 Cor. 13:12). But how will that be possible, given that the Lord is invisible and thus cannot be seen with our physical eyes (1 Tim. 1:17)? Here, again, Scripture does not give us a full explanation. Over the centuries, theologians have suggested how this might be possible. Jonathan Edwards said that perhaps the vision of God will be an immediate apprehension of Him by our minds. That is, there is nothing in the Bible that says the Lord could not bypass our eyes so that we have a direct encounter with Him using our minds and their capacities. Whether that will be the case, we do not know, but we do know that we will see God, and that the vision of Him will fully satisfy our deepest longings forever.