Beatific Sight and Education

Beatific Sight and Education

It is interesting to ponder the memories and knowledge that we have integrated into our worldview and retain in our permanent memory.  I still remember many things from classes taught more than two decades ago by Dr. Shuta.  He constantly challenged us with new information that woke our imagination and required us to think.  In his systematic theology class we had a discussion on beatific vision, which the redeemed will enjoy in heaven.  It is “a term denoting the blessed state of the glorified saints in heaven, where they behold the glory of the Lord and enjoy perfect and sinless communion with Him.”[1] C. Stephen Evans writes concerning beatific vision that “many religious philosophers have taken the Beatific Vision to be the supreme good that all humans seek, whether they know it or not.”[2]

True education seeks to develop knowledge that is dynamic, that grows, develops and makes connections to all other truth.  As I was thinking about beatific vision, I thought of the words of the Apostle John who wrote,  “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2, NKJV). Here the ultimate purpose of humanity is as seeing Christ as He truly is.  There is also a principle here that to the level that Christ is revealed to us that we become like Him. Generally speaking, the current Christian worldview restricts this knowing to a personal experience of God’s grace, and in better circles, to the revelation of Christ through special revelation (the scriptures).  Classical Christian education seeks to restore the tradition that built Western Civilization, which includes the conviction that Christ is also revealed through general revelation.  In other words, Christ is revealed in nature as Creator and in history as Lord. It is a tradition that sees divine purpose, meaning and design in all of life.  Whenever someone begins to experience Christ revealed through general revelation, education becomes an exciting exploration of the character and nature of God.  As scripture says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10, NKJV).

I was fascinated when I learned that certain monks referred to themselves as white martyrs, hoping someday to exchange their white martyrdom for red martyrdom.  They saw themselves as living witnesses who were willing to lay down their lives for the testimony of Christ.  At the Society for Classical learning conference this summer, I learned that they also had a term called “green martyrdom”.  What happened is that Irish monks preserved classical learning because they found Christ revealed through it by general revelation.  They discovered that the development of the intellect and of skills such as logic and rhetoric develops the image of God in man.  Eventually they realized that this great education must be shared with the world, so they went throughout Europe founding monasteries that included schools which educated Europe in the seven liberal arts.  This was called the green martyrdom because they were growing the revelation of Christ in the earth as Europe received an education that revealed Christ to them through both special and general revelation. They planted the garden of God in the barren desert of human depravity and ignorance.

One of the goals of Fortis Academy is for our children to see Christ through both general and special revelation, and as they do, to become more like Jesus.  Another goal is for our students to become green martyrs who reconnect with the great tradition passed down to us through Western Civilization.

[1] Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms (Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002), 66.

[2] C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), 16.