Augustine: God Will Be All in All

1 May 2024 by Wes Bredenhof

In heaven, all glory will be true glory, since no one could ever err in praising too little or too much. True honor will never be denied where due, never be given where undeserved, and, since none but the worthy are permitted there, no one will unworthily ambition glory. Perfect peace will reign, since nothing in ourselves or in any others could disturb this peace. The promised reward of virtue will be the best and the greatest of all possible prizes — the very Giver of virtue Himself, for that is what the Prophet meant: ‘I will be your God and you shall be my people.’ God will be the source of every satisfaction, more than any heart can rightly crave, more than life and health, food and wealth, glory and honor, peace and every good — so that God, as St. Paul said, ‘may be all in all.’ He will be the consummation of our desiring — the object of our unending vision, of our unlessening love, of our unwearying praise. And in this gift of vision, this response of love, this paean of praise, all alike will share, all will will share in everlasting life.

Augustine, The City of God 22.30

That’s such a beautiful explanation of what it means that in the end God will be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). A couple of explanatory comments, lest anyone be confused. First, when he says that “none but the worthy are permitted there,” we should think of our worth in Christ. If we are in him now through faith, we will be worthy to be there. Second, when Augustine says this is something that “all alike will share,” he doesn’t mean everyone is going to heaven. He means that it’s something all Christians will share. Augustine was not a universalist.