Thomas Aquinas defined the beatific vision as the human being's "final end" in which one attains to a perfect happiness. Aquinas reasons that one is perfectly happy only when all one's desires are perfectly satisfied, to the degree that happiness could not increase and could not be lost.
"Man is not perfectly happy, so long as something remains for him to desire and seek."STh I–II, q., 3, a. 8.
But this kind of perfect happiness cannot be found in any physical pleasure, any amount of worldly power, any degree of temporal fame or honor, or indeed in any finite reality. It can only be found in something that is infinite and perfect – and this is God. STh I–II, q. 2, a. 8.
And since God is not a material thing but is pure spirit, we are united to God by knowing and loving him. Consequently, the most perfect union with God is the most perfect human happiness and the goal of the whole of the human life. But we cannot attain to this happiness by our own natural powers; it is a gift that must be given to us by God, who strengthens us by the "light of glory" so that we can see him as he is, without any intermediary. (Thomas quotes Psalm 35:10 on this point:
"In your light we shall see light.")STh I, q. 12, a. 4.
Further, since every created image or likeness of God (including even the most perfect "ideas" or "images" of God we might generate in our minds) is necessarily finite, it would thus be infinitely less than God himself.STh I, q. 12, a. 2.
The only perfect and infinite good, therefore, is God himself, which is why Aquinas argues that our perfect happiness and final end can only be the direct union with God himself and not with any created image of him. This union comes about by a kind of "seeing" perfectly the divine essence itself, a gift given to our intellects when God joins them directly to himself without any intermediary. And since in seeing this perfect vision of what (and who) God is, we grasp also his perfect goodness, this act of "seeing" is at the same time a perfect act of loving God as the highest and infinite goodness"
- Wikipedia 'Beatific Vision'.
Is this largely accepted in the 'present' or are there other popular philosophies of theology that combat this?