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Topic: Theosis

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Monday, December 28, 2009


I disagree on the means of attaining Theosis mentioned below in that, without being a partaker of the Divine Nature via the Eucharist (and possibly Apostalic Baptism) Theosis will never be achieved or the world will be full of people who have made the leap to divinity.

Further, the article does not point out that some Eastern Christian's believe it is possible to achieve Theosis in this life. This is, assuredly, how the Apostle John achieved immortality which the reader can see in my post Son of Thunder which I will probably place on this blog after this post.

Editor's Note : December 30, 2009 : I believe that my change will actually be a result of partaking of the Eucharist in the Byzantine Catholic Church, where I was charismated May 31 on Pentecost of this year, followed by that received in the Roman Catholic Church since that time all combined with receiving the Eucharist in the Greek Orthodox Church in El Dorado south of Santa Fe which I hope to accomplish very soon. These three combined would, in a sense, make up the three main branches on the Menorah of Seven Candled Church. It would appear to me that the Catholic and Orthodox Churches are the Two Olive Branches that feed the Candlestick in Zechariah supported by Paul comparing the Church to Wild Olive Branches (also the name of the current Pope per the Malachi Prophecies). Thus, in theory, my change should start just after that.

Wikipedia : Theosis : In Christian theology, particularly in Eastern Orthodox theology, theosis (written also: theiosis, theopoiesis, theōsis; Greek: Θέωσις, meaning divinization, deification, or making divine) is the process of transformation of a believer who is putting into practise (called praxis) the spiritual teachings of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

In particular, theosis refers to the attainment of likeness to or union with God, that is the final stage of this process of transformation and is as such the goal of the spiritual life. Theosis is the third of three stages; the first being purification (katharsis) and the second illumination (theoria). By means of purification a person comes to illumination and then sainthood.

Sainthood is the participation of the person in the life of God. According to this doctrine, the holy life of God, given in Jesus Christ to the believer through the Holy Spirit, is expressed through the three stages of theosis, beginning in the struggles of this life, which increases in the experience of the believer through the knowledge of God, and is later consummated in the resurrection of the believer, when the power of sin and death, having been fully overcome by the atonement of Jesus, will lose hold over the believer forever. This conception of salvation is historical and foundational for Christian understanding in both the East and the West.

St. Athanasius of Alexandria wrote, "God became man so that man might become god." [the second god is always lowercase] (On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B). His statement is an apt description of the doctrine. What would otherwise seem absurd—that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy—has been made possible through Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of theosis: it is not possible for any created being to become (ontologically) God, or even part of God (the henosis of Greek Neoplatonic philosophy).[1]

Through theoria, the contemplation of the triune God, human beings come to know and experience what it means to be fully human (the created image of God); through their communion with Jesus Christ, God shares Himself with the human race, in order to conform them to all that He is in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. As God became human, in all ways except sin, He will also make humans god, in all ways except his divine essence. St Irenaeus explained this doctrine in Against Heresies, Book 5, in the Preface, "the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through his transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself."

St. Maximus the Confessor wrote, "A sure warrant for looking forward with hope to deification of human nature is provided by the incarnation of God, which makes man god to the same degree as God himself became man.... Let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods. For it is clear that He who became man without sin (cf. Heb. 4:15) will divinize human nature without changing it into the divine nature, and will raise it up for his own sake to the same degree as He lowered himself for man's sake. This is what St Paul teaches mystically when he says, '...that in the ages to come he might display the overflowing richness of His grace' (Eph. 2:7)."(page 178 PHILOKALIA Volume II)

For many fathers, theosis goes beyond simply restoring people to their state before the Fall of Adam and Eve, teaching that because Christ united the human and divine natures in Jesus's person, it is now possible for someone to experience closer fellowship with God than Adam and Eve initially experienced in the Garden of Eden, and that people can become more like God than Adam and Eve were at that time. Some Orthodox theologians go so far as to say that Jesus would have become incarnate for this reason alone, even if Adam and Eve had never sinned.[2]

All of humanity is fully restored to the full potential of humanity because the Son of God took to himself a human nature to be born of a woman, and takes to himself also the sufferings due to sin (yet is not himself sinful, and is God unchanged in being). In Christ the two natures of God and human are not two persons but one; thus a union is effected in Christ between all of humanity in principle and God. So the holy God and sinful humanity are reconciled in principle in the one sinless man, Jesus Christ. (See Jesus's prayer as recorded in John 17.)

This reconciliation is made actual through the struggle (podvig in Russian) to conform to the image of Christ. Without the struggle, the praxis, there is no real faith; faith leads to action, without which it is dead. One must unite will, thought, and action to God's will, his thoughts, and his actions. A person must fashion his life to be a mirror, a true likeness of God. More than that, since God and humanity are more than a similarity in Christ but rather a true union, Christians' lives are more than mere imitation and are rather a union with the life of God himself: so that the one who is working out salvation is united with God working within the penitent both to will and to do that which pleases God. Gregory Palamas affirmed the possibility of humanity's union with God in his energies, while also affirming that because of God's transcendence and utter otherness, it is impossible for any person or other creature to know or to be united with God's essence. Yet through faith we can attain phronema, an understanding of the faith of the Church. A common analogy for theosis, given by the Greek fathers, is that of a metal which is put into the fire. The metal obtains all the properties of the fire (heat, light), while its essence remains that of a metal. Using the head-body analogy from St Paul, every man in whom Christ lives partakes of the glory of Christ. As St John Chrysostom observes, "where the head is, the body is also; for by no means is the head separated from the body; for if it were indeed separated, there would not be a body and there would not be a head".

The journey towards theosis includes many forms of praxis. Living in the community of the church and partaking regularly of the sacraments, and especially the Eucharist, is taken for granted. Also important is cultivating "prayer of the heart", and prayer that never ceases, as Paul exhorts the Thessalonians (1 and 2). This unceasing prayer of the heart is a dominant theme in the writings of the Fathers, especially in those collected in the Philokalia. The "doer" in deification is the Holy Spirit, with whom the human being joins his will to receive this transforming grace by praxis and prayer. This synergeia or co-operation between God and Man does not lead to mankind being absorbed into the God as was taught in earlier pagan forms of deification like Henosis. Rather it expresses unity, in the complementary nature between the created and the creator.

-- Edited by Theoferrum on Tuesday 19th of December 2017 07:38:13 PM


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