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"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
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Who Said That?

"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)."

Leave your guess in the comments section below.  Please, no google searches or cheating.  Answer to follow in one week.

Reader Comments (19)

Alexander Schmemann
May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRaymond Coffey
Sounds like Mormon doctrine. I'll guess Brigham Young
May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaul L.
Marcus Borg?
May 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCoyle
"Alexander Schmemann":

Had to google him. Ja, sounds like (if I understand it correctly) the big-O Orthodox notion of theosis.
May 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenter"lee n. field"
May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStan McCullars
Someone who lived after Athanasius, but before Thomas Aquinas.

"This excellent union with God is taught us, according to the unanimous explanation of the holy Fathers, by St Peter when he writes that, by the very great promises God has made us by Jesus Christ, we may be made partakers of the Divine Nature. (2 Peter 1:4) In other words, St Peter teaches that the prerogatives which are above all created nature and proper only to the divinity are, as far as possible, communicated to us creatures."

Matthias J Scheeben, "The Glories of Divine Grace"
May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Finney
"The sinner desires - as did our first parents, and the devil himself - "to be as God." In truth, God Himself wills that we should be as He, but not without Him, not outside Him, not in opposition to Him. God does not will that we should make ourselves as other gods, to adore ourselves and to be adored. God wills it to be through Himself and in union with Him . . . 'I will be like the Most High,' said Lucifer, when he considered the beauty and glory with which God had adorned him. (Isaish 14:14) He blasphemed God by speaking thus, because he wished to possess this glory independently of God. But we cannot praise God more, or render Him more acceptable thanks, than by confessing that He will make us similar to Himself by His grace. Our Savior Himself says: 'Be you therfore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.' (Matthew 5:48) This is to be understood primarily of moral perfection, but from all that we have said, it may be interpreted to mean also that we shall participate in the other perfections of God."

Matthias J Scheeben "The Glories of Divine Grace"
May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Finney
"...He who became man without sin (cf. Heb. 4:15) will divinize human nature without changing it into the divine nature..."

Huh? How does human nature become divinized without also becoming divine?
May 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
This smacks of Joseph Smith.
May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike
Maybe Joseph Smith (don't know his writing style at all though even though I live in mini-Mormonland) or maybe Origen?
May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
No it doesn't smake of Joseph Smith, unless of course Horton's last book which explicatesin part the Orthodox view of deification does too. (which it doesn't)

To answer Zrim, for the Orthodox, one takes on divine powers, which are not the same thing as the divine essence. No one becomes deity by essence, contra the LDS, in Orthodox thinking. In Orthodox theology, this is known as the distinction between essence and activity or energy. We become deified by grace in the divine energies. They are things like love, faith, hope, but also things like immortality.
May 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPerry Robinson
Athanasius describing theosis?
June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKen Rapoza
"What is essential and substantial in God, exists as a quality superadded to nature in the soul which participates by grace in the divine love."

Thomas Aquinas
June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Finney
Perry, thanks.

That seems like a handy distinction, but it raises more questions than it seems to answer, at least to my Reformed mind situated as it is on such categorical distinction like Creator/creature distinction, deification/glorification, etc.: How does one have divine power without also having divine essence? Insofar as my human power seems to necessarily flow from my human essence, so wouldn't divine power signal divine essence?
June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Hey Zrim,

The Orthodox essence/energies distinction is their way of upholding the Creator/creature distinction, while explaining how we become "partakers of the divine nature." (2Pet 1:4). They don't want to say that we access or attain the divine essence which belongs to God alone. What they also want to avoid is that the creature only has access to what is created and never to the uncreated; so our participation is with the uncreated energies: asymptotically approaching but never attaining the essence of God.

Their notion of "deification" is arguably more akin to our notion of sanctification and glorification than to the Mormon or Shirley McLean versions. It's also been argued that the essence/energies distinction helps Eastern Orthodoxy from falling into some of the extremes of Western Mysticism. We may want to phrase things differently, but we might allow that in some regards, they might be on to something. After all, doesn't the doctrine of the Trinity also raise more questions than it seems to answer?
June 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDarren


Yes, trinitarianism certainly does raise more questions than it answers. However, I think the implication, again to my Reformed outlook, is that we rest in mystery instead of plumb to expain it (Dt. 29:29, Belgic 13). To confess is not to speculate.

The distinctions you and he make are helpful, but Perry says, "We become deified by grace in the divine energies." So do we become deified or not, and if not, what does "we become deified" mean? If it means "in power but not essence" I'm not clear on how this doesn't violate the Creator/creature distinction, since what is being said is that we are being deified in some sense. Seems like the ontological version of soteriologically holding out a small place for works.
June 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
My first instinct would be Athanasius.
June 4, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean

Please excuse my tardiness in replying. There are a number of parts to answer your question. For the Orthodox, as opposed to Rome and Protestants, God is the formal cause of creatures. Also, the Orthodox do not agree with Rome and Protestants that there is nothing that is God that is not the divine essence. Consequently the Orthodox do not understand divine simplicity the way Rome and Protestants do. Hence human nature and the nature of every created thing has a divine logos. The logos of a nature is a divine energy. Here are some terms to help you get your head around what that means- A plan, blueprint, a work or working, operation, predetermination, procession and predestination. Every nature is what it is because of its divine logos and these logoi (plural) are eternally deity and eternally in God. All the many logoi are summed up and exist in the one Logos, which is why Christ is the mediator of all creation. So the logos of human nature is like a set, and we are created members of that set, so to speak. Human nature then is not alien to the divine life. Nature and grace are not opposing things. So the potential via the logos of human nature is to be deified, to live and be in the divine life and power. This is why sin is not per se natural, but personal. Sin is in the personal use or misuse of natural powers. Hence we affirm the creator/creation distinction and creation ex nihilo, but we differ from Rome and Protestants on how that is understood and cashed out.
June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPerry Robinson

I appreciate the sympathetic remark, but sanctification in the Reformed and Lutheran traditions is closer to Rome than to Constantinople since it is conceived a created effect in the soul brought about by efficient causality in those traditions. See Louis Berkof for example on the “created grace” in the humanity of Christ. For the Orthodox, we are united to that which is deity and not a created effect produced in us. Divine energy is neither a substance nor an accident.
June 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPerry Robinson

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