Sunday, August 04, 2002

I'm attempting to piece together an understanding of Theosis.

For Biblical references, see John Chapter 10:

Jesus answered them: ""Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"?'

The Lord is referring to Psalm 82,

I declare: "Gods though you be, offspring of the Most High all of you,

Yet like any mortal you shall die; like any prince you shall fall."

There is the delightful passage of Psalm 8:

"What is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you should care for him?

Yet you have made him little less than a god,

you have crowned him with glory and splendour,

made him lord over the work of your hands,

set all things under his feet..."

Finally, there is the work of St. Irenaeus, who declares somewhere in Against Heresies:

"For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God." It seems, then, that our divine adoption is the source of our divinification:

The Fathers dwell on this privilege which they are pleased to style deification. St. Irenaeus (Adv. Haereses, iii, 17-19); St. Athanasius (Cont. Arianos, ii, 59); St. Cyril of Alexandria (Comment. on St. John, i, 13, 14); St. John Chrysostom (Homilies on St. Matthew, ii, 2); St. Augustine (Tracts 11 and 12 on St. John); St. Peter Chrysologus (Sermon 72 on the Lord's Prayer)

I prefer to shorten the saying of Irenaeus to "God became man so that man might become godly."[*] But I must clarify: what do I mean by 'godly'? God-like? Or simply god-like? The first implies all the eternity and omnipotence of the Holy Trinity, while the second implies the immortality of eternal life, not to mention the god-like beings of the Elohim.

There is the work of Soloviev, whose Lectures on Divine Humanity/Godmanhood inspired Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Copleston has also written a work on Russian philosophy which is quite apropos. Both books are now on my wish list.

Wish I could organize this better, but I ought to go to bed now.

[*] 'For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.'[St. Athanasius, De inc. 54. 3] from Eastern Catholic Spirituality

Addendum 10/27/05:

The Old Oligarch kindly provided more information on this topic, though I didn't make the time to cross-reference it until today.