Growing in the Lord

Theosis

The following post appears at OrthoCuban’s blog. You may read the full post there.  This doctrine of glorification is a basic Christian doctrine, found in the Bible (compare Biblical references affirming that “when we see Him, we will be like Him,” that we are made “partakers of the divine nature,” etc). The Christian doctrine is one emphasizing a mystical unity with God, that we are “made everything Jesus Christ is, but by grace, not by nature.”

 

“The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him – for we can prevent Him, if we choose – He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.”

Finally, there is this quote from him about God: “turning you permanently into a different sort of thing; into a new little Christ, a being which, in its own way, has the same kind of life as God; which shares in His power, joy, knowledge and eternity”

Let’s look at that first line, that he came to this world and became a man in order to spread His life and that we are to become a little Christ. Notice that he says that, “The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.” Look closer at how he says it. He does not say that we are to be “declared” to be little Christs. Rather he uses the word “infected.” That is, Christ’s incarnation had a purpose, and according to C.S. Lewis it sounds just like several of the Church Fathers said:

  • St. Athanasius wrote that “God became man so that men might become gods.”
  • St. Cyril of Alexandria says that we “are called ‘temples of God’ and indeed ‘gods,’ and so we are.”
  • St. Gregory of Nazianzus implores us to “become gods for (God’s) sake, since (God) became man for our sake.”
  • St. Irenaeus of Lyons stated that God “became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”
  • St. Augustine of Hippo preached “To make human beings gods, He was made man who was God.”

I could go on with more quotes, but that should suffice. But, I must admit that I like the way that C.S. Lewis puts it, “He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess . . . a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness.”

 

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