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Thanatos
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« on: January 11, 2007, 09:11:31 PM »

Hello,

I was wondering if I could get peoples reactions to my conception of theosis, particularly if we maintain a "self" in perfection - check if I'm just going out on my own limb or not.

In theosis, we are brought into the ultimate communion with God - a communion in which our self and identity is immersed in the absolutizing presence of God. Thus it is the ultimate humbling which we, as humans, achieve - reverting to a nature once lost. Since our will, our mind, and our soul would be in a constant communion with the Divine Energies, could I say that our "self" is lost in a sea of divine Love and Mercy? In saying that, I'm not meaning to suggest that our nature which we attain is lost, per se. But that our identity as independent selves are emptied to welcome the ultimate indwelling of Christ.

I dont know. What do you all think?

Peace,
Ioannis
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2007, 12:42:30 PM »

Well, I have two htoguhts right now; maybe more as they come to me:

Theosis is not only a 'destination' or objective but also a process. What is the ultimate communion with God? Isn't it a potential that, in eternity, even though we will be in communion with Him, that we will still have the potential to increase our communion?

2. Secondly, while theosis is completed through self-emptying, or kenosis, I would like to hear how you understand the role of human will. While we will empty ourselves of ourselves, we will retain our human will, so that we may constantly and voluntarily chose to love Him. This phrase:

Quote
But that our identity as independent selves are emptied to welcome the ultimate indwelling of Christ.

gives me pause, as it implies that the our wills may disappear. We will not be absorbed in the Godhead, nor 'lost'  in His Glory, but instead will be interpenetrated and surrounded, all phrases implying a retention of individuality.
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Thanatos
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2007, 05:01:52 PM »

Well, I have two htoguhts right now; maybe more as they come to me:

Theosis is not only a 'destination' or objective but also a process. What is the ultimate communion with God? Isn't it a potential that, in eternity, even though we will be in communion with Him, that we will still have the potential to increase our communion?

2. Secondly, while theosis is completed through self-emptying, or kenosis, I would like to hear how you understand the role of human will. While we will empty ourselves of ourselves, we will retain our human will, so that we may constantly and voluntarily chose to love Him. This phrase:

gives me pause, as it implies that the our wills may disappear. We will not be absorbed in the Godhead, nor 'lost'  in His Glory, but instead will be interpenetrated and surrounded, all phrases implying a retention of individuality.

Thank you Fr. Chris for your response.

How I understand human will is the impression I get from reading fathers from the Church, such as:

God's will is done on earth as in heaven when, in the way indicated, we do not disparage one another, and when not only are we without jealousy but we are united one to another in simplicity and in mutual love, peace and joy, and regard our brother's progress as our own and his failure as our loss. St. Symeon Metaphrastis

(To add on that) "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."

...the true fulfillment of the commandments does not require merely forbearance from excesses or defects, it also demands an aim acceptable to God, that is the fulfillment in everything of God's will alone. St. Gregory of Sinai

This is, of course, just a sampling. But from what I've gathered is that we should, each and every Orthodox Christian, put to death our self and don the "New Self," that is Jesus Christ. Consequentially, that means we extinguish ourselves of:

  • Pride
    Ego
    Self-indulgence
    Self-love
    Self-will

...among other things. I imagine that our wills, yes, will dissapear once theosis is achieved. As far as our temporal life is concerned, I have yet to see, outside of certain holy people, our own human will dissapear. Are you referring to free will, when you say that "we will retain our human will, so that we may constantly and voluntarily chose to love Him?" I'm interested as to what you mean.

You also said that "we will not be absorbed in the Godhead, nor 'lost' in His Glory." I don't mean to say that we will ontologically be absorbed into the Godhead; rather penetrated by the Divine energies that will restore unto us the nature (a nature in complete subservience to His will) once lost.

If you could reccomend me some writings from the holy fathers that talk about the Individual and his existence within the theotic realm, I would surely appreciate that.

Thank you again, Fr.,
Peace,
Bryan
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FrChris
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Holy Father Patrick, thank you for your help!


« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2007, 06:04:36 PM »

Overall, I disagree that our wills shall disappear as we continue the process of theosis (this by itself is interesting, as your comments appear to indicate that at the point of conclusion for theosis we will have no will; I do not necessarily agree that there will ever be a point where theosis ends for a human).

Instead, I feel more in agreement with St. Maximos' discussion on synergy and human will that:

-pride, ego, self-indulgence, etc do not exist because we have a human will, but that

-these sins exist because we have a misdirected human will.

This was brought forth in the 6th Council, which pointed out that Christ had to have both human and Divine wills, since only that which Christ had is possible to be divinized, and a human will  must be present for us to be individuals.

Therefore, we must retain our human will, since Christ had a human will. However, in theosis we become 'Christ-like' in that our human will is shaped in this process to become like that of Christ's: constantly in agreement with God's will.

So, as far as reading goes, you can look at St. Maximos, the 6th Council, and anyone who dealt with Monothelitism, especially the major proponents of this misunderstanding, since God gives us these people for us to understand the Faith.

However, I think people also excessively emphasize reading to the detriment of their understanding of the Faith. I think you should also buttress your prayer life, both privately and in worship with others. Finally, a regular discussions with your own priest, who can respond much more quickly to your excellent questions than I can, is in order.

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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2007, 06:49:28 PM »

Bryan,

Besides Maximos, you might also get something from The Conferences of John Cassian, and The Life in Christ by Nicholas Cabasilas.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 06:49:45 PM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2007, 05:22:49 PM »



  I think in theosis your body becomes invunerable and your mind is expanded, you become God. You do not lose your will or your perceptions, memories and feelings, they expand to an inperceptible degree. The only thing lost is every petty evil though you have ever had, including your pride and that happens before you get to theosis. Theosis holds true for every angel in Heaven.
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