the Arabic verb “ta’alah” that goes with the source “elah” and “ta’leeh” signifies the partaking into the essence of God for the following reason:
+ In Arabic language, a verb follows the source of the word in its meaning with no exceptions to be noted. The verb “ta’alah” that is translated “deified” comes from the source”elah” and its noun is “aloha” that cannot mean anything else in Arabic other than the essence of God and the core of divinity. This is a pure linguistic point of view regardless of how different groups want to use such verb. They would then use it loosely and with proper explanation of their intentions, something the groups discussed never did. To prove otherwise, you would be advised to show any reference in any old Arabic writings that use the verb “ta’alah” in any other form than what I just explained.
On a side note, H.H. Pope Shenouda is a prominent Arabic writer in the Arabic World, an accomplished poet whose intellectual abilities are admitted by Muslims before Christians and he does not lack the ability to understand complicated Arabic texts let alone writings by beginners like the monastic groups in question.
+ The word indeed was used by some Sufis and it was used to explain their unity with the essence of God. Different clerics have criticized their use of the verb “ta’alah” because in Arabic it only means to unite with the essence of God. You can consult the writings of Mohi El-Deen ibn 3arabi and specially his masterpiece “Fesus el-7okm”, ibn sab3een, ibn fared, el- telmesani, el-sheshtari and the refutation of Ibn Hamad el-Ghazali and Ibn Temia of their Sufi approach that is literally translated “The uniters with God’s essence”.
It is not our concern to discuss the details of Islamic theology here. The above just serves to show how the most prominent Arabic speakers, the grammaticians, language teachers and Arabic clerics understood under the expressions examined.
+ Their heresy is further confirmed by using the source of the word itself “Lahoot” in" The orthodox patriology basics" book in part 2 page 34 we find the following:" We drink the divinity (lahoot) as part of the mystery." When you say "lahoot", then the essence of divinity is meant, the very nature of the Trinity is addressed. There can be no other meaning to the word "lahoot" as it is used in the liturgical practice. The confession of faith before the Eucharist administration to the congregation states clearly concerning the nature of Christ that "Lahootuh" (his divinity) departed not from "nasootuh" (his humanity). Unless you share the semi-Arian point of view that Christ’s divinity is one concerning the energies or works only (which some of the monks in question believe), the word “lahootuh” cannot be understood except that is refers to the essence of divinity. This is just one liturgical example among many, and among thousands of examples generally in literature, in sermons, in the midnight praises, in the hours, etc.
As you see, linguistically and by common consensus and the application of words in liturgical settings the words are only understood in a manner that implicates the essence of God into the question.
There would be still an excuse for the monks who tried to study theosis and fell in the process into their misunderstandings if their teachings would reflect any orthodox understanding of “deification”. We would be compelled to look past the linguistics and their improper choice of words that reflects the lack of proper understanding of the Arabic language and look to the content of their writings and how they define terms.
It is their writings that carry unorthodox teachings, implicitly and explicitly. Again, the monastic group that produced such teachings is not distant from other heresies such as Universalism and the denial of atonement on the cross and many other mistakes that are initiated by the lack of adherence to any standards and the influence of heretics such as “George Habib”, the man under anathema for his heresies. A heresy cannot be amputated from a system of thought and a variety of influences.
The fact that you do not see the phrases I brought above problematic is unfortunate for the quotes of these groups are blasphemous beyond doubt. In brief:
+ The hypostatic union is a term used to describe the incarnation of the Logos and the union of both the divine and the human nature in the one incarnate nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, the communication of properties is ascribed only to the ONE person of the incarnate Logos, who is divine in essence, and not by grace or by elevation. To use the term with the same qualifications to describe a unity between divinity and humanity, in you for example or any other believer, implies the same divine essence present in the Person of the Lord.
+ The Pentecost is not a second incarnation nor is there any hypostatic union present in the person of the Apostles that transfers the divine properties of the Holy Spirit to their one person or makes the essence of the divinity accessible to the human “part”. In Arabic, they use the expression "7ululan iknomian", and Iknom in Arabic like in Syrian and Assyrian is the essence of the Persons of the Trinity. To describe the Holy Spirit type of work in the Apostles and union with them, which indicates the Apostles became one and the same in one nature with the Holy Spirit.
+ Is there more access to the essence of divinity if we can see it, smell it, drink it, eat it and touch it? On what basis do the heretics deny that they teach such blasphemy if they insist on the fact that we drink and eat divinity in the Eucharist? Mind you, divinity is not materialistic so it can be subject to our biological processes and faculties.
I will add a couple of lines authored by those “partakers in God’s essence” that might interest you:
“The divine attributes that Christ gained …. “
“Our sonship to the Father is the same as the Sonship of Christ…”
Falafel :(to Salpy) I'm not quite sure how proficient in Arabic you are but all of these controversies are still in Arabic and are yet to be translated.
+ I understand Arabic perfectly, so please lend your posts more weight by referring to H.H. Pope Shenouda’s writings that you believe deny that we partake in the works of God and that we are the instrument for His glorification. The articles that H.H. Pope Shenouda wrote to refute the many heresies of this monastic group and Dr. Bebawy are well documented in El-Keraza magazine from August 2004 till March 2005, which is the official magazine of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The 07/23/2004 issue is very representative of the view point of H.H. Pope Shenouda. Please check it out and tell us whether you find any error in them or not. H.H. is only denying that we can partake in God's essence and that the one incarnate nature, from a hypostatic union between the human and divine nature, existed only once in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and cannot be extended to believers.
To further explain the point of view of the Church concerning this matter, H.E. Metropolitan Bishoy has added this Arabic article: http://www.metroplit-bishoy.org/files/articles/partakersdeification.doc
For a generally acceptable view by the Coptic Orthodox Church, an AEnglish article by H.E. is found below:http://www.metroplit-bishoy.org/files/articles/partakers.doc
Note the quote by St. Basil that H.E. and H.H. have chosen to represent their view:“Therefore, an appearance of piety leads them away from the truth, because they do not perceive that his impassibility has been preserved insofar as he has divine existence and is God, but the suffering for us according to his flesh is also attributed to him insofar as, being God by nature, he became flesh, that is a complete man. For who was he who said to God the Father in heaven, “Sacrifice and oblation you would not, but a body you have fitted to me. [In holocausts and sin-offerings you have had no pleasure. Then said I, 'Behold, I come to do your will, O God.” For he who as God was without a body says that the body was fitted to him so that, when he offered this for us, he might cure us all “by his stripes” according to the saying of the prophet. But how is it that “one died for all,” one who is worth all others, if the suffering is considered simply that of some man? If he suffered according to his human nature, since he made the sufferings of his body his own, then, indeed, we say, and very rightly, that the death of him alone according to the flesh is known to be worth the life of all, not the death of one who is as we are, even though he became like unto us, but we say that he, being God by nature, became flesh and was made man according to the confession of the Fathers."
Unless you believe St. Basil to be a confused individual, or you share the belief that we are GODS in essence, then I wonder what exactly you find troublesome with the teachings of the Church concerning theosis.
+ Again you are mistaken, because:
-More than any other hierarch, H.H. has consecrated churches and altars in the name of St. Athanasius.
-H.H. brought back the relics of St. Athanasius to Egypt
-H.H. has expressed that the book you quoted from: “On the Incarnation” is the best ever written theological and spiritual book from his point of view.
-H.H. Pope Shenouda has been given the name”Athanasius of the 20th century” for he is a very able teacher and a great confessor of faith. On a side note, the heretics of the desert who produced the heretical teachings of sharing the essence of God conspired with Sadat to imprison H.H.
I cannot understand how heretics and conspirators against the Church can command more respect than the Confessor, let alone a legendary Pope.
As for the quote in question, H.H. explained that St. Athanasius nor did any father of the Church mean that we become gods in essence, but that we partake in the works of God. Is there any objection to that? If the term “theosis” is to be used to signify a partaking in the essence of God, then it is blasphemous.
Also don't you think that it would be ridiculous for educated priests, monks and lay people to advocate a unity with the essence of God thereby implying either some form of polytheism or pantheism.
+ No, I find it normal and expected for those who have followed the heresies and schismatic actions by the partakers of the divine essence since their inception. The natural extension of vanity and pride is heresy. It is only fitting for their theological system to extend it to this ugly heresy. In the end, this is the first sin of mankind in the first Adam and of the creation as a whole in Satan. I do not believe any of these monks or professors is infallible, nor do they exceed the wisdom of Lucifer.
On the other hand, while you dismiss that monks and priests, without real qualification or any spirituality, can fall in such a heresy, you dismiss that a great Pope with great abilities and great spirituality, can be negligent of the term theosis or deification in the orthodox sense.
In reply to the question posed earlier, apparently the book that has been condemned by the holy synod of the Coptic church due to apparent contradictions to the teachings of HH is the following: Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis - Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy by the Very Rev. Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris.
I did not read the book, but again, the ban might not be against the contents but against the person of author, who has views on the Scripture representative of the Chalcedonians maybe but considered heresy in the orthodox Church.