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Author Topic: Does the Oriental Orthodox Church affirm theosis?  (Read 11562 times) Average Rating: 0
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idontlikenames
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« on: April 27, 2005, 08:22:20 AM »

Greetings in the name of Haile Selassie, everyone (just kidding)

but seriously, I had a question.....

I was recently told that the Oriental Orthodox Church does not suscribe to the "theosis" doctrine.  Is this true?  Having been through recent inclinations to join the OO Church (but will probably change mind for other reasons), I find this very disappointing.....so can anyone verify this for me.

Thanks
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« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2005, 09:04:13 AM »

Never heard this one myself...where did you hear this?

BTW, did you ever get my PM from a while ago? 
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2005, 09:30:31 AM »

I believe i know what idontlikenames is referring to...I only just heard about it myself, so I hope someone can correct me if I have been misinformed.

If im not mistaken this has to do with the recent "controversey" in the Coptic Orthodox church, in which H.H. Pope Shenouda III and his Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy have taken a stance against Fr. Matta's (a controversial Coptic monk) use of the phrase "partakers in the divine nature". The reason I speak only from hearsay, is that all the material relevant to this issue seems to be in the form of arabic audio lectures, of which I am unable to get a hold of.

However, continuing from what I have heard:

It is not the doctrine of theosis that is being opposed here, but rather the terminology used to convey the concept. It's thus a mere semantic issue, but one that I believe (according to what I have heard) has been stretched far beyond what is reasonable, even to the point that I was told (and I assert that such hearsay should be taken as such) that His Eminence Metropilitan Bishoy contested the early patristic expression: "God became man, so that man may become god" due to it's implications that man partakes in the divinity of Christ.

In conclusion, unless I have been misinformed or am ignorant of vital and relevant information concerning this dispute, it seems to be a matter of unecessary nitpicking.

Here is a brief online article concerning theosis by Coptic Orthodox priest Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris:

http://mycopticchurch.com/articles/read.asp?f=spiritual/theosis.html

Here is an english translation of an article by His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy on the topic:

Partakers Of The Divine Nature

By His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy

Quote
1. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “I am the resurrection and the Life” (Jn 11:25). What do these divine words signify?

Eternal life is in Christ: salvation from the original sin, and the crucifixion of the old man are obtained in baptism; through which we unite together to Christ in the likeness of His death, so also shall we be in the likeness of His resurrection (Rom 6:5).

The remission of actual sins is through the blood of Christ within the sacrament of baptism, and subsequently the sacraments of repentance and the Eucharist.

During the final confession of the Divine Liturgy the priest exhorts that the body and blood of our Lord: “Given for us for salvation, remission of sins, and eternal life to those who partakes of Him”.

Partaking of the body and blood of our Lord is the guarantee of eternal life. We prepare for it by repentance, confession -because the holies are for the holy- and holiness without which no one will see the Lord, as mentioned in the bible,.

In the Divine Liturgy we commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and His ascension. We also commemorate His second coming from heaven dreadful and full of glory.

Partaking in the eternal life with God is a precious and great offer which our Lord Jesus Christ requested for His disciples before His crucifixion. He spoke to the Father saying, “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” (Jn 17:24).

Partaking with God in immortality and eternal life is a great gift which we obtain from Christ and through Christ, by the might of the blood of the life-giving cross, which transferred us from death to life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3: 16).

Our teacher Saint Peter the Apostle explained that partaking in the eternal life requires our flight from corruption that is in the world through lust, estimating the value of our precious salvation, and holding fast to the divine promises. He wrote, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet 1: 1-4).

Our teacher Saint Peter the apostle means that the life of holiness is necessary in order to achieve the promised inheritance of the kingdom of God. This necessitates escaping from the corruption which is in the world through lust, leading a life of glory and spiritual virtues.

Saint Peter the Apostle himself emphasized this concept in his first epistle by saying, “Rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet 13-16).

2. Saint Basil the Great wrote: “We say that we know the greatness of God, His power, His wisdom, His goodness, His providence over us, and the justness of His judgment, but not His very essenceGǪ The energies are diversified, and the essence simple, but we say that we know our God from His energies, but do not undertake to approach near to His essence. His energies come down to us, but His essence remains beyond our reachGǪ So knowledge of the divine essence involves perception of His incomprehensibility, and the object of our worship is not that of which we comprehend the essence, but of which we comprehend that the essence exists.”

In view of this explanation of Saint Basil the Great we can understand the teaching of Saint Peter in his second epistle when he mentioned the precious and great promises of God by which the believers can become ‘partakers of the divine nature’ nü¦nüÑnü¬nüínüûnÇánÇánü½nü»nü¬nü«nü+nü«nü»nü¬nÇánÇánüªnü¦nü¦nüÑnü+nüû (2 Pet 1:4). Unfortunately, some people corrupt this verse by saying, “Partakers in the divine nature”GǪ This is not what Saint Peter wrote! It is not possible by any means that any creature partakes in the nature, being, or essence of God. Whoever claims this is caught in a great theological error against the faith in God, and against the superiority of His essence and nature over all creation. This claim is also the type of pride that the devil previously fell into when he said, “I will be like the Most High” (Is 14:14). May the Lord keep us from such destructing pride.

By saying “partakers of the divine nature” Saint Peter simply means that we become partakers with God in His eternal life through partaking in His Holiness, paraphrasing the commandment “Be holy, for I am holy”. Even being partakers of the holiness of God is relative, and not absolute. Perfection of the creation is relative but perfection of God is absolute. Holiness of God is natural and not acquired but holiness of saints is acquired. Speaking of partaking in the divine life as the saint’s inheritance of eternal life Saint Peter the apostle said, “through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet 1:3-4).

We are partakers in the work with God as our teacher Saint Paul said of himself and Apollos, “We are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor 3:9). We partake of the spiritual life with God as mentioned in the apostolic blessing, “The communion, donation, and gift of the Holy Spirit be will you all.”

We are partakers of the divine nature in immortality, holiness, kingdom, eternal joy, and love of which our Lord Jesus Christ said in His commune with the Father, “O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (Jn 17:26).

Our Lord Jesus Christ asks the Father that the love between Them can be in the disciples. He means here the type of love, not its amount. The Father is infinite and the Son is infinite, therefore the love between them is infinite. We are finite and limited: we obtain as much as we can from divine love. Thus, a communion of love is found between us and God, and we become partakers of the divine nature, but not partakers in the divine nature as some dare saying. May the Lord have mercy upon us, to feel our weaknesses and sins, so that we do not fall into pride.

Peace.
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« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2005, 11:30:03 AM »

Once again, as happended umpteen times in the history of the church, it would help if people learned to carefully distinguish between the divine essense (which is unknowable) and the divine energies (which have been made known to us and to which we may be joined by the Holy Spirit)
It would also help for mystic monks to stick to biblical terminology: partakers OF the divine nature (IIPeter 1:4) -- not partakers in...
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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2005, 12:39:51 PM »

partaker means:

A)To take or have a part or share; participate.
B)To take or be given part or portion: The guests partook of a delicious dinner.
C)To have part of the quality, nature, or character of something.

verse II Peter 1:4, the greek phrase is "+¦+¦++++-â+++¦ +++¦+¦+¦-é +¦+++¦++-ë+++++¦ -å-à -â+¦-ë-é" meaning literally "becoming in communion with devine nature".

So the word "partaker" is actually not the proper one to convey the original meaning.
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2005, 04:40:01 PM »

Dear EA,

you are right in your assessment of the subject. The ideas propagated by Matta El-Meskin are nothing short of heresy, and it is not the first time he has been found doing that. He believes in the divinity of christians, although he tries to cover it with some intelligent phrases yet the result of his teachings is to believe and commit the oldest sin by a creature, namely Satan. I do not know why he is not anathemized already.

 idiotlikenames,
what do you mean exactly by Theosis ? It is always beneficial for any discussion to define what you mean by expressions. Do you understand being one with the divine essence ? Do you understand being in communion with the divine nature ? SO you simply mean that a person can elevate spiritually to explore the divine mysteries ?I have heard the expression theosis with reference to the these three definitions. 
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2005, 06:02:42 PM »

"The ideas propagated by Matta El-Meskin are nothing short of heresy"

Could go please flesh this out? I am very curious what you mean.

Btw, Fr Anthony Coniaris is a Greek Orthodox priest, not Coptic. I am not sure why his article is on a Coptic website; maybe the author just agrees with him.

Theosis has to be Oriental Orthodox since it was first coined by St Athanasius in his On the Incarnation Wink ("God became man so that man might become God").
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2005, 07:11:17 PM »

"The ideas propagated by Matta El-Meskin are nothing short of heresy"

Could go please flesh this out? I am very curious what you mean.

Btw, Fr Anthony Coniaris is a Greek Orthodox priest, not Coptic. I am not sure why his article is on a Coptic website; maybe the author just agrees with him.

Theosis has to be Oriental Orthodox since it was first coined by St Athanasius in his On the Incarnation Wink ("God became man so that man might become God").
This phrase is interpreted in our Church as having the image of God and acquiring, by the grace of God, the purity that was lost by sin. It was not understood as to become divine or unite with the divine essence.

As for Matta El-Meskin, he has excellent writings and provides great depth when he writes about Prayers, Fasting or writes contemplations on different spiritual issues. Yet he has no limits to his "imaginations" and sometimes he falls into grave errors. I do not think people on the site know him that well, so detailing ihis errors will be of no great value. In brief, H.H. Pope Shenouda wrote about 30 articles to refute the errors in his books. 
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2005, 07:19:24 PM »

"This phrase is interpreted in our Church as having the image of God and acquiring, by the grace of God, the purity that was lost by sin. It was not understood as to become divine or unite with the divine essence."

We of course do not believe it is possible to unite with the divine essence and regaining the purity lost by sin would be tantamount to becoming what God is by nature, by grace.  So really I don't see the difference between what you are saying and what we are saying. Mor Ephrem from our site and I were talking today and it is his understanding that theosis is taught by his Malankara Church.

Theosis is not some magical formula whereby we become demigods. It just means that we become what God is by nature by grace, in that we become fully united with him.  Of course the essence of God is unknowable which is why we posit a distinction between essence and energy (i.e. grace). Both are God but one is the unknowable innerworkings of God and the other is God's self-expression outside of himself.

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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2005, 09:40:22 PM »

Never heard this one myself...where did you hear this?

BTW, did you ever get my PM from a while ago?

Yes....thank you, Mor Ephrem, I received your PM....it's just that I haven't visited this web-site in several months. Grin

With all due respect to His Grace and His Holiness, I have serious objections to Metropolitan Beshoy's and Pope Shenouda III's turns of phrase.

For one thing, the phrase "I have said, 'You are gods!'" in Psalms is one speaking to hypocrites.  If hypocrites are being called gods, then how much more so are people who are transformed by the Grace of God!

If the Malankara Church suscribes to this "weaker" version of theosis, then I see it as somewhat ironic that this Church, surrounded as it is by other more Monistic philosophies of the Sub-Continent (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.), would continue to hold to it, while the EO Church, steeped as it is in the Greek-Platonic-dualistic culture, would hold to a "stronger" version of theosis.

I have much more to say, but alas....I must go to work (3rd shift)

Thanx for the replies everyone
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2005, 11:28:32 PM »

Anastasios,

Quote
Btw, Fr Anthony Coniaris is a Greek Orthodox priest, not Coptic.

Sorry, my bad. I just assumed he was Coptic since his article was on a Coptic Orthodox website.

In any event, the point is that the Coptic Orthodox Church certainly does advocate the concept of theosis as it has always been understood by the early Church. This can clearly be seen in His Eminence Metroplitan Bishoy’s article, as well as a summary of the teachings of H.H. Pope Shenouda on this issue which I will paste below.

Stavro,

I was looking through my book collection and found one titled Overall Perspectives on the Works of Fr. Matthew the Poor: An analytical Study of his Spiritual Treasury by Fayek Matta Sihak (Professor Emeritus). In Chapter 8: Divination and the Union with God, he states regarding Fr Matta’s stance on this issue, that by Divination (Theosis) he:

Quote
“GǪdoes not mean the metamorphosis of the human nature so as to be divine. It is simply a preparedness for the life with God and union with Him. This is, above all, a life of charity and communion through the consecration of His Blood and partaking of the Holy Communion.

Viewed in this context, divination in the full sense of the term, becomes more meaningful after the resurrection of the body. But as God has given us the ways and means of grace and showed us how to surmount sin and the corruption of the world, a new vista has been opened for us to taste this union with God.”

If this is the context in which Fr Matta employs his terminology, then I cannot find anything wrong with it, especially considering the fact that prominent Orthodox figures of the early church indeed used quite strong terminology themselves to communicate the concept:

“The Word could never have divinized us if He were merely divine by participation and were not Himself the essential Godhead” (St Athanasius)

"He, indeed, assumed humanity that we might become God" (St Athanasius)

“Souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes . . . abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.” (St. Basil)

If you have some primary source material of Fr Matta, in which he in his own writings employs strong terminology in a heretical context, then I would be grateful if you could please point it out for me. Also, do you have more information concerning the nature of the dispute, and how H.H. and H.G. have responded exactly? Did they or either one of them really come up with a new expression in the face of the early patristic one of: “God became man, so that man may become god”, as I heard?

Thanks in advance brother.

idontlikenames,

Quote
With all due respect to His Grace and His Holiness, I have serious objections to Metropolitan Beshoy's and Pope Shenouda III's turns of phrase.

The use of phrases and expressions should not be looked at in a vacuum, but rather according to the context in which the proponent of new terminology feels the need to diverge from or replace the original terminology in order to adapt to the circumstances at hand (this is after all what the EO will argue happened at Chalcedon right?).

To take an extreme example into account, I would have absolutely no problem with the expression: “God became man, so that man might become god”, nor would I have a problem vocally expressing it in front of a group of Orthodox believers who perfectly understand the context in which I understand it, and who themselves understand it in that same context. However, I would have a major problem with vocally expressing it in front of a group of Mormons, and hence would feel the need to diverge from or qualify it in one way or another.

Now I don’t know the exact situation in which H.H. Pope Shenounda or His Eminence Metropolitan bishoy feel the need to diverge from such early patristic expressions (nor am I even certain if they truly have diverged from these expressions --- remember, I have only spoken from hearsay in the hope that someone more educated with the raw facts might jump in and either affirm or correct what I have said), and hence it wouldn’t be sound to pass judgment on the appropriateness or reasonableness of it until more concrete facts are available. If they are directly addressing and facing a severe problem in which certain people have taken theosis to an heretical extreme, then this certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

Here is an article from suscopts.org in which the author has briefly summarised H.H.Pope Shenouda’s position on the issue of theosis, which is perfectly Orthodox and in line with early patristic thought:

Quote
Deification:

Deification is an ancient theological term used to describe the process by which a Christian becomes more like God. A distinction must be drawn between the idea of deification as “becoming God” (theosis) and as “becoming like God” (homoiosis theoi).

What Deification is not:

When the Church calls us to pursue godliness, to be more like God, this doesn’t mean that human beings then become divine. We do not become like God in His nature. That would not only be a heresy, it would be impossible. For we are human, always have been human, and will always remain human. We cannot take on the divine nature of God. God said it clearly, “My glory (of the divinity) I will not give to another” (Isa 42:Cool. In (Jn 10:34), our Lord Jesus Christ, quoting (Ps 82:6) repeats the passage, “You are gods”. The fact that He was speaking to a group of hypocritical religious leaders who were accusing Him of blasphemy makes the meaning very clear: our Lord was not using “god” to refer to divine nature. We are gods in that we bear His likeness, not His nature. Moreover, the same Holy Psalm says in the next verse, “You shall die like men and fall like one of the princes” (Ps 82:7).

What Deification is:

Deification means we are to become more like God through His grace. When the Son of God assumed our humanity in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the process of our being renewed in God’s image and likeness was begun. Thus, those who are joined to Christ through Faith, Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist begin a re-creation process, being renewed in God’s image and likeness. We become as St. Peter writes, “partakers of the divine nature” (2Pet 1:4).

What St. Peter means is partaking of the divine virtues and not the essence of the Godhead. He therefore shows us the way by saying in the same verse, “GǪ having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (1Pet 1:4). Those who misinterpret St. Peter’s words fall into the deception of Satan who said to Eve, “you will be like God” (Gen 3:5), the devil convinced her that they would be divine!

http://www.suscopts.org/messages/lectures/soterlecture1.pdf

Peace.
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2005, 06:41:28 AM »

Thank you for your replies, brothers and sisters......

It seems, indeed, that there are a variety of ways of phrasing the theosis doctrine.  Some of them I like...others I don't like.  Personally, I am a big fan of the "stronger" versions of theosis.  I always tend to think in monistic terms.  Whether or not my own way of phrasing the theosis doctrine would be considered heretical, I don't know.  It's probably just carry-over from my teenage obsession with Indian thought.

How much in line is the teaching of Meister Eckhart in line with theosis?  Or is he way off?

Somebody (sorry, can't remember who it is) said it best when they said, "We become, by grace, what God is by Nature."
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2005, 09:20:52 AM »

If the Malankara Church suscribes to this "weaker" version of theosis...

Which weaker version? 
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2005, 10:42:48 AM »

Quote
Also, do you have more information concerning the nature of the dispute, and how H.H. and H.G. have responded exactly? Did they or either one of them really come up with a new expression in the face of the early patristic one of: “God became man, so that man may become god”, as I heard?
Our hierarchs do not come up with new expressions, they simply confirm what has been understood since the Lord delivered the faith to the apostles, among them St.Mark. The nature of the dispute between H.H. and Matthew the Poor is complicated,and when I get  time, I will shed some light on the problems in Matthew the Poor writings.
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2005, 01:46:24 PM »

theosis, deification, divinization (NOT divination), aquiring the Holy Spirit (St. Seraphim of Sarov), total participation in Jesus Christ (St. Maximos the Confessor), becoming by grace what God is by nature(Fr. Hester in his booklet, "The Jesus Prayer"), union with Christ - all these terms reflect upon the same concept. I like the idea the early Fathers had that in creation we were made in the image of God; in Christ we become His likeness. The glorified state we shall obtain in the next life is made available to us in this life (at least in some measure) if we practice enough ascetic discipline and suffer to aquire it. Great saints like St. Seraphim seemd to have reached this state of grace (his glowing in the Russian forest before his disciple Motovilov who couldn't look directly upon his brightness; the fragrant scent and the warmth in the midst of the Russian winter).
Also: Abba Joseph, a desert father, was approached by Abba Lot, who informed him that he had kept his rule of prayer, fasted, purified his thoughts and lived peaceably - what more could he do? Abba Joseph held out his hands toward heaven, fingers extended in the “orans” prayer position and said, “You can become fire” and each fingertip blazed like a candle. Abba Joseph’s point was that the younger monk could be set ablaze by the Holy Spirit, acquiring theosis.
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« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2005, 01:54:02 PM »

Here are some more quotes by early Fathers regarding deification:

Again, St. Maximos the Confessor “All that God is, except for an identity in being, one becomes when one is deified by grace.”


Gregory Nazianzus, stated: “Man has been ordered to become God."

Basil the Great said, “From the Holy Spirit is the likeness of God, and the highest thing to be desired, to become God.”

Cyril of Alexandria commented that we are all called to take part in divinity, becoming the likeness of Christ and the image of the Father by “participation."

Iranaeus noted, “If the Word is made man, it is that man might become gods.”

John of Damascus taught that Christ’s redemptive work enables the image of God to be restored in us so that we become “partakers of divinity.”

The early Fathers were not shy about this doctrine, nor circumspect in their language describing it, primarily BECAUSE they were SO CAREFUL to distinguish between the divine energies and the divine essence. All of those staements above are TOTAL blasphemy and should be anathematized if meant in relation to the divine essence. On the other hand, they are THE HEART OF ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY if meant in reference to the divine energies.

With that distinction there can be no confusion with pantheism, or eastern religious thought (hinduism) nor with satanic delusions of the deity of man.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2005, 01:55:57 PM by BrotherAidan » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2005, 03:57:28 PM »

I know that the Coptic Church (at least the diocese of the South under His Grace Bishop Youssef), looks favorably upon the doctrine.  If you go to www.suscopts.org and go to the Q&A page, I believe you will find an answer to your question.  You could also go to His Grace's page on the same website and read some of his Theological Articles.  That site is a well-spring of info on the Holy Coptic Orthodox Church.  Good luck in your search.  If I read correctly, I believe the doctrine of Theosis is affirmed in the Coptic Church.  After all, the venerated (by both EO and OO) St. Athanasius affirmed the doctrine with the statement," God became man so that man might become God."
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« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2005, 06:00:43 PM »

Stavro,

Quote
Our hierarchs do not come up with new expressions, they simply confirm what has been understood since the Lord delivered the faith to the apostles, among them St.Mark.

As I said, I was only speaking from hearsay; though even if they did come up with a new expression to convey the same concept, I would see no problem with this if there was a legitimate purpose for doing so (context is everything) - so I certainly wasn’t suggesting at all that they had deviated from the faith, simply from the terminology.

BrotherAiden,

Quote
divinization (NOT divination)

The book I was quoting from was originally written in Arabic, so I was simply staying true to a faulty translation.

Quote
All of those staements above are TOTAL blasphemy and should be anathematized if meant in relation to the divine essence. On the other hand, they are THE HEART OF ORTHODOX SPIRITUALITY if meant in reference to the divine energies.

The suscopts Q&A page which Setfree pointed out for us contains a question and answer which involve this very distinction to emphasize what deification is and is not from the Coptic Orthodox perspective:

Quote
How does Coptic theology approach and explain the subject of 'theosis'? Chalcedonians use the Palamite terms 'essence' and 'energy': man participates in God's energies but not in His essence.

Theosis or Deification means "union with God" taken from the Greek Theos - God, and the word Enosis - union. Our Lord Jesus Christ asked God the Father "They also may be one in us" (Jn 17:21). He also gave us the command of Theosis "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect" (Mt 5:48), our goal in life is to accomplish perfect union with God through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Man was created in the image and likeness of God, and then sin created a gap between God and mankind, causing damage to our souls. All Christians through baptism receive the seed of Theosis, which is not only to the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation and justification, but also a restoration of God's image. The sinful inclination of our human nature should not govern our behavior anymore; instead we should strive to live a holy life looking towards Jesus Christ the author of our faith, and growing in His knowledge and sonship. The restoration and sanctification of Theosis brings us back into relationship with the Creator. St. Athanasius' presentation of Theosis was summarized as "the reintegration of the divine image of man's creation through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit conforming the redeemed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also of the believer's transition from mortality to immortality so that he is enabled to participate in the eternal bliss and glory of the kingdom of God."

Our full union with God is a union with the "energies" of God. These energies, while an extension of God, are not to be confused with the "essence" or "substance" of God, which is unknown by humans and is shared only by the Holy Trinity. Our union with God will not make us gods but will make us partners in the Divine nature in works not in essence. We will not acquire the unique characteristics of God such as being the Creator, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, but it will make us partners with Him in building the Kingdom by our own salvation and by winning the souls of others to the Lord Jesus Christ.

http://www.suscopts.org/q&a/index.php?qid=649&catid=383

Peace.
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2005, 11:35:04 AM »

EA
good quotes from the copt q&a page
thanks
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« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2005, 09:55:30 AM »

Dear Brothers,

The Armenian Orthodox Church (as one of the Oriental Orthodox Churches) certainly does hold to a belief in Divinization as is commonly taught by Eastern Orthodox.  But I'd like to point out, as someone mentioned above, "Divination" is something much different than "Divinization."  The former refers to contacting the dead for information about the future the latter is the process by which we become partakers of the Divine Nature through communion in God's Uncreated Grace and Divine Energy.  This reminds me of why I like the "Orthodox New Testament."  All of the references to "energy," unlike all other English translations, are literally translated into the text.  But getting back to Theosis, it is interesting that I recently read that the Greek word for God, "Theos," actually comes from a verb which describes an action, e.g. to burn, run, or see.  Thus, it would seem, the very New Testament word for God is reference to His Divine Energy.  Perhaps this is because His Divine Essence is simply unknowable and undefinable.

One final note:  Recently I read in a book (I believe by Archbishop Lazar Puhalo) that we should use the word "Divinization" in reference to the doctrine of Theosis rather than "Deification."  The writer argues the former refers to God's Uncreated Energies (Divinity) while the latter refers to God's Essence (Deity).  Does anyone who is familiar with this doctrine buy this?
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« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2005, 04:24:35 PM »

EA,
I agree, it is the context that is important, even if terminology are different. But the terminology should not be taken as a cover for heresy and try to use it as an everlasting excuse for condemnation of heresy. For example, nowadays, neo-heretics excuse Nestorius of his heresies and portray it as a different use of terminology, and excuse the champions of Nestorianism from heresy, claiming their Orthodoxy. 

Teaching that Christ is a creature cannot be mistaken as different terminology for the divinity of Christ. Saying that the humanity and divinity of Christ are one nature as much as a man and a woman are one person in matrimony cannot be mistaken as orthodox, and saying that the whole Church was incarnate with the incarnation of Christ (meaning that we are all divine in essence and substance) cannot be mistaken as the orthodox understanding of Theosis.

I agree with the definition of Theosis in your reply, this is our faith, and this is what The Great St.Athanasius the Apostolic meant, but this is not what was expressed by others.

Many crimes have been committed in the name of terminology.

Peace.
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« Reply #21 on: May 03, 2005, 12:45:24 PM »

There is well defined theology and written works for almost every aspect of Church tradition in EO. This is very good.  But the OO approach is slightly different, i.e. OO go by tradition, not necessarily written.  The Indian Orthodox church, at least through the writings of numerous church fathers, affirms theosis. 
For example: "...we shall try to summarize briefly the very rich tradition (not necessarily Byzantine) or Asian-African spirituality on the 'divinisation of human beings' (theosis) and the vision of God...."  It is a lengthy article by Metropolitan Paulos Mar Gregorios of Delhi, India. You can notice that the word used by the Metropolitan is 'divinisation'. I have also seen numerous other articles supporting 'divinisation' as an important aspect of OO tradition.

-Paul

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« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2005, 02:17:29 AM »

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« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 02:05:34 PM »

In our Church(the Ethiopian orthodox)..we are thoght and we teach theosis (being god by Grace, in our terminology)...amalikt zebe tsega( in our Geez language)..so there is for sure, the doctrine of theosis....even its said by eastern churches..purification(catharsis) --theoria(illumination)---theosis(devinization)...so also in our doctrine the righteous goes to nitsiha siga(purification of the body)----nitsiha nefs(purification of the soul)---nitsiha libuna(purification of the heart)
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