PS ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€š I do not mean to explain theology, but I just want to show my continued confusion (and in essence, want an answer to my question that I made above) on how theosis is interpreted, and furthermore, how this interpretation may or may not lead to some disaster in a church.
I think Christos Yannaras is quite clear,.. Even though I do not share his denunciatory attitude towards RC-ist theology completely. Yannaras mentions piont by point the conclusions of Fr. Garrigues, the one we are concerned with for answering your questions is obviously the fourth: the union intentionelle
[/b]. Not having read Fr. Garrigues article (for one thing I can't read french) I must rely on Yannaras accuracy, and in so far as I misrepresenty Fr. Garrigues it is to the extent that I rely on Yannaras. Union Intentionelle
Theosis understood as a unity of will
[/b] is not theosis at all. It resembles the soteriology of Theodore of Mopsuestia before anyhting else, and suffers from the same defects that Theodore's system suffers: dualism
. To Theodore the distinction between creature and Creator is so absolute that he cannot come to a theology of unity concerning the Incarnation of the One Word of God in the One Jesus Christ. He consistently speaks of two natures in One Christ, the Word and the Assumed Man
Theodore will affirm the unity of Christ, yes, but he does not develop a theology of oneness of the same quality as he does a theology of two-ness. Though I, personally, judge it to be doubtful that Theodore was in fact a Nestorian
before Nestorius, I do
[/b] recognize that the basic problem of Theodore is precisely his dualism.
Christ, is one on the moral plane, that is the natures operate as one because the independent human will obeys
the independent Divine Will. Obedience is the main concern here. For the unity of Christ is no more internalized than that, Theodore will not affirm any other union more on the inside
than that. This is the fundamental lacuna in Theodore's writings that brought upon him several condemnations from different councils (even though the Assyrian Church of the East venerates him as a saint and doctor of the Church). The union of humnaity and Divinity in Christ is such that we perceive
One Christ, One Son, One Lord and never two. This constitutes the only
line of defense that Theodoran christology can offer against two-sons-ism (wrongfully attributed and named after Nestorius as Nestorianism). A rather meager defense, and weak defense, but a defense none-the-less.
Theosis in Theodore, if present in any real
sense at all (given his anti-Origen-ism), cannot be a participation
in the Life of God, let alone His Nature. Theodore limits things to fulfilling the full potential of one's createdness. Salvation frees the possibility that by obedience one may "allign ones will to the Divine Will" and thereby reach and fulfill ones created potential to the full. But there is no ontological
connection with God, the same gulf that separates humanity and Divinity in Christ separates the creature and Creator in the context of theosis. In Theodore there is no inner aspect
of the partaking (2 Peter 1, 4 has "koinonios") in the Divine Nature (2 Peter 1, 4 has "physis"). There is simply no real sense of communion, partaking, sharing in the Life of God in Theodore. The brilliance of Theodore as an exegete lies precisely where his greatest weakness as a theologian lies; in his dualism
. The basic ground for St. Athanasius' struggle with the Arians (only true God can truly divinize, hence the Son must be truly Divine for our salvation to be realized) becomes moot. For humanity and Divinity do not stand in the kind of relationship where divinization
actually occurs, it is merely a union of will
on the moral plane. The Son's true Divinity does not affect salvation in this scheme of things.
[/b] implies an ontological reality, not a mere moral one. Morality is involved in so far as theosis requirs a life of ascetism (for monastics and
[/b] lay people alike). St. Evagrios (153 Chapters on Prayer) is quite clear that no progress is made in the spiritual life, without denouncing the passions and aquiring the virtues, and so do St. Theophan the Recluse (Unseen Warfare) and Archimandrite Sophrony (biography of St. Silouan of the Holy Mountain). But the Unseen Warfare brings one to apatheia
not to participation in the Divine Nature. This is "preperatory work" so to speak; the laying of a foundation to be united to God; theosis proper. Apatheia - wholeness of spirit-body-soul is the point at which theosis proper takes off from. St. Evagrios says that we are than free to contemplate God without "movement" in our spirits (ie. without distractions) so that our spirits will become the "place" where God's Light begins to shine and makes us light up in His brightness (as the Psalm says in Your Light we shall see the light). Part of the works of ascetrism is of course the sacramental life. All the sacraments of the Church divinize. Moral union, the allignment of our will, with the Will of God is not
theosis but a step necessary for theosis. Fr. Garrigues assertion that theosis consists of a union intentionelle
is for that reason hopelessly insufficient and as limited,.. perhaps even disastrous as is the dualistic theology of Theodore of Mopsuestia. RC-ism and theosis
If Yannaras represents Fr. Garrigues faithfully, and I have no reason not to think so, Fr. Garrigues is in blatant opposition to St. Thomas Aquinas; who taught a strong doctrine of theosis as participation in the essence of God by grace
which seems awfully similar to Yannaras' participating in the essence through the energies
. For this reason I cannot deny that RC-ism has a doctrine of theosis, of the same reality and force as does the Orthodox Church. Yet, it is impossible to deny Yannaras' observation that RC-ism is plagued by "essentialism" and to that extent by "impersonalism" even in the doctrine of theosis of St. Thomas. This criticism stands, and remains standing. This is due to the triadology of the RCC which postulates three relations of opposition in one essence, instead of three hypostases that hypostasize one essence. The one (RC-ism) follows St. Augustine in putting essence first and then the Persons, the other (OCY) follows the Cappadocians in putting the Persons first and then the essence. It is precisely within this essentialist and impersonalist
understanding that the vexed opinion of the filioque found a comfortable home for itself. It is not beyond reason to assert the particulars of RC theology have contributed to the troubles it currently faces. Much the same goes for Orthodoxy; its theological baggage has undoubtedly influenced the problems it faces today. In this sense I would qualify Yannaras' denunciation of RC-ism, though I do not alltogether deny the point he does have there.
So,.. theosis must be understood ontologically (essence energies) as well as morally (union of will); and the downfall of the RCC cannot be unreflectively attributed to their denial of Palamism alone.
Does this answer your question somewhat?