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Author Topic: stages of theosis?  (Read 7446 times) Average Rating: 0
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arjuna3110
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« on: July 14, 2005, 09:04:34 PM »

Hi Everybody !

I'm trying to understand the process of theosis, and I have a question.

I understand that theosis consists of three steps or stages, which often take place simultaneously as well as cumulatively.  These are called by different names by different authors, but they seem to boil down to this:

1.  keeping the commandments / the exterior life
2.  rooting out vice and acquiring the virtues / the interior life
3.  living with the selfless love and union of God / the spiritual life

Now, here is my question.  Is "theosis" (also: deification or divinization) properly the name for the whole three step process, or is it only the name for the third step of the process? 

The authors I have read seem to be evenly split in their usage of the word.  Being rather new to all of this, I wonder if I am missing something really important or if this is simply a difference in semantics.

Thank you for any responses.
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2005, 09:26:00 PM »

His Grace Bishop Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, says concerning theosis:

Quote
"Theosis or Deification means "union with God" taken from the Greek Theios - 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.

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

Concentrating on his first sentence, we find that His Grace, in speaking of the interpretation of the term theosis, quite explicitly states that “theosis” means (as opposed to ‘translates to’ - since he clearly understands 'deification' to be the translation) “union with God” — theos and enosis being the base words of this expression which in the Greek transliterates to “theia enosis”.

That “theosis” can be interpreted as “theia enosis” (union with God) is a point made in the following excerpt in relation to St Gregory Palamas, from a paper written by Eastern Orthodox theologian Fr. John Romanides:

Quote
"According to Palamas’ interpretation of St. Dionysius the Areopagite, the terms THEOSIS (divinization or deification) and ENOSIS (union)...are synonymous. This means that everywhere Palamas speaks of union between the prophets of the Old Testament and the glory of God or an Old Testament prophet’s vision of the glory of God he is actually speaking of divinization."

Source: http://www.ortodoxia.it/romanides-palamide.htm

I’m not sure if that helps or not; sorry if it doesn’t,

Peace.
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2005, 09:37:10 PM »

Dear EkhristosAnesti,

The quotes were superb.

But, they didn't answert my question.  It seems that union with God (theosis) is both the overall process and the end result of that process.  Is that the answer?
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« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2005, 03:56:58 AM »

This is just a gut feeling, but I'd say that it is both. When we speak of salvation, do we mean the process or the end result? I would say both. I believe it was St. Gregory of Nyssa that used a term like static motion, and used the image of someone running on top of a large rock. They are in motion, but grounded on the rock. They are moving, but staying still. They are growing away from the old man, but still only become more themselves as they truly are (the image of God). Theosis is the attempt to bring this change about (the process), but it is also the change itself (the goal).
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2005, 03:55:29 PM »

Archimandrite Sophrony is quoted as follows byNicholas V. Sakharov I Love therefore I am :

Quote
The imparting to us of this uncreated Energy effects our likening to the Creator - our divinization. Love, being the pre-eternal and immutable life of the Triune God, when it comes to dwell in us makes us not only immortal, in the sense of living for evermore, but without beginning, too, since the love that is the Trinity is pre-eternal.

Meaning that theosis is indeed a becoming-God by participation in His Uncreated Energies, it is not merely being like God. It is a participation in God's Nature as St. Peter states when he says we will be partakars of the Divine Nature (physis in Greek). But the Nature of God cannot be limited to Essence alone, God is an existant Person and is Essence as much as Energy, we must not mistake the Divine Energies for anything else but as truly the personal Uncreated God, other-than-his-essence so to speak, but no less God. Theosis is our becoming God as much as God became man. We must simultaneously rule out a dualistic understanding od theosis, as well as a pantheistic one; for both are false.

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The mystical union between God and man is a true union, yet in this union Creator and creature do not become fused into a single being. Unlike the eastern religions which teach that man is swallowed up in the deity, Orthodox mystical theology has always insisted that man, however closely linked to God, retains his full personal integrity. Man, when deified, remains distinct (though not separate) from God[/b][/color]. The mystery of the ‘Trinity is a mystery of unity in diversity, and those who express the Trinity in themselves do not sacrifice their personal characteristics.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2005, 08:17:47 AM »

My own feelings in this matter were that the steps were steps and Theosis was the end result or reward for completing those steps.

Nick
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« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2005, 05:16:50 PM »

Dear SN Bulgakov,

I'm having trouble with the "Uncreated Energies" part.ÂÂ  If it is Uncreated Energies, then this "uncreated" is also His essence.ÂÂ  The only way I can understand God's essence is only that it is uncreated.ÂÂ  His essence is inseperable from His energies, if not His actual energies themselves.ÂÂ  He doesn't merely have wisdom, love, etc., He "IS" the Love, Wisdom, etc.ÂÂ  To become THE LOVE and WISDOM is to become His essence, which seems as a contradiction in terms.ÂÂ  Man is distinct, and does not become in essence God, but He receives grace from God to be love and wisdom like the TRUE Love and Wisdom.

So, if carefully read, we participate in His Divine Uncreated Energies, that is we partake of His nature, but we do not become these energies in nature, but only in grace.ÂÂ  As St. Athanasius is quoted from above, theosis is "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."  And St. Athanasius says elsewhere "We become by grace what Christ is by Nature."

Quote
God is an existant Person and is Essence as much as Energy, we must not mistake the Divine Energies for anything else but as truly the personal Uncreated God, other-than-his-essence so to speak, but no less God.

His energies are His essences.ÂÂ  I don't agree that it is "other-than-His-essence," but truly His essence.ÂÂ  How else is God wise unless God Himself is the Wisdom?

God bless.
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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2005, 07:12:24 AM »

Mina Soliman,

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I'm having trouble with the "Uncreated Energies" part.ÂÂ  If it is Uncreated Energies, then this "uncreated" is also His essence.

No, my friend, the Essence of God is God as he is known and shared in Himself only where no creature can ever participate in. It is strictly intra-trinitarian communion. The Energies are the Personal God other-than-His-Essence, God in so far as He can be participated in by us creatures; God-ad-extra, if you will, but nonetheless the One True God. Theosis is the communion of God's Nature (physis) by us, in His Uncreated Energies.

Quote
The only way I can understand God's essence is only that it is uncreated.ÂÂ  His essence is inseperable from His energies, if not His actual energies themselves.ÂÂ  He doesn't merely have wisdom, love, etc., He "IS" the Love, Wisdom, etc.ÂÂ  To become THE LOVE and WISDOM is to become His essence, which seems as a contradiction in terms.ÂÂ  Man is distinct, and does not become in essence God, but He receives grace from God to be love and wisdom like the TRUE Love and Wisdom.

Quote
So, if carefully read, we participate in His Divine Uncreated Energies, that is we partake of His nature, but we do not become these energies in nature, but only in grace.

With regard to theosis, the Energies are this grace; Uncreated Grace so to speak.

Quote
As St. Athanasius is quoted from above, theosis is "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."ÂÂ  And St. Athanasius says elsewhere "We become by grace what Christ is by Nature."

First, the being-after-the-Image of us, is defined by St. Gregory the Theologian thusly:
Quote
The soul is a breath of God and has suffered a mixture of heavenly and earthly, a light hidden in a cave, but, all the same, divine and imperishable. For it would not be right for the greay God's image to disintegrate in formlessness, like mindless lizards and kine, even though sin has brought it to a mortal condition.
Poem 1. 18, De Anima So that even in speaking of the Imago Dei in us, we are not speaking of something merely like God, but of a breath of God that is truly divine. Not just a relation of ontological nearness but of ontological sameness which Archimandrite Sophrony has called without-beginningness. When the fathers speak of theosis, they ususally refer to Psalm 82, 6, the very Psalm Jesus quoted to assert His Own Divinity:

- St. Basil the Great Eunom. 3. 5. 20, 164; De Spir. 9.23, 328

- St. Macarius Hom. 34. 2, 261

- St. John Chrysostom On Psalm 4. 5; Hom. in Gen. 22.2

The question of theosis is on the ontological plane, not the relational plane alone.

Second it is not merely reintegration, it is also growth beyond the state to which we are reintegrated. Theosis goes beyond redemption. In fact, redemption is part of theosis, not the other way around. Partaking in the bliss of the Kingdom of God not simply the prolonging of our earthly life. The bliss of the Heavenly Kingdom is pecisely the creature becoming what-it-is-not, namely divine; god. The creature is elevated out of the limits of its own nature, to be enabled to partake in the Life of the Tri-Une God. This action is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. This is the partaking of the Divine Nature by grace. It is by grace because the moment the Holy Spirit would withdraw, we would fall back into our own created natures. It is by the grace of the Spirit that we become, are, and remain other-than-we-are namely God, by participation in His Energies.

Quote
His energies are His essences.ÂÂ  I don't agree that it is "other-than-His-essence," but truly His essence.ÂÂ  How else is God wise unless God Himself is the Wisdom?

The Energies of God are not His Essence, just like the Persons of God are not His Essence. This is a basic element of Cappadocian thought, and is worked out to a great extent in the theology of St. Gregory Palamas. It might be of great help to gain insight into this great theologian and master of the spiritual life, by reading Fr. John Meyendorff's book on him, as well as his edition of St. Gregory's Triads. This holds true also in regard to Wisdom under both its modalities, created and Uncreated. Though sophiology expands on Palamism, they are not identical!

Wisdom, as treated in Bulgakovian Sophiology, is a very rich figure that connects Creator and creation, without mixture and confusion, and is in this sense an heir to Palamism. That is, Bulgakov interprets St. Gregory along the lines of German Idealism in addition to the "Platonist" prism of most of the Church Fathers. Though sophiology is still controversial, and only slowly is it rehabilitated as Bulgakov's works become more accessible in English (very helpful are the investegations into the heresy charges made against him, and his exonoration by Metropolitan Evlogii which have been made available in English in St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly recently). And given the strong neo-patristic presence here, sophiology might be a topic that will fall on deaf ears and stir up many passions. Iow, let us stick to theosis as expounded in a less controversial context.
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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2005, 10:42:52 AM »

Dear SN Bulgakov,

I was wondering if you can show me some quotes of the Cappadocian fathers that teach about the "uncreated" Energies that we partake of.  I always interpreted these quotes as "created" energies, not the actual "uncreated" Nature itself.

Thank you.

God bless.
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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2005, 01:30:26 PM »

Dear Mina Soliman,

Your inquiry will have to be satisfied with this article, until I dig up the passages of Sts. Gregory of Nyssa, and Basil that I have gathered (and put somewhere so I wouldn't loose them). Though I think what you might misunderstand is the distinction between Essence and Energies in general. The Essence is not the Energy, for in the Orthodox tradition in general you will find that God is seen as unknowable in His Essence, but knowable in His Energies only.

http://www.monachos.net/patristics/epinoia_ennoia.shtml

http://www.geocities.com/trvalentine/orthodox/yannaras.html

If the Energies would be the Essence, we'de be pantheists,.. If the Energies were not somehow the Personal God Himself, we'de merely know about God and lack any personal contact with and knowledge of Him. The Energies of God are therefore the one True God other-than-His-Essence. The fullest development of this line of thought is found in St. Gregory Palamas, who elaborates on this while interpreting the Pseudo-Dyonisan Corpus and the Cappadocians (St. Gregory of Nyssa in particular).

S_N_Bulgakov
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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2005, 05:35:32 PM »

Thank you brother.

I'll look into these articles.ÂÂ  In the meantime, I have another question.ÂÂ  If these energies are "uncreated" and are thus God, though not His essence, these energies are then worshipped.ÂÂ  Am I correct?

God bless.
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« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2005, 08:35:32 PM »

Dear SN Bulgakov,

I'm reading the monachos article (although because I'm in a rush, I didn't read the whole thing), and I realized the author made this assertion about St. Gregory Palamas' quotation:

Quote
This quotation reveals, also, the Byzantine correction of what must be admitted as a weakness in the Cappadocian definition of e0ne/rgeiai, namely that it is unclear whether the Cappadocian Fathers regarded God’s energies as having any actual reality of their own, or if they believed ‘energies’ simply to refer to the activities of God within the created order.  The ‘operations of God’s hands’, as Gregory of Nyssa terms the discernable energies of God, is not a phrase which necessarily warrants an interpretation of energies as anything possessing real existence; rather, it might only suggest the results of an interaction between the divine ou0si/a and creation, these visible results being called ‘energies’.  Gregory Palamas, on the other hand, could speak of very real things (to call them ‘substances’ would risk confusion with ou0si/a) which are God’s divine, uncreated energies manifested through creation: the divine light of Tabor seen in prayer with material eyes being the most pertinent in his day. [23]  ÃƒÆ’‚ The Cappadocians seem never to make such a clarification of the character of God’s energies, referring to them simply as the perceivable attributes of God in creation without substantial further refinement.

In this case, I have to make the assertion that the OO's do not have Gregory Palamos as an Orthodox father, and perhaps theosis could have meant differently in different traditions, one with uncreated energies and one where energies are not clearly defined.

I think we need to investigate more on the "uncreated" energies in earlier fathers of commonality.

God bless.
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« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2005, 05:56:50 AM »

Dear Mina Soliman,

Quote
I think we need to investigate more on the "uncreated" energies in earlier fathers of commonality.

That is correct, the Palamite synthesis is post-Chalcedonian and cannot be used to qualify the Oriental Orthodox tradition. However, I think that investigation on theosis in St. Athanasius, the Cappadocians, and St. Cyril will reveal that, even if the Energies are not fully developed at this stage of theology. In general I'de say that St. Cyril's miaphysitism implies theosis by participation in the Hypostasis of the Incarnate Word, which is still an ontological change in the nature of man. A passage from mere creature to created-uncreated being, by participation in the physis of God. Fundamental to theosis is the Incarnation of God the Word, a union into one Nature (physis) of God with humanity. This is the beginning, engine, and endpoint of theosis. For this reason I think that the English language articles put out by great COC theologians such as Metropolitan Pishoy, do not do justice to theosis. For in these articles HEM Pishoy limits theosis to a moral category; specifically the forgiveness of sins. Theosis, however, is so much ore than that. And this more-than is insufficiently made clear by HE.

Forgive me for putting the Palamite synthesis upon you, where it was not necessary.

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« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2005, 08:08:50 AM »


I'll look into these articles.  In the meantime, I have another question.  If these energies are "uncreated" and are thus God, though not His essence, these energies are then worshipped.  Am I correct?

We worship the persons. We worship the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
By participation in God's uncreated energies, that which is created becomes sanctified and thus worthy of veneration, but I do not believe we worship God's energies as such.

Iit is a basic priniple that God's energies are uncreated, for if they were created they could not make us divine any more than we can make ourselves divine. Only participation in divinity itself can make this change.

Poor analogy time regarding the essence/energy distinction.
Consider the sun to be God's essence and the light radiating from the sun to be His energies. If we try to seperate the energy from the essence then the energy simply ceases leaving a shadow in it's wake (for the sake of the analogy we ignore the existence of time and space since God is outside of both), thus the sun's energy is inseperable from its essence. We cannot participate in the essence of the sun as we would be burned to a crisp in an instant, however we can bask in its energy. We can only experience the sun through its energy.

John
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2005, 11:26:30 AM »

Dear Podromos,

I like the analogy.  I think I'll stop before I make anymore contradictions in my thoughts.  I'm going to try to investigate the matter of theosis in Church history to get a final analysis of interpretation.

Dear SN Bulgakov,

There's no need to apologize  Smiley.  Feel free to comment on anymore of the theologies of early fathers.  I'm glad to learn something here that perhaps I seem to be missing in my studies.

God bless you.
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2005, 03:42:43 PM »

Two questions:

1.  Are there any contradictory views concerning the energies of God as "created" vs. "uncreated" among other Holy Fathers?

2.  If we become God by His uncreated energies, doesn't that make us "uncreated"? 

The reason I ask is that as I read St. Athanasius' thesis "On the Incarnation," He tends to talk about a "unity" with the Divine as implied to the meaning of "becoming Divine."  But I've never seen anything in this book that mentions becoming His actual energies (in the sense that they are uncreated?)

God bless.
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« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2005, 10:36:02 AM »

Dear Mina,

Quote
.  Are there any contradictory views concerning the energies of God as "created" vs. "uncreated" among other Holy Fathers?

Depends,.. The Apologists do not develop it (but neither do they develop a theology of trinitarity) and speak in pre-theo-technical terminology. The early |Fathers, such as St. Clement of Alexandria, do not develop a theology of energies. In St. Clement that which is unkowable about God is the Father. The Father is therefore named "Bythos" or "Depth" by him. That which is knowable about God is accessible in the Son, He is the knowable God. This is due to the idea, common among pre-Nicene theologians, of a "broadening down of Godhead" through Father > Son > Holy Spirit (in that order). The Father is the strictly unknowable in Himself and the Son, being truly Divine with the Father's Divinity, is nevertheless "limited" in His Divinity so as to be knowable. The Son is the mediating principle between the world and God.

Only in Nicea and the creative application of Nicene theology by St. Athanasius the Apostolic, is this subordinationism overcome by making the Essence of the Trinity to be the unknowable depth of God, instead of the Father. St. Athanasius, however, not concerned with the question of Essence, Hypostasis, and Energy as such (he was mostly a christologist and not primarily a trinitologist) he does not develop a theology of essence and energy. The Cappadocians (trinitologists par excellence) took up this question and spoke of God the Trinity knowable in His Energies but not His Essence as connected to the doctrine of deification. They developed this theology in response to Eunomianism I do think.

However the Capopadocians did not develop the theology of Essence and Energies much beyond affirming that God is knowable in Hius Energies and denying that He is knowable in His Essence. It was the saintly author of the Corpus Aereopagiticum who first developed the idea that the Energies, or dynameis as he calls them, are the Super-essential Trinity Himself. These writings were taken to be as authoritative by St, Severus of Antioch and, at one time, were ascribed to him (wrongly however). These writings may very well stem from the circle of St. Severus of Antioch, for theologians in Syria at that time of such high quality are hard to find. The next time this issue was taken up was by St. Gregory Palamas who stood up to defend the monks practicing the ancient Jesus - Prayer as first known from teh 4-th century desert fathers (St. Evagrios ao.) Barlaam and Gregory Akindynos forced St. Gregory Palamas to develop atheology underpinning the experience of the "Uncreated Light" which expressed and a theology of Essence and Energies more systematically than ever before. St. Gregory was not an inventor, however. St. Gregory systematized and developed a tradition allready present since the Cappadocians.

And the question "created vs uncreated" was first posed at this time. The answer to it, ipso facto, was given at this time.

So,.. in the Fathers we find a theology of Energies in different stages of development.

Quote
2.  If we become God by His uncreated energies, doesn't that make us "uncreated"? 

Yes. We become God-by-grace and in that sense Uncreated-by-grace, in this sense St. Gregory Palamas uses precisely this terminology. Without, however, becoming God-by-nature and therefore neither becoming Uncreated-by-nature. Pantheism is fully excluded as much as dualism. If of anything, we should speak of pan-en-theism here.

SNB
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« Reply #17 on: August 01, 2005, 06:10:34 PM »

See, that is why I'm confused.  For we understand that the Word would be the one who is knowable to us and the Father is "unknowable" except through the Word.  But in Cappadocian terms, they are not concerned with one prosopon over the other, but rather energy vs. ousia.  In that case, it would make sense to understand how each member of the Trinity can also "appear" to us.

I think St. Athanasius also takes after St. Clement of Alexandria, for He mentions that the fall caused a seperation of the Image in us from the Divine Image, the Word of God.  When he teaches that "God became man so that man might become God," it meant to receive the grace of being God by the unity with the Word through the Incarnation.  How is it done?  Well, either you can adopt the Clementine idea of Trinity (the Word is known and is in us) or the Cappadocian idea (the energies are known and in us).

As a matter of fact, that analogy (with the Sun and the light) is also used as a Trinitarian analogy.

God bless.
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« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2005, 03:48:56 PM »

I've read both articles, and especially concentrated the most on Christos Yannaras' article.  While it was excellent and seemed to show a crucial difference, I don't think it's fair for Yannaras to conclude that the nondistinction of energy and essence in the Roman Church lead to their "downfall" as a Church.  The article rather than criticizing Fr. Garragues ended up pointing fingers and faults at the Roman Church for their alleged ignorance and alleged contribution in an "faulty" Western culture and thought without even explaining how so.

And while I see some sort of difference between the two theologies, I fail to see an ACTUAL and ESSENTIAL difference between the Catholic theosis and the Orthodox theosis.  Let's take one of the examples Yannaras used:  the music of Mozart.  In it, I seem to understand the difference between the natural energy, and how this energy is used by the Prosopon, i.e. the mode of the energy (it seems also that "energy" and "will" are used interchangeably).  This is how I understood it using the analogy of Mozart's music:

Mozart is the prosopon.  His ousia is evident.  His ousia has a certain characteristic of music as his energy.  Music however is not revealed unless Mozart uses it and then "creates" his music in "writing" (taken from "writing, color, music, and marble"), something that is "heteroessential" to his actual Music itself.

To take this further, we as Mozart's "creatures" participate in Mozart, become Mozart through his music, but not through his ousia (his own mind).  We become Mozart by "grace" of his music.

Now, on the one hand, Orthodox believe this music has an "existence" in and of itself, but on the other hand, Catholics believe this music does "not exist," but rather Mozart's ousia, his mind, is "active."  This is, in my humble opinion, an extremely minute difference!  For while the Orthodox believe that participation in Mozart's nature through His music is the theosis, the Catholics believe that we participate in Mozart's nature through his ousia's actions as theosis.

But this gets better.  Yannaris talks about the "heteroessential."  He explains so:

Quote
This example indicates that we can speak (together with St. Maximus) about two forms of energy of the same essence or nature: one form which is, as we called it, homogenous to the nature of the one who causes the energy (an ecstatic self-offering of nature in terms of personal otherness); and the other form which reveals itself out of essences heterogenous to the nature of the one who causes the energy, an energy that is effective on things external, according to which the actor acts on objects outside of himself and heterogenous, and obtains a result, which is made up of preexisting matter and is foreign to his own substance.

Therefore, as Mozart reveals his music through the writing of his music, then we have two forms of music, one that is homogenous to Mozart's essence, and one that is different from Mozart, heterogenous to his essence, but homogenous to, for example, paper and ink that reveals his music to us.

The mystery to me is precisely this:  How is Orthodox theosis any different from Catholic theosis?  For Catholic theologians seem to want to protect God's essence from being tampered and rather than being by grace God, we ACTUALLY become God.  Yet, Orthodox theologians do not want some mere will to change man, but some sort of change of man's nature through the communion between God and man done through energies.  And YET it seems to me that the Uncreated energies of God are revealed through created energies, created by God, still seperating God from the world, like the Catholics, yet having a mysterious communion and likeness.

Thus, continues my confusion.  The question I seem to be asking is "What's all this fuss about?"

God bless.

PS  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.
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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2005, 12:22:30 PM »

Well, I don't have some theological answer here but I sure know what theosis is in my own life. Sometimes it hurts but the results are always a bigger blessing. The situations I have encountered over my walk with God has always shown a flaw or sin that needs to be transformed. Most of the time I am left with a choice to either rebel against the transformation by not doing His will, or I can completely submit to it and simply give up and say "Lord not my will but yours". When I submit there is always something radical that happens spiritually and I am always amazed and astounded.

CS Lewis while not Orthodox with a big "O", was in many respects orthodox with a little "o". In his book "The Problem of Pain" he makes some very astute observations about pain being the largest and potentially most successful tool in the theosis transformation. He likens pain as a megaphone to rouse a deaf world. And the process of theosis is not just going through painful times, but any instance where your will conflicts with God's will. And man sometimes its rough, real rough. But the key is always willing to submit yourself to Christ and the Holy Spirit and allow him to transform you.
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« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2005, 11:03:18 AM »

IC XC NIKA

MS and/or SNB,

The Lord give you His peace.

I've read very little on Theosis (well, I suppose all spiritual reading has somewhat to do with Theosis; but just Theosis itself) and I was wondering if you guys could help answer a few questions I have on the topic:

1)Does one reach Theosis in this life (I've kind of always understood it happening after we die, but I'm guessing I'm wrong)?

2)How does one "know" (if there is a way to know) when he/she has reached Theosis.  In other words, are there "spiritual gifts" associated with it; and if there are spiritual gifts, if one doesn't have them, is it possible for one to still be in Theosis?

3)Is if possible for those not living a monastic (in the literal meaning of the word, since we are all called to life the monastic life in some way or form)life to reach Theosis?

4)Does one need to understand the doctrine of Theosis to reach it's heights (I would guess no, since in early times, many monastics weren't able to read; and I'm quite sure many did reach Theosis.  But, I could be wrong)?

5)Once reaching Theosis, is it possible to fall out of Theosis (through sin, and so forth)?

6)Is it possible for only Orthodox Christians to obtain?

7)Does one need to "pray always" to reach Theosis?  Or does Theosis allow us to pray always?

8)What is a good book on Theosis, for someone with a moderate vocabulary (that is, me)?

in Christ, your pupil
shawn


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« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2005, 11:49:27 AM »

About Theosis, I Think this is a good book: http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b02.en.orthodox_psychotherapy.00.htm
Also this: http://www.pelagia.org/htm/b01.en.a_night_in_the_desert_of_the_holy_mountain.00.htm

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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2005, 11:29:19 PM »

Dear Shawn,

You raised very very very interesting questions, of which I wonder if it really matters whether or not one has to believe that we in fact "change" into an energy, no matter how that is defined.ÂÂ  I mean I'm still perplexed; is it fair to say that if the RCC doesn't the energy of God to be an actual "existence" in and of itself, does that merit their downfall as a church?  I've always blamed their downfall on their Roman papal beliefs, not their theosis beliefs.

God bless.
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« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2005, 01:29:20 AM »

http://Go GO Go
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« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2005, 04:29:34 PM »

IC XC NIKA
To MS and/or SNB again,
The Lord give you His peace.
Q. 9:  Is there a difference between saying we share IN the nature of God and we share OF the nature of God?  Please get detailed (but, keep the vocab easy lol).
in Christ,
shawn
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« Reply #25 on: August 12, 2005, 01:37:39 PM »

Q. 9:ÂÂ  Is there a difference between saying we share IN the nature of God and we share OF the nature of God?ÂÂ  Please get detailed (but, keep the vocab easy lol).
in Christ,
shawn

Hi, long time no talkie. I'll try to help you out here.

In 1 Peter 1:4 the phrase in question is a genetive plural construction. Greek is a declined language of 4 classes (5 actually, but never mind that). The Genitive is used mostly to show possession, i.e.: Bob's ball/the ball of Bob. The usually translation of the genitive is "of", but, obviously, a genitive construct in Greek does not equal the English word "of" 1 to 1. So, some translate this "of" and some translate it "in". How to determine between "of" and "in" (or other prepositions that the genitive may entail) has everything to do with context, context, context. Now, if one wishes to take the "literal" meaning and translate the genitive as it is normally done with "of" a literal translation must be done with the whole surrounding context. Doing this I have arrived at: "through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue, through which are given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that by these you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." The key here is the word "these" which refer back to "glory and virtue". Now, if the promises that are compounded upon our calling to glory and virtue leads to to become partakers "of" the divine nature, I fail to see how that is any different from saying the same thing with the word "in". In any case, the Greek shows that the divine nature is in the possession of the partakers, and both "of" and "in" express that equally as well, imo.

So, simply, the reading of the text does not allow there to be any different interpretation based upon "of" or "in". Therefore, there is no difference. Or, there shouldn't be.

One example of this is Thomas Aquinas. He consistently uses the Latin genitive declension when he speaks of this phrase (and since Latin has more cases then Greek, this leads us to assume that the strict genitive is meant in the Greek) and says "partakers of the divine nature", yet he arrives at a full and complete ontological divinization which rivals the best that theologies of theosis of St. John Chyrsostom and St. Gregory the Theologian. So no, the translation "of" is no grounds for minimizing theosis to moral attainment only.

I think that the problems we have is because Eastern Theology has no method to speak of sanctification as the west does. Instead, in the east the doctrines of justification and sanctification are collapsed into parts of theosis, while in the west there is (according to Aquinas himself) the three step process justification/sanctification/divinization. Indeed, the very words are Latin, so it is no wonder that they form an integral part of Catholic and Protestant theology (Protestant theology skipping over the divinization part of course). In the eastern theology I see more of the sense that these three are all aspects of theosis. Because of this, I consider it to be wholly wrong, and indeed foolish, to try to read into certain Eastern theologians and interpret them as teaching that theosis is simply one aspect of the justification/sanctification/divinization. In the east, one does not exclude the other, theosis is BOTH justification AND sanctifiication AND divinization. The versa is not true, divinization is NOT BOTH justification AND sanctification as well. Therefore, strictly speaking, using the words theosis and divinization as interchangable is false. Theosis is a much broader term than divinization ever was or ever shall be in western theology, yes, the end result is the same as theosis, but their contents are very different. I hope I am making myself clear here. Just try to think: what word in eastern theology is used as the equivalent of the latin word sanctification? I've thought long and hard, and have concluded that it doesn't exist (please correct me if you can think of one). Why doesn't it exist? Because we have no need, everything that is part of the word sanctification is a part of what we call theosis. However, theosis most definitely is not limited to sanctification. And I worry of people who are trying to make it exactly that.

Of course, it is easier to understand what santification fully means to western theology if you grew up Baptist.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #26 on: August 12, 2005, 01:41:49 PM »

Dear Mina,

Quote
PS  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.

Theosis, necessarily[/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?


S_N_B
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« Reply #27 on: August 12, 2005, 06:52:20 PM »

IC XC NIKA
Xaira,
May our good Lord give you His peace.
First off, I want to congratulate you and Mr. Wassen for your 2 months together Tongue (with all respect).
I won't say I completly (or even sort of) understood your post; it's truly not your fault, I'm just a little slow.  However, once I get it, I get it lol.
Anywho, I think if you could explain to me what you mean by "divinization" I'll understand your post a lot more.  I think you are right, and I definitly fall into this catagory, that we often understand "Theosis" and "Divinization" to be the same thing.  Xaira, may you be kind enough to give me your definition of Theosis?  As you have stated, it is justification, sanctification, and divinization all in one; please add more to this if there is more to add.  I recall SNB stating that Theosis is not apart of salvation; but salvation is apart of Theosis.  Could you (and I'm sure SNB will read this, and be able to answer for himself; but hey...) comment on this as well, in your definition?
I think it would also help, if it is possible (since it seems from my reading that you said it isn't), if you defined justification, sanctification, and divinization all individually.  You lost me when you stated this:

"In the east, one does not exclude the other, theosis is BOTH justification AND sanctifiication AND divinization. The versa is not true, divinization is NOT BOTH justification AND sanctification as well."

You really lost me at the "versa" and so on after that.

Well, I hope my question is easy to understand, and hopefully even easier to answer.  I'll give your post a few more reads over, and I hope I'll be able to enlightened by your post.

in XC, your pupil,
shawn
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2005, 07:49:40 AM »

coptic orthodox boy,

Quickly, Justification is being made right with God (="saved" for Aquinas and most of subsequest Catholic/Protestant theology), Sanctification is being made holy in God, Divinization is partaking of God. At least, that's how Thomas Aquinas breaks it down. In the East all of these things we include under the category of "theosis". However, in the west, divinization, properly speaking, does not include justification and sanctification. Though, obviously, in western theology all three steps are contigent upon eachother. I hope I am being more clear Smiley .

Just realize that both east and west had to use their respective languages (Greek/Latin) and in Latin terminology there came to be 3 words used to describe something that in Greek is just one word (theosis). One can say that justification/sanctification/divinization are the "steps" of theosis I suppose, though I am wary of using Latin words to explain a Greek word!

The wisdom of the three-fold system of theosis as laid out by Aquinas is still of questionable merit to me. In justifiaction he does use the Augustinian idea of preveniant grace (that God gives us the grace whereby to have faith in the first place whereby we are justified), something that the east has absolutely no use for, though Aquinas still (somehow) manages to keep free-will in there by doing Aristotelian gymnastics. I suppose this is another case where the east can accuse the west of over-theologizing about the minutae and grinding themselves into a theology of nothing more than jots and tittles, yet at the same time Aquinas uses preveniant grace to show that faith is beyond rational understanding or acheivement. As you and the person who first started this thread testify, we do feel a need to break down theosis into managable parts, and perhaps the Aquinian three-fold system helps make it clearer for you.

I have started reading through a little book on Aquinas' doctrinal theology, and instead of interpreting Aquinas through later Thomism or Augustinian it, *gasp*, interprets Aquinas by.....Aquinas. It's rehabilitating Aquinas somewhat for me (I could raise the question "Was Thomas Aquinas a Thomist?" lol), though still, some things he says still offends my basic sensibilities, yet he is not the slave to Augustinianism that I (and most) think him to be. That he even has a doctrine of divinization is amazing enough seeing as Augustine had absolutely no use for such a thing in his preveniant/predestined system, Aquinas is, obviously, following eastern theology on this point, and I would be interested to know more about which eastern fathers he read. When I get a chance I will see about quoting from a bit of that book and what Aquinas says about this subject.

Hope this helps a little.................
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« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2005, 08:39:16 AM »

Dear Shawn,

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1)Does one reach Theosis in this life (I've kind of always understood it happening after we die, but I'm guessing I'm wrong)?

One does not so much reach theosis. I think it is best understood in relation to St. Gregory of Nyssa's doctrine of epektasis unending spiritual growth. Our progression in living a godly life, and thereby being united with the Threepersoned God in His Uncreated Energies, has a beginning, but no end. It is a progression of the finite into/towards the Infinite; hence this proces is unending. Theosis begins in your life at baptism, but it progresses as you progress in your spiritual life (ascetism, partaking of the Mysteries, prayer). On the other hand, there is a definite point where God becomes all-in-all for you. This can be said to be the fully deified state. The only persons to have achieved this state are the Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. But this state, for us creatures, is not static, but rather dynamic; the growth never stops. Theosis might be understood as having an antinomic character.

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2)How does one "know" (if there is a way to know) when he/she has reached Theosis.ÂÂ  In other words, are there "spiritual gifts" associated with it; and if there are spiritual gifts, if one doesn't have them, is it possible for one to still be in Theosis?

You know theosis has begun in you, when you are baptized in Christ and His Spirit. The Incarnation and Pentecost bestow the grace of theosis on you, and work it in you as they become accessible for you in the Mysteries of the Church, and prayer. Sometimes, we even receive visible manifestations of it, such as reported by N. Motovilov in his "Dialogue with St. Seraphim of Sarov" (highly recommended reading).

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3)Is if possible for those not living a monastic (in the literal meaning of the word, since we are all called to life the monastic life in some way or form)life to reach Theosis?

Yes. The non-monastic life is as salvific as is that of the monastic way. They do not differ in this. They are merely different ways to the same salvation and theosis for different people. A monastic is called to this life because it is his or her gift, not because it is a higher way. The angelic life has different gifts and struggles from the non-monastic life; but their difference should not be sought on the level of salvific value but on the level of vocation and God's call. If God calls you to a non-monastic life He will grant you the same salvation as He grants the monastic.

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4)Does one need to understand the doctrine of Theosis to reach it's heights (I would guess no, since in early times, many monastics weren't able to read; and I'm quite sure many did reach Theosis.ÂÂ  But, I could be wrong)?

St. Evagrios says a theologian is one who prays truly, if you pray truly you are a theologian. Theologians are all in the proces of theosis, one does not need to be an Orthodox Einstein to have theosis. One needs to be obedient to Christ our God with all the gifts He has entrusted to us. Theosis is God's grace, and He has equal opportunities for all His creatures. God is not a capitalistÂÂ  Wink

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5)Once reaching Theosis, is it possible to fall out of Theosis (through sin, and so forth)?

It is possible to fall away from God and to incur His wrath on you, instead of His salvation, yes. Even those who were once on the Right Path. This is why we pray for those who fall away from Orthodoxy in destroying heresies in the intercessions of the daily prayers (Myriobiblios Prayerbook; Morning Prayers, commemoration of the living and the departed). Orthodoxy knows nothing of the Calvinist "osas" (Once Saved Always Saved). But it is impossible to destroy the Image of God in you, completely. As St. Gregory the Theologian says: For it would not be right for the Great God's Image to disintegrate in formlessness, like mindless lizards and kine, even though sin has brought it to a mortal condition. Poem 1.1.8, De Anima; p. 62 of "On God and Man."

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6)Is it possible for only Orthodox Christians to obtain?

Theosis is attainable only in relation to Christ, and it is given by means of the Mysteries and prayer-union with God. The further one is removed from the source, the more difficult it becomes to attain theosis. Those who want to be saved must come to Christ, and be united to Him in His Church. For the Church is the personal presence of Christ in our world.

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7)Does one need to "pray always" to reach Theosis?ÂÂ  Or does Theosis allow us to pray always?

Both.

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8)What is a good book on Theosis, for someone with a moderate vocabulary (that is, me)?

The Orthodox Church by HG Kallistos Bishop of Diokleia contains a very good section on theosis:

The Orthodox Church; On God and Man Just scroll down the page till you get to it.

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Q. 9:  Is there a difference between saying we share IN the nature of God and we share OF the nature of God?  Please get detailed (but, keep the vocab easy lol).

No. No such difference. Easy enough right? LOL Grin Wink


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For scripture says, God is seated where He is known  (Pr 11 :16) ; and thus the pure nous is said to be a throne of God.

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« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2005, 09:02:29 PM »

IC XC NIKA
Xaira and SNB,
The Lord give you His peace.
Yes, thank you Xaira, I believe now I have a better understanding with you second post under this topic.  As they say over there, "Danke sern, wo bist meine beir?!" BUWUWUHAHAHHAHAHHAA (sorry, to much sugar, or should I say zucher BUWUAHAHAHHA?).

SNB, it's funny about my little invitation on the yahoo group; because everyday so far I've come across something really interesting in "On God and Man."  Anywho, I came across a passage, and I hope you can shed some light on it.

From St. Gregory's "On God and Man" page 41, verses 45-50:
"For all that once was not is but a creature, even if a thing perdures, and stands as fixed, through God's great reasons.  And why, bold sir, when starting point was this, that, through Christs's sufferings, you may become god hereafter, do you then make him go in chains, and call him your co-slave, honoring him with gifts for slavery, instead of for being God?"

Q 1.As you can see in the bold, why does our father St. Gregory use the lower case "god" in your opinion (obviously, you can't ask him and get an answer; or can you Huh)?


Q 2.  When we say we share in the Nature of God, it is through (or in, is there a difference here as well; that is through vs. in) His Energies, correct?

Q 3.  What is un-created-grace mean?

in XC, your pupil,
shawn

p.s.  I rock peas on my head, but don't call me a peahead.
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« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2005, 09:14:57 AM »

IC XC NIKA
SNB and Xaira,
The Lord give you His peace.

Another interesting quote from our father in the Faith St. Gregory.ÂÂ  FromÂÂ  "On God and Man" Pg: 53, verses 95-96:
"all-luminous; to it the man of God wends his way from here later,once he's perfected as god, purified in mind and flesh."

Once more, why does St. Gregory use the lower case "god" when, I guess, he is speaking on Theosis.ÂÂ  Perhaps an incorrect translation?ÂÂ  I'm stumped.

in XC,
shawn
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« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2005, 10:24:59 AM »

From St. Dionysius (Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, The Celestial Hierarchy, Chap. One sect. 2; Paulist Press pgs. 145-146):

 
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    "To the best of our abilities, we should raise our eyes to the paternally transmitted enlightenment coming from sacred scripture and, as far as we can, we should behold the intelligent hierarchies of heaven and we should do so in accordance with what scripture has revealed to us in symbolic and uplifting fashion. We must lift up the immaterial and steady eyes of our minds to that outpouring of Light which is so primal, indeed much more so, and which comes from that source of divinity, I mean the Father. This is the Light which, by way of representative symbols, makes known to us the most blessed hierarchies among the angels. But we need to rise from this outpouring of illumination so as to come to the simple ray of Light itself."
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« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2005, 10:45:14 AM »

IC XC NIKA
SNB and Xaira,
The Lord give you His peace.

Another interesting quote from our father in the Faith St. Gregory.ÂÂ  FromÂÂ  "On God and Man" Pg: 53, verses 95-96:
"all-luminous; to it the man of God wends his way from here later,once he's perfected as god, purified in mind and flesh."

Once more, why does St. Gregory use the lower case "god" when, I guess, he is speaking on Theosis.ÂÂ  Perhaps an incorrect translation?ÂÂ  I'm stumped.

in XC,
shawn

Dear Brother in Christ,

There is no small 'g' god and big 'g' God. All become united to the ONE God and therefore become God by grace, God through περιχώρησις circumcession of Grace and Love. I don't know if it is a mistranslation to use the small 'g' God, but it is implied that we do not replace the Supreme God, the Father, nor are we added as extra persons to the Holy Trinity as being united to God by essence. Capitalisation of letters for expressing the greatness of God is a new convention in Holy Scripture and modern theological writings.

Please read what Jesus prayer of "Perichoresis" asks for.John 17:22 - "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one"
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« Reply #34 on: August 16, 2005, 11:18:25 AM »

IC XC NIKA
Kosmas,
The Lord give you His peace.
Thanks, you hit my question right on the head. 
in XC,
shawn
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« Reply #35 on: August 16, 2005, 01:14:28 PM »

Dear Shawn,


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Q 1.As you can see in the bold, why does our father St. Gregory use the lower case "god" in your opinion (obviously, you can't ask him and get an answer; or can you )?

Uhm,.. sure you can. It is my habit to pray to a saint who wrote a certain book to help me understand what the Lord revealed to him/her.

I think it is the translator who uses lower case and upper case "g" to indicate that St. Gregory does not promote monism or pantheism. Kosmas has explained this very eloquently and quite correctly.


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Q 2.  When we say we share in the Nature of God, it is through (or in, is there a difference here as well; that is through vs. in) His Energies, correct?

Nope. No such difference. Partaking in/of is the same thing. Its an arbitrary thing to make them mean different things. St. Peter speaks of koinonia in refernce to the Divine Nature, a term St. Basil used as the equivalent (and even suprior to) the Nicene homoousion. St. Basil, you will note, never calls the Holy Spirit homoousion with the Father, he uses the terminology of koinonia. Theosis is koinonia with God; ie participation IN - OF the Nature of God.

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Q 3.  What is un-created-grace mean?

It means you are dealing with the Energies of God.  Wink

S_N_B
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For scripture says, God is seated where He is known  (Pr 11 :16) ; and thus the pure nous is said to be a throne of God.

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« Reply #36 on: August 16, 2005, 04:33:02 PM »

IC XC NIKA
SNB
The Lord give you His peace,
You quote:
Uhm,.. sure you can. It is my habit to pray to a saint who wrote a certain book to help me understand what the Lord revealed to him/her.


That's really weird.  I picked up the practice from a wise man (though, in his early 30's) with a beard, who is from the Netherlands.  Perhaps you know him Wink.

in XC,
shawn
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« Reply #37 on: August 16, 2005, 04:35:45 PM »

Dunno,.. are there wise men from the Netherlands?

S_N_B Grin
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For scripture says, God is seated where He is known  (Pr 11 :16) ; and thus the pure nous is said to be a throne of God.

[Evagrios the Solitary, Peri Logismoi 41
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