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Theosis: what it's all about Login/Join 
posted
We've touched on this topic before, but I don't think it's had its own thread. So here we go, with a good web site to describe what it's all about:<br /><br />- http://frimmin.com/faith/theosis.html

- - -

Addenda: September 13, 2012

See http://shalomplace.com/theosis/ for image concepts.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh yes, this is what I'm interested in. Thank you. Looks like a good site!

Katy
 
Posts: 535 | Location: Sarasota, Florida | Registered: 17 November 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I read the whole article. I love it! It is what I have believed but never knew how to put into words like that! I may not be too far gone after all. :-)

I have renewed hope for myself.. Christ in me, that is.

Katy
 
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Excellent web page Phil. Thanks so much for sharing it. After having read it, I'm speechless.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The writer of that article also has some funny links like this one:

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/numa

... makes me smile like crazy!
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I stumbled across the above mentioned website about 2 months ago. I really enjoyed what the author wrote.

I am currently researching Theosis as it is the topic of my Honours Thesis. I still have a lot of work to do though and i'm supposed to have it finished by the end of the year...help...all prayers deeply appreciated.

I am interested in the development of the doctrine, and whether or not it has any relationship to physical evolution. Anybody have any thoughts Smiler
 
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Numa Numa was a big hit in Eastern Europe a couple of years ago. My son got hold of a music video the group did, which was equally hilarious, even though they meant it to be a serious film.

-----

What you find in this teaching is something radically different from the New Age teaching that we are divine. Theosis as taught by the early Fathers of the Church is first and foremost a work of grace made possible by Christ. Through the union between humanity and divinity effected in his risen body, the Spirit is accessible to us in a new and deeper manner. It's a coherent, congruent, and thoroughly orthodox teaching, but one that, for some reason, is seldom taught in most churches. One has to dig around a bit to find it.

------

Jacques . . . physical evolution? Not sure what you mean.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Jacques:
[qb]I am interested in the development of the doctrine, and whether or not it has any relationship to physical evolution. Anybody have any thoughts Smiler [/qb]
Do you have an adviser who is actually encouraging you to explore that possible relationship? the relationship to physical evolution sounds pretty unworkable to me.

But as to the history of the doctrine of theosis, that sounds like a wonderful topic to explore in depth. Then, how about looking at how and in what context it might have practical import in ministry.

Best wishes in your study.
 
Posts: 455 | Location: Baltimore | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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re: "relationship between theosis and evolution", no, not the line of my thesis (thesis is on the history and contemporary expressions of the doctrine).

I was just wondering along the lines of theosis as the process leading to the apex of the spiritual journey while evolution is the process leading to the apex of the physical journey.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Jacques:
[qb]
I was just wondering along the lines of theosis as the process leading to the apex of the spiritual journey while evolution is the process leading to the apex of the physical journey. [/qb]
I'm still unconvinced. That sounds kind of like a Hindu mystic science, like Gopi Krishna who is fond of seeing spiritual progress as evolutionary, or maybe like Tillard de Chardan a fossel digger who theorized about the goal, the telos, of human evolution in Christ.

But you are in a bible college. Do you and/or your teachers accept the theory of evolution?

How far along are you with this thesis? Do you have an adviser with whom you have discussed it?
 
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<HeartPrayer>
posted
One thought:

The idea of the "self" as divine, is radically different from
the concept that the "Self" (big S) being created in the Image
of God.

The former has all to do with ego. The latter, nothing.
 
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I'm OK with the idea of tracking evolution in terms of increasing complexity and consciousness, as Teilhard de Chardin wrote about. Seen from this perspective, human are the most evolved, as our brains are more complex and our consciousness more developed than other animals.

Somewhere, C.S. Lewis wrote an essay on Christianity and Evolution, noting that the next rung on the evolutionary ladder was not necessarily bigger brains, but that Christ had initiated the next stage by connecting the human and divine consciousness in and through his Person. This is totally in accord with the doctrine of theosis, and so one could make the point that theosis is an evolutionary movement -- only one furthered by grace rather than competition/natural selection.
 
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<HeartPrayer>
posted
Good point! Both Teilhard de Chardin and CS Lewis (one my favourit apologists) express a deep understanding of Christian truths.

I hold that there need be no conflict whatsoever between divine creation and the theory of evolution. And that we are, in fact, doing God a disservice if we insist that "six days" are to be interpreted as six days as we understand them.

For does not the Bible say: "With the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like on day."

(No, this is not a formula, but indicates that God�s timeframe is beyond our comprehension.)
 
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Right, HP. Most Scripture scholars do not take the Genesis account of creation to be so literally as fundamentalists do. It's mythological writing, which is not to say that is expresses falsehood, but that it is a story intended to convey truth.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
This is totally in accord with the doctrine of theosis, and so one could make the point that theosis is an evolutionary movement -- only one furthered by grace rather than competition/natural selection.
OK, the idea has potential. Not where I would want to go with a study of theosis. But thankfully, not everyone is like me.

Best wishes in your study, Jacques
 
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I quite like this theosis idea too. Although I'm not 100% sold on some of the argument and terminology. For the time being, I much prefer the idea that God wants me to be fully, wholly and completely ME ie what He intended me to be, what He created and what I ought to be had sin not distorted me. Perhaps this means to be as God. Perhaps to be fully Me is to be as God. But to be like God isn't to be God, right?

Also, the arguments he uses from scripture seem problematic to me - Sons of God, Bride of Christ, Body of Christ. The Bride and the Body are collective terms. They refer to the Church. But within that collective, I retain my individuality. So while the Body and Bride may become one with Christ as a whole, I still retain my own unique Me-ness as part of that Body. It all seems quite paradoxical, which I suppose is okay.

And Sons of the Father. Very good. But to be like my father isn't necessarily to be my father. And sometimes I can be a son of my father without being like him. And sometimes I can take part in the glorious inheritance of the children of God without being like God, or can I? Like Him but not LIKE Him. To be like Christ isn't to be Christ and yet there is that oneness. It's to share the same glorious metaphysical bits and bobs without actually being Him.

I suppose it's what we understand by the terminology. I'm all for union with God. But I'm me not Him. He may be in me and I may be in Him but we're not the same. Where does one draw the line. A paradox, a lot of which makes sense. A lot of which I find my comprehension.


"I am the Walrus" - John Lennon.
 
Posts: 464 | Location: UK | Registered: 28 May 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Stephen, the concept of deification (and the experience of it) isn't about one's identity so much as about transformation by grace unto participation in the divine nature. We are never going to be God by nature/being, nor will be cease to be ourselves, but we do share in the divine life in such manner that this life becomes the life by means of which we live. Also, the gifts of the Spirit become ways in which we know and interact.

Does that make sense?
 
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<HeartPrayer>
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What a beautiful way of putting it! Smiler
 
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Yeah, Phil, I do get that and am starting to really appreciate it. Thanks. Filled to the fullness!
 
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Here's a wonderful verse that means so much in the light of theosis and the second coming:

"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4)
 
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Yes, that's it. Imagine branches grafted onto the stock of another tree. The branch is still "itself," only a new Life flows through it, bringing for new fruit. As you know, Jesus used this analogy to explain his relationship with us in Jn. 15.

In the series on "The Way of Christian Spirituality" (see link in header above), I wrote (Conference 3) of a distinction to be made between theistic spirituality and theotic (mystical) spirituality. My observation has been that most churches teach more of a theistic flavor of Christianity than theotic. Some put their foot in the water, but don't go very deep into it. Here's the relevant section:
quote:
- Theistic Religious Traditions

How God and the human interact and inter-relate is the primary
concern of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, and all three share a
common message, to a large degree (though you wouldn't guess,
sometimes, by the way we get along). A few themes you will find in
all three are as follows:

1. God is transcendent -- a Being whose existence is immeasurably
greater and beyond anything conceivable to the finite human spirit.

2. God created all that is. Creatures owe their lives and existence
to God. This fact is the basis of religion -- that our lives ought
to be oriented toward God, our Creator.

3. God is also good, beyond all human knowing, but not in an
anthropomorphic sense. Because God is good, what God creates is
good, and that includes human beings.

4. Sin has damaged the relationship between God and human beings.
By sin, here, what is meant is the misuse of human freedom and
intelligence in such a manner as to assert the human spirit
over-and-against God. Terrible consequences have come to the human
race from this transgression, none the least of which is the loss
of a sense of intimacy with God.

5. God has taken the initiative and revealed a way back to right
relationship. In Judaism, that way is the Law; in Islam, it is
expressed through the Koran; in Christianity, that way is Christ.

Granted the many practical differences in #5, one can nonetheless
appreciate all that these theistic religions hold in common.

- - -

- Theistic Christian Spirituality

With all these pieces from conferences 1, 2, and the above on the
table, now, we can begin to say something about Christian
spirituality. In its purely theistic manifestation, we note that it
is a spirituality focused on the revelation of God through Christ.
Revelation is the telling factor, here, with Jesus viewed the Way,
the Truth and the Life, providing connection between the human
spirit and God.

As the Truth, Jesus shows us Who God is and what God expects from
human beings, thus satisfying the thirst of our rational
intelligence for clarity and understanding concerning God.
Furthermore, through his resurrection and ascension, Jesus shows us
something of our human destiny, answering those deep questions we
have concerning the ultimate meaning of life.

As the Way, Jesus shows us through teaching and example how we
ought to live, bringing proper orientation to the human will. This
Way is shown to be love -- insanely generous love! -- which gives
to those in need out of one's own need, responds to evil by doing
good, and, ultimately, sacrifices one's life for the welfare of
friends.

As the Life, we experience our self-awareness to be informed
through identification with Christ in such a manner as we come to
know ourselves to be sons and daughters of God. This new identity
cannot be taken away from us, for its foundation is in heaven,
where it cannot be destroyed.

Obviously, theistic Christian spirituality offers a significantly
different way to form the human spirit than one finds in Judaism
and Islam (not to mention the Eastern pathways). It draws its
meaning and focus from Christ, who is considered the definitive
revelation of God, and, hence, the One upon Whom we can build our
human lives knowing that we have, in Him, a solid cornerstone.

This way of Christian spirituality is summed up nicely in an
Internet course on Christian spirituality offered by St. John in
the Wilderness Episcopal Church:
- see http://www.stjohnadulted.org/spir_1.htm

"Christianity Spirituality is the quest for a fulfilled and
authentic life, that involves
taking the beliefs and values of Christianity and weaving them into
the fabric of our lives so that they "animate," provide the
"breath" and "spirit" and "fire" for our lives."

- - -

Theotic Christian Spirituality

If the Word incarnated in Christ had only died, risen and ascended,
it would have been enough to contribute to a very high theistic
spirituality, such as outlined above. In addition, theological
implications such as heaven and hell could have been affirmed,
along with a vast array of ethical, ecclesial, and liturgical
practices. But the ascension was not the end of the story, as we
know. In fact, this Sunday, we celebrate the next great surprise in
the unfolding Christian story -- Pentecost, the day God shared with
us the Holy Spirit. This marvelous Gift enables us to participate
in God's very life and, through this intimate exchange, find our
own human life transformed into a likeness of Christ.

The Greek term, theosis, captures best this new dimension of
spirituality. It is difficult to translate into any language,
meaning something like "divinization" or "deification" --
literally, becoming God. It is what St. Irenaus, writing early in
Christian history, meant when he wrote that "God became man so that
man might become God." By this, he is not intending to say that we
will eventually be transformed so that our human nature disappears
and we turn into God. The paradigm for this process is Christ, who
perfectly joins the human and divine in such a manner that the
divine life informs everything about his human life. Our destiny in
God is in Christ, made possible through the power of the Holy
Spirit working within us.

"If we are capable of loving, it is because we are responding to
God's love: God first loves us. Love becomes incarnate and comes to
us in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is this love that is poured out in our
hearts. Thus we are loving God by means of God; the Spirit enables
us to share in the love which the Father loves the Son and the Son
the Father. Love casts us into the Trinitarian realms; the
Trinitarian realms are those of love."
- Olivier Clement, "The Roots of Christian Mysticism" -

This quote communicates something of the difference between theistic
Christian spirituality and theotic Christian spirituality in the
phrase, "we are loving by means of God." Not only that, but even the
functions of awareness and intelligence become infused with God's
very awareness and intelligence.

"After all, the depths of a person can only be known by his or her
own spirit, not by any other human being, and in the same way the
depths of God can only be known by the Spirit of God. Now instead
of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes
from God, to teach us to understand the gifts that God has given
us. Therefore we teach, not in the way in which philosophy is
taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach
spiritual things spiritually . . . we are those who have the mind
of Christ."
- 1 Cor. 1: 11-16

We are no longer talking about a transformation of character based
on valuing what Christ valued in the way he valued it (theistic
Christian spirituality), but actual participation in God's very
life so that out human ways of perceiving, valuing and knowing now
operate "in the way the Spirit teaches us." This Spirit is more
than enthusiasm for Christ, but the Divine Principle Itself,
dwelling within the human soul, coaching, guiding, informing, and
transforming us all throughout our lives.
 
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<HeartPrayer>
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
We are ... talking about ...actual participation in God's very
life so that out human ways of perceiving, valuing and knowing now operate "in the way the Spirit teaches us." This Spirit is more
than enthusiasm for Christ, but the Divine Principle Itself,
dwelling within the human soul, coaching, guiding, informing, and
transforming us all throughout our lives.
Perhaps that is what it means "to be established in prayer"?
In the sense of the Biblical command: "pray without cease".

It really does entail a new perception, a New Life! Smiler

All too often, however, prayer is looked upon as a one-way monologue aimed at divine ears. That is something else.

To me, prayer is "the art of listening with the heart" -- to God, and to all that God embraces and seeks to embrace!
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Stephen:
[qb]"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4) [/qb]
Stephen's comments are very close to my thoughts, only better said. Thanks for the inspirational conversation.
 
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Friends, I have just uploaded a series of images that depicts my understanding of the theotic process.
- See http://shalomplace.com/theosis/
 
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I know that the posts here are more than a year old. But the topic is very relevant to me. To become like God in are actions to participate in the Divine for me is only a dream. I read the page on Theosis and found very enlightening.
 
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