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Theosis

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it
{{cleanup|Needs to be Orthodoxized.}}
{{spirituality}}
'''''Theosis'''''("deification, meaning '''''deification''''' or '''''" "divinization") is the process of a worshiper becoming free of ''hamartía'''("missing the mark"), is the process of man becoming [[holy]] and being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the bodily [[resurrection]]. ''Theosis'' For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis (see 2 Pet. 1:4) is the understanding salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the life Life or Nature of the all-[[Holy Trinity from the beginning]]. Therefore, we are an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (''hamartía'from'— which is not to be confused with '' sin hamártēma''“sin”) for participation in the Life (''zōé'', not simply 'for'bíos'' participation in the life ) of the Trinity— which is everlasting. This is not to be confused with the heretical (apothéōsis) - "''Deification in God’s Essence''", which is life-giving and therefore eternalimparticipable.
''Alternative spellings: Theiosis, Theopoiesis''
== Orthodox theology ==
The statement by [[Saint|St.]] [[Athanasius of Alexandria]], "The Son of God became man, that we might become Godgod", [the second g is always lowercase since man can never become a God] indicates the concept beautifully. II Peter 1:4 says that we have become " . . . partakers of divine nature." Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature" (''De Incarnatione'', I). What would otherwise seem absurd, that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy, has been made possible through [[Jesus]] [[Christ]], who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of ''theosis'' - it is not possible for any created being to become, [[ontology|ontologically]], God or even another god.
Through ''[[theoria]]'', the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, human beings come to know and experience what it means to be fully human (the created image of God); through their communion with Jesus Christ God shares Himself with the human race, in order to conform them to all that God is in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. ''Theosis'' also asserts the complete restoration of all people (and of the entire creation), in principle. This is built upon the understanding of the [[atonement]] put forward by [[Irenaeusof Lyons]], called "recapitulation.".
For many fathers, ''theosis'' goes beyond simply restoring people to their state before the Fall of [[Adam ]] and [[Eve]], teaching that because Christ united the human and divine natures in his person, it is now possible for someone to experience closer fellowship with God than Adam and Eve initially experienced in the Garden of Eden, and that people can become more like God than Adam and Eve were at that time. Some Orthodox theologians go so far as to say that Jesus would have become [[Incarnation|incarnate]] for this reason alone, even if Adam and Eve had never sinned.
All of humanity is fully restored to the full potential of humanity because the Son of God took to Himself a human nature to be born of a woman, and takes to Himself also the sufferings due to sin (yet is not Himself a sinful man, and is God unchanged in His being). In Christ, the two natures of God and human are not two persons but one; thus, a union is effected in Christ, between all of humanity and God. So, the holy God and sinful humanity are reconciled in principle, in the one sinless man, Jesus Christ. (See Jesus's prayer as recorded in [[Gospel of John|John]] [http://drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=50&ch=017 17].)
== Comparative considerations ==
=== Union with God, East and ''Theosis'' in the Christian West ===In Western Catholic theology, Although the doctrine of ''theosis'' refers came to a specific and rather advanced phase of contemplation of God. [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10663b.htm] The process of arriving to such a statebe neglected in the Western Church, or moving toward it (was clearly taught in the Roman Catholic tradition as late as arrival there is not necessary for [[salvation]])the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas, involves different types of prayer who taught that "full participation in divinity which are recognized as beneficial. Various stages is humankind's true beatitude and the destiny of prayer human life are recognized as being likely to occur should a person respond to faith by moving along the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways" (''Summa Theologiae'' 3.1. See [[ascetical theology]]2).
===Some Western writers refer Protestant use of the term "theosis"===In addition to theosis using the same implications given above (e.g., [http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ184.HTM], [http://www.kensmen.com/catholic/purgatory.html]). It is common to find western writings that suggest that eastern spirituality manifests strong currents of ''theosis'' in early and that by implication the West is lacking in this regardsome contemporary Catholic theology, but this is one can find it as a case of rhetoric obscuring factrecurring theme within Anglicanism: under different terminology the western spiritual traditionsin Lancelot Andrewes (17th c.), which also reach to the origins hymnody of Christianity John and Charles Wesley (18th c.), Edward B. Pusey (in the East19th c.), share the objective and A. M. Allchin and E. Charles Miller (20th c.). The Finnish school of sharing in the life of God. It is also necessary to recall Lutheranism led by Tuomo Mannermaa argues that in the west there is a problematic form of ''[[ecumenism]]'Martin Luther' in vogue, in which people are quick to deny their own truths in order to appear s understood justification to exalt the ''other''. Some Catholic writers consider it lamentable that the term mean ''theosis'' is not used more extensively in western theology. [http://www.kensmen.com/catholic/solafide.html]
It is, therefore, a mistake to attribute to Eastern Orthodoxy a special insight into the existence of the possibility of union with God: the theological difference between East and West is rhetorical. Whether or not eastern liturgies are more conducive to ''theosis'' is another matter; in the west there has been much discussion of the merits of the [[Novus Ordo Missae]]. The [[Tridentine Mass]] is available in hundreds of locations and is very much conducive, if for some faithful the Novus Ordo is not, to the kind of prayer life that leads one along toward ''theosis''. Virtually all spiritual books of any consequence published in the west manifest overt awareness of all the issues comprised in ''theosis'' (some books may focus on specific stages and treat unitive themes more briefly). ===Protestant use of the term "theosis"===''Theosis'' as a concept is used among [[Methodist]]s Methodists [http://www.frimmin.com/faith/theosis.html] especially in relation to the [[pietism|pietist]] movement and in the distinctive [[Protestant]] doctrine of ''entire sanctification'' which teaches, in summary, that it is the Christian's goal, in principle possible to achieve, to live without any [[sin]]. In [[1311]] the [[Council of Vienne]] declared this notion, "that man in this present life can acquire so great and such a degree of perfection that he will be rendered inwardly sinless, and that he will not be able to advance farther in [[grace]]" (Denziger §471), to be a [[heresy]]. Instead of theosis, '''sanctification''', being set apart or made holy, is the term that is used more in Protestant theology. Specifically, ''progressive sanctification'' is the term that is used for the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, whereby an individual is made more holy.
The Protestant conceptions of [[praxis]], [[phronema]], [[ascetical theology]], and [[sacrament]]s are quite different from Catholic and Orthodox understandings, but the use of the term ''theosis'' may <!-- only "may" because the conception of perfection may reflect a radical difference, depending upon the theological tract being compared-->illustrate a commonality of objective or hope.
===Deification in [[Mormonism]]===The doctrine of theosis or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exaltation_%28Mormonism%29 deification ] in [[Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsMormonism|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]] differs significantly from the '''theosis''' of Orthodox Christianity. In Mormonism it is usually referred to as ''[[exaltation]]'' or ''eternal life''. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on the [[atonement]] of Jesus Christ, the reason for the [[atonement]] is exaltation which goes beyond mere [[salvation]]. All men will be saved from [[sin]] and [[death]], but only those who are sufficiently [[obedient]] and accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the [[judgment]] will be exalted. One popular Mormon quote, coined by the early Mormon "disciple" Lorenzo Snow in 1837, is "As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be."[http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/godhead/farms_man.htm] The teaching was taught first by Joseph Smith while pointing to John 5:19 of the New Testament, "God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).
In [[the Mormon Book of Moses|Moses]] 1:39 God tells [[Moses]], "this is my work and my glory&#8212;to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.". In that chapter God shows Moses a vision depicting some of God's vast creations including a vast number of worlds created for other people&#8212;a sampling of what God created in the past and what he will continue to do forever. Each world was prepared and peopled by God for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of humankind. By immortality is meant personal [[resurrection]] so that each individual can continue to enjoy a perfect, physical body forever. By eternal life is meant becoming like God both in terms of holiness or godliness and in glory. It is commonly believed by members of the Church that, like God, an exalted human being is empowered with the privilege to create worlds and people in an endless process of exalting humankind.
Of all the Mormon doctrines including [[Plural Marriage (Mormonism)|polygamy]], critics generally deem this doctrine the most offensive or even blasphemous. Some Mormons argue that even assuming mainstream Christianity's definition of God's [[omnipotence]] and [[omnibenevolence]], not only can God exalt mortal man, but God must do so. The argument is that if God is all-powerful, then God is capable of exalting man, and if God is all-good, then God should or must exalt man. They also point to comments by Christ and Psalmists among others that refer to the Divine nature and potential of humans as children of God. Some Mormons also suggest that discussions of theosis by early [[Church fathers Fathers]] show an early belief in the Mormon concept of deification, although they disagree with much of the other theology of the same Church fathers, most notably the doctrine of the Trinity.
The Mormons' belief has absolutely nothing in common differs with the Orthodox belief in deificationbecause the Latter-Day Saints believe that the core being of each individual, the "intelligence" which existed before becoming a spirit son or daughter, is uncreated or eternal. Deification Orthodox deification always acknowledges a timeless Creator versus a finite creature who has been glorified by the grace of God. The Mormons are clear promoters of polytheism henotheism, and the Church Fathers have absolutely no commonality with their view.
==See also==
==Published works==
* Stavropoulos, Archimandrite Christoforos. ''Partakers of Divine Nature''. trans. by [[Stanley S. Harakas ]] (ISBN 0937032093) [http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=PART100]
* Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. ''One With God: Salvation As Deification And Justification''. (ISBN 0814629717)
* Alexander, Donald L., ed. ''Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification''. (ISBN 0830812784)This is a Protestant text from InterVarsity that does not directly address the Orthodox theology of ''theosis''.* Gundry, Stanley, ed. ''Five Views on Sanctification''. (ISBN 0310212693) This is a Protestant text from Zondervan that does not directly address the Orthodox theology of ''theosis''.*Williams, A. N. ''The Ground of Union: Deification in Aquinas and Palamas''. (ISBN 0195124367)*Allchin, A.M. ''Participation in God: A Forgotten Strand in Anglican Tradition''. (ISBN 0819214086)*Mannermaa, Tuomo. ''Christ Present in Faith: Luther's View of Justification''. (A literal translation would be: ''In Faith Itself Christ is Really Present: The Point of Intersection Between Lutheran and Orthodox Theology''.) (ISBN 0800637119)
==External links==
* [http://theosis.riewe.com Theosis - Achieving Your Potential In Christ] by Fr. [[Anthony M. Coniaris]]
* [http://www.orlapubs.com/AR/R75.html Energy in the New Testament and in Later Theology] by Dr. Athanasios Bailey, Orchid Land Publications.
* [http://www.affcrit.com/archives/ac_02_02.html Deification] - online issue of ''Affirmation & Critique'' devoted entirely to the topic of ''theosis''
* ''The Divinization of the Christian According to the Greek Fathers'', by Gules Gross (ISBN 0736316000)
* [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbible/message/25368 Q&A: About Orthodox Theosis]
* [http://www.monachos.net/patristics/clement_intro.shtml Theosis and the Work of Christ: A beginner's introduction to the thought of Clement of Alexandria]
* [http://groups.yahoo.com/group/arbible/message/41842 "Theosis"--What does the word mean and what does it not mean? - message by Dn. E. Danial Doss]
* [http://www.zeitun-eg.org/StAthanasiusTheosis.pdf Theosis in the writings of St Athanasius of Alexandria]
* [http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/Russell_partakers.html Norman Russell: "Partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4) in the Byzantine Tradition - From the hommage to Joan Hussey ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΡΙΑ, Porphyrogenitus Publ., Camberley UK, 1998]
[[Category:Theology]]
 
[[fr:Théosis]]
[[it:Divinizzazione]]
[[ro:Îndumnezeire]]
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