On icons – 15

“In mystical experience, the soul is raised up from the visible realm to where visibility itself vanishes and the field of the invisible opens: such is the Dionysian sundering of the bonds of the visible. And after soaring up into the invisible, the soul descends again into the visible – and then and there, before its very eyes, are those real appearances of things: ideas” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, p. 45.

On icons – 14

“At the crossing of the boundary into the upper world, the soul sheds – like outworn clothes – the images of our everyday emptiness, the psychic effluvia that cannot find a place above, those elements of our being that are not spiritually grounded. At the point of descent and re-entry, on the other hand, the images are experiences of mystical life crystallized out on the boundary of two worlds” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, pp. 44-45.

On icons – 13

“In creating a work of art, the psyche or soul of the artist ascends from the earthly realm into the heavenly; there, free of all images, the soul is fed in contemplation by the essences of the highest realm, knowing the permanent noumena of things; then, satiated with this knowing, it descends again to the earthly realm. And precisely at the boundary between the two worlds, the soul’s spiritual knowledge assumes the shape of symbolic imagery: and it is these images that make permanent the work of art” – P. Florensky (1996), Iconostasis, p. 44.

How can we share in the divine life?

The question was asked, “How can we share in the divine life?” Since there is quite a bit that needs to be said to clearly address the topic of partaking in the divine life (2 P 1:4), I will be answering at length about this in a post to follow. Briefly, however, the answer is by becoming genuine friends with the One, True God; His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ and Their Holy Spirit – the Most Holy Trinity.

What is Deification of Man in Christianity?

Deification Front CoverDeification is the transformation of man into god through the grace of God. Predominant in the theology of Eastern Christianity, but marginalized and obscured in contemporary interpretations of the theology of Western Christianity, Bartolo-Abela explores how it is deification, not just salvation, that was and remains the intent of God for mankind, with deification occurring not solely in patria, but in via and in patria. This is an understanding of deification which has been largely lost and needs to be recovered in the Western Church.

Examining the works of the Church Fathers on both sides of the East-West divide in Christianity, Bartolo-Abela shows that rather than being restricted to the East, deification featured consistently in many theological works popular in the West, with the most prominent being those of Aquinas, Augustine, Hilary of Poitiers, Irenaeus and Jerome. Bartolo-Abela argues that it was deification, not just salvation as commonly understood, that was also inherently referred to by Paul VI in the universal call to holiness found in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.

Deification is the process of man becoming god and attaining theoria, seeing God, after purification of the heart and illumination of the heart of the soul have ensued through baptism in the Holy Spirit, as understood throughout tradition. Deification from this life, not solely the next, is the desire of God for mankind in accord with the words of Christ and Peter, “I said you are gods” (Jn 10:34) and “partakers of the divine nature” (2 P 1:4).

Just out – Deification of Man in Christianity

On deification – 15

Deification “is indeed a mystical union with God beyond intellect and reason” (Gregory Palamas, III.1.28).

On deification – 14

“This union will enable persistence to the end with a pure spirit in the most narrow relations with God” (Gregory Palamas, II.2.20). Such relations were defined as “direct relations with God in which no intermediary such as an angel intervenes” (II.3.27-28). Deification is not hypostatic: “Hypostatic union Continue reading

On deification – 13

“Deification is also the invocation of the great God and Father, the symbol of the authentic and real adoption, according to the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit, thanks to the bestowal of which grace the saints become and will remain the sons of God” (Gregory Palamas, III.1.28).

On contemplation and deification – 2

“Perfect contemplation of God and divine things is not only a stripping away, but beyond this, a participation in divine things, a gift and possession more than stripping away” (Gregory Palamas, The triads, I.3.18).

On contemplation and deification – 1

“If contemplation may not be equated with the via negativa, neither is it identifiable with the via positiva: contemplation is not simply abstraction or negation but a union and a divinization that occurs mystically and ineffably by the grace of God” (Williams, on Gregory Palamas I.3.17).

On deification – 12

“To understand the nature of God is to become deified; those who know that God is Spirit are those who become god completely and know God in God … [they] see God by God (Gregory Palamas, II.3.68; II.3.52).

On deification – 11

“Those who have been purified … make themselves worthy to contemplate invisible things, the essence of God remaining beyond their attainment; but those who are worthy of this contemplation can be initiated into it and make it the object of their understanding; thus they participate Continue reading