BOOK REVIEW: ‘Deification of Man in Christianity’ | Catholic Medical Quarterly

Deification Front CoverReview by Dr. Pravin Thevathasan, Editor of the Catholic Medical Quarterly (UK).

Saint John Paul II called the Church to breathe with “both lungs”, incorporating the spiritual traditions of both East and West. We tend to associate deification with the Christian tradition of the East. However, as the author of this very good summary of the subject shows, deification is very much part of the Western tradition as well. The tragedy of the Protestant revolt and the Lutheran understanding of man as totally depraved led to its undermining in the West. However, deification is very much in harmony with the Divine Indwelling in the soul as promoted by St Elizabeth of the Trinity and Blessed Columba Marmion. It is also entirely in keeping with the doctrine of spiritual childhood promoted by St Therese of Lisieux.

Deification, the author notes, is the transformative process whose aim is union with God. God became man so that man might become God. Not by nature, of course, as certain religions of Asia suggest: it is not possible for created beings to become God in the way that a drop of water falls into the sea. Deification is brought about by purification of mind and body and by theoria: that is, illumination with the vision of God.
For this reviewer, the importance of this subject lies in the fact that deification is not for the spiritually elite. It is for all Christians. It is effected only by human activity and God’s uncreated energies. Continue reading here.

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Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology

Photo: Alexei Boitsov

Some writers have defined lucidity as following fantasy and being a natural continuation of it, within the purported psychological framework of Lacan’s initial meaning of the sinthome. This was apparently done in an attempt to downplay or completely change the real significance of lucidity; willfully or otherwise. However, such an assertion by the said writers is not true because fantasy and lucidity belong to two different orders – realms, levels – of functioning, in relation both to the nature and the abilities of common man.

Fantasy, on the one hand, belongs to Lacan’s order of the Imaginary, which is one of the psychological orders. It originates from man. No true insight or understanding are present in fantasy, otherwise it would not be fantasy in the first instance. Lucidity, on the other hand, belongs to the order, the realm, of the Spirit, which is the supernatural order (not to be confused with the preternatural order). It originates from God the Holy Spirit and is a gift of grace. Lucidity carries within it both true insight – clarity of vision – and understanding.

As the supernatural order is, by its very character, a higher order than the psychological order, it can subsume the latter within it, if and when necessary, but not vice versa. One cannot, therefore, traverse fantasy qua fantasy, to reach lucidity in a natural manner. Moreover, it is well-known in the apophatic via negativa of Eastern Christianity (as opposed to the cataphatic via positiva of Western Christianity) that when lucidity is present, fantasy is absent because it is no longer needed. But how, then, does all this happen and what does it really mean?  Continue reading “Is lucidity fantasy or commencement of deification? Christianity v. psychology”

Faith – Why proselytising fails

“Faith, as a work of the Holy Spirit, comes to one person through another, but only when this other communicates the word of Scripture assimilated and confessed with faith, or with the capacity of experiencing communion in the Spirit” (Staniloae [1998] The experience of God: Revelation and knowledge of the Triune God, p. 42).

Faith and seeing God

The Son of God became man so that man might become god – Saint Athanasius (De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B).

Yes, God Is and will remain – despite the present loss of your faith.

There are two kinds of faith: faith derived from hearing and learning, and faith derived from theoria. Although not separate from each other, the two kinds of faith differ, resulting in different kinds of knowledge of God.

Faith derived from hearing and learning (simple faith) results in the natural knowledge of God. Faith derived from theoria (perfect faith) results in the spiritual knowledge of God and the healing of man. We have become very used to the former, but thoroughly unused to the latter that we seem to have forgotten it indeed exists and is part and parcel of the life of humankind.

The shift from the mere natural knowledge of God, to the spiritual knowledge of God, is what is happening right now, necessitating purification in all the dimensions of life. This shift will continue, steadily increasing, until illumination of the heart of the soul, the nous, occurs and then all humankind will know God Is.

4* Review for Deification of Man in Christianity

Deification Front Cover“Although very concise, this small book offers a very good introduction to the Deification/Theosis of man, the very purpose of all our lives, particularly from the Eastern Orthodox perspective. It is replete with credible references, both biblical and from respected Eastern Orthodox saints, that together provide a sound basis for the postulation of the author, who here in this book attempts to represent the overarching view of the Eastern church to those less familiar or completely unacquainted. The book is readable within a couple of hours . . . [it] is recommended for those that would like a better understanding of Theosis but without having to encounter all the accompanying extraneous theological baggage.”

(Source: Amazon.co.uk)

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.

Sharing in the divine life

Through grace we become deified and come to share in the divine life of Holy Trinity – J. Baggley, Doors of Perception.