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.