Theosis

  • Theoria is the vision of God: “The theoria of the [Uncreated] Light is union, although not continuous for those who are imperfect. Union with the Light is nothing other than vision” (Gregory Palamas). Simply replacing the language of “theosis with salvation is an attempt to supplant Patristic theology with standard Reformation language” (Finlan & Kharlamov, Theosis: Deification in Christian theology, p. 5).
  • Many stages of theoria exist. It begins with repentance, is followed by noetic prayer, then illumination of the nous, the heart of the soul; after which occurs the vision of God, followed by continual vision (Met. Hierotheos, The illness and cure of the soul). 
  • God is ultimately unknowable (i.e., incomprehensible) in His essence, precisely because of His infinity: created beings can never come to know fully The Uncreated Being, because Infinity keeps on revealing Himself infinitely. However, God both can and is knowable, in and through His uncreated energies, by His created beings, while the latter are still alive on earth. The latter is a process of grace, of mutual ascent and descent, called deification.
  • The true destiny of mankind is to achieve the fullness of our Inheritance, by consciously acquiring and living – and continuously rising to live, without end – in the Holy Spirit.
  • Becoming by grace – that is, by the energies of God – what God is by nature, in His essence.
  • The true destiny of mankind, the real reason for which we have been created – that is, both the aim and the desire that are imprinted into the very heart of our souls – is full union with God: theosis.
  • “Deification is the attaining of likeness to God and union with him so far as is possible” (Dionysus the Aeropagite, EH 1. 3, PG 3. 376a).
  • “Deification is the final end of humankind, the fullness of mystical union with God, seen in terms of a participation in the divine and uncreated energies which can begin even in this life” (Russell, 2006, The doctrine of deification in the Greek Patristic tradition).
  • “The purpose of the entire work of our salvation . . . is for us to receive the Holy Spirit” (Symeon the New Theologian, in Staniloae, D. [1994]. The experience of God: Revelation and knowledge of the Triune God, p. 30).
Advertisements