Athanasius and His Doctrine of Divinization

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With his stress on the interpenetration of the natural by the supernatural, and with his belief in human deification, perhaps it is not surprising that Lewis was featured in a chapter of a anthology called The Protestant Mystics. But in fact Lewis did not consider himself a mystic. Nicholas Lossky, in his book about Lancelot Andrewes, the seventeenth-century Bishop of Winchester, could have been describing C.

Lewis when he wrote:. The ultimate objective of the spiritual life being union with God, it could be said that the theology of Lancelot Andrewes is a mystical theology, on condition that one makes a little more precise the meaning of the term.

Theosis and Our Salvation in Christ - Orthodox Reformed Bridge

It is not a matter, indeed, of any exceptional experience, reserved for a few, in some way outside the traditional ways of theology. It is on the contrary a matter of the interiorisation of the revealed Christian mystery, to which Andrewes calls all the baptized…. For Andrewes…this is only possible in faithfulness to what has been revealed, that is to say, within the scriptural and patristic tradition, thus, within the catholicity of the Church.

I came from a group of Christians neither Catholic nor technically Eastern Orthodox where this doctrine of divinization was upheld as the 'Highest Peak of the Gospel'.

Deification, Early Christian

Over time, nearly every hymn was recomposed around this idea, every discussion had at it's core this single seed While I understand where the idea of "God became man that man might become God" may be developed from certain passages of scripture, it is of utmost importance that we realize that the only place within scripture wherein these words might be found are in Genesis , where Satan tells Eve, " This doctrine doesn't win people to Christ, it doesn't cause the sinner to repent or soften hearts to receive a Saviour.

It is a dead-end that I can honestly testify leaves men seeking His Glory in themselves, and not giving it to Him. In Christ, NeitherFirstnorLast. Post a Comment. Sunday, April 03, St. Athanasius' doctrine of Divinization. Last time I blogged about St. Athanasius, we spent the entire post examining the famous doctor's statement that "God became man so that man may become God" and endeavored to show that this concept called "divinization" ought not to be interpreted in a pantheistic or New Age sense, quoting other statements from Athanasius and other Fathers to establish this fact; thus, we were looking at Athanasius' statements negatively by showing what they do not mean.

This time we will examine what exactly St. Athanasius' doctrine of divinization does mean in a positive sense.

enter In the first place, I made the statement last time that divinization was basically the same thing as St. Paul's doctrine of adoption, since both have to do with transitioning from sons of Adam to sons of God.

Though the concepts are somewhat related, they are not the same thing. Paul's doctrine of adoption precedes divinization, and divinization, in turn, presupposes adoption. Adoption as God's sons and daughters is what makes divinization possible, as divinization of course is something applicable only to Christians who are born again as God's children. Adoption, as the Council of Trent declared, is nothing other than justification, the "translation from that state in which man was born as a child of the first Adam to the state of grace and of the adoption of the sons of God through the second Adam, Jesus Christ.

Divinization is the process that follows upon adoption by which the newly born sons of God become conformed to His image; adoption makes divinization possible. Second error I need to correct is my statement in the combox that divinization was the same idea as theosis. In this I was incorrect, for the two concepts are different in two very important ways. First, divinization is taught by St. Athanasius to be something normative that all Christians undergo as part of the typical Christian life.

Theosis, on the other hand, was something the orthodox monks saw as applicable most perfectly to only those who had renounced the world and were living in a state of monasticism seeking union with God; it is something for an elect few. The second and more fundamental difference, related to the first, is that theosis is primarily a mystical concept, the idea of divinization transformed under the hand of Pseudo-Dioynisius the Areopagite into a mystical doctrine. He took it for granted that his readers knew what he meant, and that they agreed with this doctrine.

The Arians must have agreed with it, too, because Athanasius could use it as the starting point for an argument: For man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or unless the Son were very God Orat 2.

The First 500 Years - Fr. David Meconi - Introduction

If, by a partakability of the Spirit we shall become partakers of the divine nature, it would be madness then afterwards to call the Spirit an originated entity, and not of God; for on account of this also those who are in him are made divine. But then if he makes man divine, it is not dubious to say his nature is of God Ad Serap 1. Athanasius could use this concept because it was part of his cultural background.

The Greek moralists and ancient mysteries taught that a person may be deified by contemplating the eternal and eliminating the sensuous Harnack , Platonists, Stoics, and Cynics all spoke of something divine within humans ibid. Since many early Christians were influenced by Plotinus and NeoPlatonism, divinization found its way into Christianity with the support of Psalm and 2 Peter Divinization was never "adequately defined in the creeds.