[ VERSE OF THE DAY's Pentecostal Feature ]
Achieving Your Potential in Christ:
X   Theosis   X
Plain Talks on a Major Doctrine of Orthodoxy
By Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris
Edited by G. A. Henry

Achieve Your Potential: Theosis (1)

Achieve Your Potential: Theosis (2)

Achieving Our Potential in Christ: Theosis (3)
Achieving Your Potential in Christ: Theosis (4)

The Bible and Theosis

Man Does Not Become A God

What Theosis Is Not

Man Does Not Become A God

WE LIVE IN A DAY WHEN popular psychology and the cults are propagating the deity of man by teaching people to say, "I am everywhere, I am omniscient. I am God." People pay expensively to enroll in seminars which tell them, "You are a supreme being. There is no death; man is God; knowledge of self is salvation and power." A famous actress and her spiritual advisor, for example, stand on Malibu Beach and, with their arms flung open to the cosmos, shout, "I am God! I am God!"

Obviously, this is not what we mean by theosis. In Orthodox theology, this is heresy of the very first order. Lucifer tried to become God and was thrown out of heaven because of it (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Commenting of the meaning of the expression "partakers of divine nature," William Barclay says (II Peter 1:4):

"Sometimes in Greek, when a noun is used without the definite article, it has a kind of adjectival force. To say that man could become 'ho theos' would be to say that man can become identical with God, one and the same as God. But, to say that a man can become 'theos' - using the word without the definite article - is to say that a man can come to have the same kind of life and existence and being as God has, but without becoming identical with God. The conception of deification is that man through Jesus Christ can be lifted out of life of the fallen and corrupt humanity into the very life of God." [7]
Thus, in theosis man does not "possess" God nor does he become God in essence. Rather, participating in that which is given to him, thanking God for His ineffable grace.

Theosis in no way means that human beings "become God" in a pantheistic sense. It means, rather, that believers enter into a personal relationship with God through Baptism and participate fully in God's life through prayer and the sacraments.

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            [7] "The Mind of Christ," William Barclay. Harper and Brothers. New York. 1960. Page 260.

Last updated on June 9, 2000