Jonesboy

Theosis: Becoming Like God

Recommended Posts

I have been looking for this quote and finally found it.

 

I think I would have liked him :)

 

If you have not discerned that the eye of your mind has been opened,

And that it has seen the light;

If you have not perceived the sweetness of the Godhead;

If you have not been personally enlightened by the Holy Spirit…

If you have not sensed that your heart has been cleansed

And has shone with luminous reflections;

If, contrary to all expectation, you have not discovered the Christ within yourself;

If you have not been stupefied, at your vision of the divine beauty;

And have not become oblivious of human nature

When you saw yourself so totally transfigured…..

Then tell me – how is it that you dare to make any statement at all about God? 63

 

http://www.sgtt.org/Writings/Patristics/StSymeonHymns.html

 

Also:

 

What point is there in trying to explain all of this to you,

Or trying to make you understand it all?

If you yourself have not felt it by personal experience,

You will be unable to know it.

Edited by Jonesboy
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Symeon is talking about an experience.

 

[...]

 

Isn't the sacrament an experience?

Do you think that for people like St. Symeon, the Eucharist was just paraphernalia?

 

I would agree he is talking about the Eucharist, but in its true sense as an embodied realisation of it's true meaning. What does it really mean that bread is Christ's body and wine his blood? In one sense it's a mystery to the intellect , but one which can be realised spiritually

 

Surely, a spiritual seeker who have learned a lot like you did, he may kind of interpret every symbol and dogma to pinpoint truths and understandings that he gained elsewhere... thus, effectively transforming any exoteric imagery into the esoteric teaching that he found right and true.

 

But I feel that I can confidently assure you that for the traditional christian churches (catholicism and the various orthodoxies), there wasn't a "secret meaning" behind the transubstantiation, but everything was laid out in the doctrines quite clearly.

 

From the cathechism of the catholic church:

 

At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread. . . ." "He took the cup filled with wine. . . ." The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the "work of human hands," but above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering.

 

In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God;  their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God's faithfulness to his promises. The "cup of blessing" at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup.

 

The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.

 

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"  The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. "Will you also go away?":  the Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has "the words of eternal life"  and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.

 

 

[...]

 

What point is there in trying to explain all of this to you,

Or trying to make you understand it all?

If you yourself have not felt it by personal experience,

You will be unable to know it.

 

The Buddha described very briefly his experiences and discussed extensively the methods to achieve it.

 

Here, you depict a St. Symeon who talks extensively about his experiences and then says "I have them, you don't and you can't really understand. Deal with it" :P

Edited by Cheshire Cat

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks rainbowvein I was being sarcastic. If I had to choose a gender for God it would definitely be a woman!!!

 

... and then this God of yours would redefine the concept of "motherhood".

 

294DB76300000578-3108477-image-m-14_1433

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎9‎/‎17‎/‎2016 at 2:48 AM, Cheshire Cat said:

 

I find your daoist harshness quite disturbing :wacko:

My argument wasn't based on the veracity of stories, but on the matters of the stories: with theosis you have a very clear theological conclusion about achieving immortality and I tell you, since you show a large degree of ignorance on christianity, that when a christian talks about immortality, he means the real thing: physical body and eternal life.

On the contrary in daoism, immortality could mean "ascending to heaven", which is actually to die... or it could mean to live eternally in a physical body.

 

Christian theology has plenty of ambiguity here. What exactly is the character of the resurrected bodies? What does Paul mean when he says "it is sown a psychical body, it is raised a spiritual body" (the theologian David Bentley Hart does a great job talking about the "psychical" and "spiritual" distinction in ancient Christianity here)? While we will live in resurrected bodies they are quite different from the "psychical" bodies we have now. So a dichotomy between "ascending to heaven" and "live eternally in a body" is not so clear in fact.

 

 

 

Quote

 

The point that I made is that the theological theory of theosis has no evidence of actualization: theologians love to discuss very abstract ideas like "how many angels can sit on the eye of a needle?" and I think that there's a chance that theosis was one of such theoretical concepts

 

 

This is both a lazy and ignorant summation of Christian theology. The "how many angels" trope is a modern caricature of scholasticism and has little relation to what Christian theologians actually did. As for theosis itself, it was far from one idle speculation among many, but a central part of the patristic Christian message, as found in Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, Maximus the Confessor, and the whole theology of the incarnation of Christ. In the debates around the dogmas of Christ, the question of the deification of man is central. It is embedded, implicitly or explicitly, in the hymnography of the Byzantine Church and even shows up in popular modern hymns in the West by Charles Wesley and others.

 

The rest of your remarks are so ignorant as to be not even worth responding to.

 

On ‎9‎/‎16‎/‎2016 at 5:31 PM, Zhongyongdaoist said:

 

In that investigation, spurred by the need to understand Christianity's influence on Western thought and its relation to my esoteric interests, Christianity, mostly in its Patristic form and largely because that study revealed it to be a Hellenistic synthesis of Jewish revelation and Pagan Philosophy, managed to earn some begrudging respect.

 

I would even say that a distinct "Abrahamic" category of religion wasn't really relevant in the 1st century; that the Judaism out of which Christianity emerged was pretty Hellenized to begin with and Christianity began as a Hellenistic religion. When Paul talks about hierarchies of angelic rulers (archons) he is expressing a cosmology shared by both Jewish and pagan thinkers of his era. What strikes me about the Protestant Reformers, especially the Calvin-Zwingli axis, is that in their attempt to purify Christianity they leaned very hard on a very dour interpretation of Plato and Aristotle (combined, of course, with the worst aspects of Augustine). Some of their work, like Zwingli's sermon "On Providence", seem hardly Christian at all and more like a carcass of Platonism with all the fun and humor drained from it.

 

Edited by SirPalomides

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Aden correctly notes that, to the Orthodox, grace is not a divine pardon, attitude, or promise as it is for the Lutherans, who tend to focus grace primarily on justifcation. It is the divine dynamic (energy) that comes from God, unites us to Christ, and changes us so that “Christ is formed in us” (Gal. 4:19). Thus deifcation is a process of transformation and driven by deifying grace.52

 

The early church quickly abandoned anything that looked Hebrew, and by 400 AD, Augustine even claimed that the Septuagint was more reliable than the original Hebrew. They lost much concerning  'theosis' in doing so. The EO retains the closest understanding to the Hebrew scriptures (all NT teaching derives from OT mysteries) . The EO retain much of the teaching in cartoon form, but actually understand it better than the others because they retain it at all.

 

Theosis is deification without becoming God. The EO do not claim to be made equal to God or of the same 'substance', but 'like' God. It is unfortunate that the words they use are so easily misunderstood.

 

From the application of the rules of sensus plenior: Man is not made in the image and likeness of God. In Genesis 1, he said he would make them in his image and likeness, but only made the man in his image. The man is the symbol of Christ who is the express image of God.  The woman (the church) is not made into his likeness until Chapter 5. The hidden story is how Christ had to die, then obtain his bride in order to be fruitful and multiplying. Christ is the image, the church is the likeness.

 

Consider the virgin birth. Christ is the firstfruits of the Spirit. We are virgin born when we are born again of the Spirit. Correctly this is not the Protestant sanctification over time. It is a moment when the Spirit 'births' you. With Christ, you become fruitful by the fruit of the Spirit, and multiplying by teaching.

 

As for the cartoon version:  The Hebrew word for 'marriage' also means 'doctrine'. You were chosen to be the bride... to be taught. With eating as a metaphor for learning; the marriage supper of the lamb was the explosion of doctrine after the cross when the old teaching was replaced by the New Jerusalem; the 'New Teaching of Peace' which was hidden in the mystery of the old. 

 

The 28th letter of the Hebrew alphabet is the four prong shin. It is not used in any Hebrew word but is found on the garment of the priest. It's meaning is that which the prophets were not allowed to write, and sealed up. It's meaning is that we become co-heirs with Christ. Our union with God is so intimate that we would think we were equal to God if we had not already declared him alone to be God. This teaching was too much of a temptation for those who did not have the Spirit. 

 

The union with Christ occurs here while we are alive. The church (not a particular organization) is in reality the body of Christ having been made one flesh by the marriage-teaching.  The evidence of theosis is the agape love shown by those who possess it.

 

The Greeks think agape love is some sort of Greek super love. It is actually a Hebrew word (which Dr. Strong missed) meaning "the combatants. Agape love is the love you give your enemy with no expectation of return. While were were yet sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us.  This is the Agape Love of God. He enables his people to practice what he has practiced. Few there are.

 

As for the immortality thing, it is a reality. Though we die we shall live. The fear of death enslaves people to sin, putting themselves first. Without that fear they are free to serve and even die for those who hate them. 

 

 

 

Edited by goatguy-too
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^Most of that is wrong. Again, the Christian doctrine of theosis is directly connected to the incarnation. Christ unites us to God not by a moral imitation but by assuming our nature, uniting it inseparably (but unconfusedly) with the divine nature. It has nothing to do with a reliance on Hebrew vs Greek- though terminology from Plato and Aristotle is constantly employed. This is perfectly clear from reading the relevant church fathers and the Christological debates of the first millennium. 
 

The Septuagint was the Bible for Greek-speaking Jews and the New Testament writers quote from it whenever they quote the Old Testament.  As for whatever Hebrew text was circulating at the time, it is not the same as the Masoretic text in use today. I was recently reading some of Robert Alter’s wonderful translations of the Hebrew Bible and I was surprised to see how often he relies on the Septuagint to emend parts of the Masoretic text that are corrupt. 
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites