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Theosis and its relation to the oldest lie in the book...


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#21 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 06:50 PM

#1 I know that Jesus existed before He came to earth.

#2 I know that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels.

#3 I know that Jesus asked to be glorified with the Father and be made as He was before the world existed. In other words Jesus asked to be glorified with the Father.

Seeming to indicate that the Father would -- so to speak adorn/glorify -- Jesus, with Himself.

For the sake of a "word picture" this appears to indicate that the Father would engulf Jesus, and the two would become one. Does this seem right?

If so, then this would again validate the verses in Daniel 2. The word picture there being that of "the stone being cut out of the Mountain without hands". This word picture from Danial presumably indicates how Jesus proceeded out of/from the Father, (as I understand this verse).

So Jesus came out of/from the Father and later he prayed to be incorporated back into Him (after He suffered death).

As a first look I would say that the wording "made" lower would probably contain the answers we are looking for.

The word "made" in the New testament is defined this way in my dictionary,

---------------------
1642. elattow elattoo, el-at-to'-o
Search for 1642 in KJV
from 1640; to lessen (in rank or influence):--decrease, make lower.
---------------------

Now, I can't really explain this either, as Mr. Blaydoe has suggested, but I am certain that the proper wording will convey the idea. It is simply hard to explain.

Jesus is referred to in this way by St Maximos the Confessor - "Christ is the pioneer of theosis" (if I understand Peter's post correctly). Dcn. Steenberg mentions that Jesus did not undergo "theosis". There has to be something that is not understood here.

Jesus was lower than the angels when he was on earth. Obviously not in the aspect of the Godhead - since the angels are instructed to worship Him.

I am not certain of the Orthodox terminology here but I trust/hope that you all get my meaning. Hypostasis would appear to define Jesus state of being after he was made lower than the Angels.

Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. {again...: or, when he bringeth again}
KJV)

We are even given the reason why Jesus was made lower than the angels. He was made lower (temporarily) so that he could die, as the following phrase seems to indicate.

"For the suffering of death".

Jesus was lower than the angels while He was on the earth and yet the angels were commanded to worship Him, even while He was on earth.

To explain this is difficult.

Brian

#22 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:35 PM

I am gettin a little ahead in my thoughts here, but after the question about wether Jesus underwent theosis is answered. A further question would be -

After Jesus Lived His (sinless) life on earth He still had to ask to be made one with the Father as He was before he came to earth.

If He still had to ask the Father to Glorify Him then deification appears to happen after even the sinless life of the Son of God. The sinless life was not enough to accomplish this deification.

That is - if deification is defined as oneness with God.

1. Is this glorification the deification spoken of in the initial posts. In other words can deification be accomplished on earth.

2. Is deification the same as theosis in the Orthodox writings?

The phrase theosis and deification appear to have been used in this thread as meaning the same thing.

Brian

#23 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:37 PM

Dear Brian,

I'm afraid there are some serious problems with your remarks in your latest post.

Some necessary corrections:

  • The glory 'of Himself' by which the the Son is adorned in the Father, is the Son's proper glory as God consubstantial and equal with the Father in all things. It is not the Father adding some other glory to the Son (as is implied in your phrasing, 'the Father would -- so to speak adorn/glorify -- Jesus, with Himself').
  • The idea that 'the Father would engulf Jesus, and the two would become one' is not a supportable theological statement. It is, in its own way, a combination of the heresies of both 'Origenistic' emanationism (that the deity is the Father's and the Son is participant in it / absorbed by it) and that of Apollinarius, highly modified (that one nature can absorb another, making them one - though Apollinarius had raised this in a Christological context).
  • The vision in Daniel of the stone uncut by human hands, is understood in the Orthodox Church as a prophecy of the Virgin birth of Christ. It is not taken as an indication of the Son's relationship to the Father (and, in fact, doesn't work in this context); but an indication of the Son's human birth, in human nature, from a Virgin who had never known man.
  • The idea that the Son 'came out of/from the Father and later he prayed to be incorporated back into Him' is unsupportable theologically. This is a rather odd concept; but it has a certain forebear in the 'Gnostic' aeonic mythologies, identified as a rather commonplace heresy as far back as the second century.
  • As a correction of vocabulary, the Greek verb ἐλασσόω (in later form ἐλαττόω) does not mean 'to make', 'made'; it means 'to lower, to lessen'. The English word 'made' in the phrase 'He was made lower than...' is simply the way English expresses the voice and mood of the Greek verb - it is not a separate word in Greek. And it certainly cannot be introduced as a term in its own right, suggesting a kind of fabrication/fashioning/making (which is what you are arguing: the the Son is 'made' from the Mountain, etc.).
  • I am not certain where you are finding the phrase 'Jesus is the pioneer of theosis' in St Maximus, as you suggest; have you some source? Andreas used the phrase above in one of his posts; but the point is that Christ 'pioneers' (if we're going to use that word) deification by joining human nature to the divine, allowing our nature to be divinised. Christ needs to undergo no process of deification, as He is 'Deus' - God. The idea of the Son going through some process of being united to God, or becoming God, is quite anathema.
  • It is not supportable to say that 'hypostasis would appear to define Jesus state of being after he was made lower than the Angels'. Hypostasis does not define a state: is identifies personal being. The hypostasis of the Son is eternal, and in His hypostasis comes to exist as man of the Virgin.
I apologise about the rather direct shape in which these corrections come; but these are some very basic theological issues that need to be stated rightly.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#24 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:42 PM

Dear Brian,

I'm afraid the problems have continued in your most recent post.

Further corrections are needed:
  • It is incorrect to state that 'After Jesus Lived His (sinless) life on earth He still had to ask to be made one with the Father as He was before he came to earth.' It is a foundational teaching of the Church that the Son is always one with the Father -- this is said time and again in the Scriptures, the Liturgical texts, the Fathers. In taking flesh, He did not cease to be in perfect union with the Father and the Spirit.
  • Theosis and deification are one and the same. Theosis comes from Greek, deification comes from Latin. The translation of each is 'to become divine, to become God'.
  • The Son's asking the Father to glorify Him (in, for example, His 'high priestly prayer') is not a question of Him imploring deification; it is a petition for His glory - the glory of One of the Holy Trinity - to be manifest fully in the cosmos.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#25 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 08:44 PM

Hi Dcn. Matthew - I say that Jesus is the pioneer of Theosis - because it was used in Peters post, and I assumed this was a quote from St. Maximus.

The rest of your post will take me a while to understand - thankyou for your response/correction.

Brian

#26 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 10:28 PM

[quote name='Brian Mickelsen']#1 I know that Jesus existed before He came to earth.[/quote]

More than that, He existed before the beginning, there never was a time when He was not. He was begotten, not made. I am guessing that you do not accept the idea of the Trinity?

[quote]#2 I know that Jesus was made a little lower than the angels.[/quote]

Um actually no. Absolutely not. WE, that is, you and I, mankind, was made "lower than the angels". And Jesus Christ took on our "a little lower than the angels" humanity without giving up His Divinity.

[QUOTE]#3 I know that Jesus asked to be glorified with the Father and be made as He was before the world existed. In other words Jesus asked to be glorified with the Father.

Seeming to indicate that the Father would -- so to speak adorn/glorify -- Jesus, with Himself.

For the sake of a "word picture" this appears to indicate that the Father would engulf Jesus, and the two would become one. Does this seem right?[/QUOTE]

NO, not at all. JESUS IS GOD. He is the second Person of the Trinity. Do you not agree with this?

[QUOTE]If so, then this would again validate the verses in Daniel 2. The word picture there being that of "the stone being cut out of the Mountain without hands". This word picture from Danial presumably indicates how Jesus proceeded out of/from the Father, (as I understand this verse).

So Jesus came out of/from the Father and later he prayed to be incorporated back into Him (after He suffered death).[/QUOTE]

Again, no. Jesus did not come "out of" the Father and go back in. Jesus is "begotten", the Holy Spirit "proceeds" and not quite in the manner you have expressed. Again, is the word "Trinity" part of your beliefs?

[QUOTE]As a first look I would say that the wording "made" lower would probably contain the answers we are looking for.

The word "made" in the New testament is defined this way in my dictionary,

---------------------
1642. elattow elattoo, el-at-to'-o
Search for 1642 in KJV
from 1640; to lessen (in rank or influence):--decrease, make lower.
---------------------

Now, I can't really explain this either, as Mr. Blaydoe has suggested, but I am certain that the proper wording will convey the idea. It is simply hard to explain.[/QUOTE]

Jesus took on our form, which is "lower than the angels" but He did not give up His Divinity. He was still God even when He walked the Earth. As one of the stichera of Matins goes, "wrapped in the flesh like bait on the hook..."

[QUOTE]Jesus is referred to in this way by St Maximos the Confessor - "Christ is the pioneer of theosis" (if I understand Peter's post correctly). Dcn. Steenberg mentions that Jesus did not undergo "theosis". There has to be something that is not understood here.[/QUOTE]

Jesus had no need to undergo theosis. He is already united to the Father as GOD.

[QUOTE]Jesus was lower than the angels when he was on earth. Obviously not in the aspect of the Godhead - since the angels are instructed to worship Him. [/QUOTE]

Jesus took on our humanity which is "lower than the angels" but He did NOT, I repeat, NOT give up His Divinity. He was BOTH, it is not an either/or proposition.

[QUOTE]I am not certain of the Orthodox terminology here but I trust/hope that you all get my meaning. Hypostasis would appear to define Jesus state of being after he was made lower than the Angels.

Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. {again...: or, when he bringeth again}
KJV)[/QUOTE]

God did not, does not, will not, change. We are not modalists. Even when He "put on" our humanity, He did not change.

[quote]We are even given the reason why Jesus was made lower than the angels. He was made lower (temporarily) so that he could die, as the following phrase seems to indicate.

"For the suffering of death".

Jesus was lower than the angels while He was on the earth and yet the angels were commanded to worship Him, even while He was on earth.

To explain this is difficult.

Brian[/QUOTE]

Especially when you are missing an essential piece of the puzzle. God put on our humanity, but did not "take off", remove or otherwise change, dilute, or temporarily "set aside" His Divinity. He merely withheld it from our senses. Put that piece into the puzzle and the picture becomes more clear.

Or so it seems to this bear of little brain

Herman the Pooh

#27 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 27 November 2009 - 11:03 PM

Hi Mr. Blaydoe - Yes I do believe in the trinity.

#28 Paul Cowan

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:38 AM

Hi Mr. Blaydoe - Yes I do believe in the trinity.



Dear Brian,

In my personal life lately, I speak with people that use the same terms I do, but their understanding is different than my own. Can you share with us your understanding (definition) of the Trinity? This might help us communicate better.

Case in point: The Mormons use the word trinity to refer to the 3 persons of God. They believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However their understanding is of 3 gods and not a triune God as we believe. So you see they use the same lingo, but have different definitions.

Paul

#29 Owen Jones

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 01:40 PM

This is all quite backwards and, forgive me, just a tad infuriating. On the one hand, there is nothing wrong with asking questions about Orthodoxy, what Orthodox believe, what we practice, etc. But in what spirit? And under what conditions? At some point the questions and answers have to break off because there is this spiritual chasm. I am not claiming spiritual superiority here -- either for me or anyone else who is Orthodox. It's just that there must be some kind of proper spiritual seeking that goes along with the questioning...

#30 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:22 PM

Dear Brian,

In my personal life lately, I speak with people that use the same terms I do, but their understanding is different than my own. Can you share with us your understanding (definition) of the Trinity? This might help us communicate better.

Case in point: The Mormons use the word trinity to refer to the 3 persons of God. They believe in God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. However their understanding is of 3 gods and not a triune God as we believe. So you see they use the same lingo, but have different definitions.

Paul


Of course, Paul I will answer your question --

I believe that God is the Father

Jesus Christ is His Son

The Holy Spirit is the person who joins them together.

Usually when I/We have departed from the stated topic, I have been told that I am not on topic and asked to either stop or start another thread. The moderators may just tell us the same thing regarding this side topic, Or they may allow this departure. Just so you know Paul.

Brian

#31 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:24 PM

This is all quite backwards and, forgive me, just a tad infuriating. On the one hand, there is nothing wrong with asking questions about Orthodoxy, what Orthodox believe, what we practice, etc. But in what spirit? And under what conditions? At some point the questions and answers have to break off because there is this spiritual chasm. I am not claiming spiritual superiority here -- either for me or anyone else who is Orthodox. It's just that there must be some kind of proper spiritual seeking that goes along with the questioning...


I don't know how to respond to this Owen.

Brian

#32 Owen Jones

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 03:41 PM

I guess I am asking -- what is the point of the questions?

#33 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 04:15 PM

We are discussing what is called in Orthodoxy "theosis". A side discussion was touched upon regarding the trinity. The point was (from my point of view) wether Jesus had to develop or undergo "theosis".

I have receive clarification from Dcn. Steenberg and Mr. Bladoe, which I have printed out for further consideration. From my standpoint there is no animosity. This is simply a discussion.

If I have offended you - it was unintentional, and if it is required, I apologize for anything I may have said that provoked you.

Brian

#34 Owen Jones

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 05:23 PM

No, it's not that. I don't accuse you of anything intentional. It's just that the underlying question needs to be brought into clarity for any discussion with a non-Orthodox person to be fruitful. It ought to be -- how can I save my hopelessly sinful and corrupted soul (and body)? That should be the same question for those of us who are Orthodox as well, but at least if we are Orthodox one might make some modest assumptions without having to look at the underlying question in each and every case. But in the case of an inquirer from outside of Orthodoxy, I think it is important to ask, what are you after? This is serious, life and death business here. While Christological issues are complex and sometimes confusing, they do not arise in a vacuum, but arise out of the struggle to conform ourselves to Christ's life -- these questions that are discussed and debated all relate back to an underlying question of how, then are we to be saved. We cannot treat them as abstractions, or as if we are carrying on a course in comparative religion...that would essentially be doing violence to our beliefs and practices. Our beliefs and practices are to be lived, not debated, and if someone wants this life, then monachos is a good place to share and learn, in the context of a living community of worship, typically an Orthodox parish. They cannot really be understood apart from that.

I'm not trying to drive off non-Orthodox participants, and it wouldn't be my right to do so if I were, but this is a living reality that can abused by focusing too much on abstractions and generalities.

#35 Owen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:20 PM

While people tend to speak of theosis as occuring in stages--purification, illumination, union--the fact is that these are more like energy-states. When you develope your spiritual muscle enough, you become capable of experiencing illumination, though the ground-state of purification is never left behind. And the great Saints are strong enough that they become capable of experience union with the Divine while yet in the body, but again, the ground-state is never left behind.

#36 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 07:35 PM

Again Owen I really don't know how to respond. But I will try. I have been reprimanded twice (maybe more - I can't remember) to stick to the topic. The overarching topic in all of these discussions is in effect as you say ----

It ought to be -- how can I save my hopelessly sinful and corrupted soul (and body)?


These pieces of the puzzle are not abstractions to me either. I know this is your life - please know that the pursuit of Christ has been my life for 25 years as well. I don't know Orthodox terms or your practices but this is certainly not an abstract discussion to me either.

The point as far as an overarching point in my opinion and life is how to conform to and glorify Christ Jesus.

But in this forum/community I have been reminded to stick to the topic of the particular thread. In this case Theosis. It took me a while to simply understand what the Orthodox meant when they used the word "theosis".

I find that it is familiar to my thinking but I have not generally used that word to describe it in the past.

The "lie" so to speak is not really theosis as stated by Dcn Matthew --

Theosis and deification are one and the same. Theosis comes from Greek, deification comes from Latin. The translation of each is 'to become divine, to become God'.


The "lie" then from post #1 is something that I have not yet understood from these discussions.

While I never expect to be God - I do aspire to have my sins forgiven and attain to the image of Christ at some point - wether in this lifetime of not. I do not consider that to be a personal divinization. But this may just be a matter of symantics.

This is the thread topic and it involves what you term Theosis. The answers I got from Dcn. Matthew and Mr. Blaydoe contain thoughts that I probably don't quite understand yet and somehow that relates to the trinity. Now how that realtes to the "lie" mentioned in post #1 - I am not certain, yet. Mr. Blaydoes comment seems to suggest that He feels that my perceived misunderstanding has to do with my understanding of the trinlty -

Especially when you are missing an essential piece of the puzzle. God put on our humanity, but did not "take off", remove or otherwise change, dilute, or temporarily "set aside" His Divinity. He merely withheld it from our senses. Put that piece into the puzzle and the picture becomes more clear.


My thinking is very different from that of an Orthodox believer. I have never been exposed to these ideas. When I try and work out what I consider to be doctrine/salvation in my postings I am sure you are confronted with thoughts and concepts that are foreign to you. If you consider them to be unscriptural let me know. These thoughts/concepts since they concern the most importnt thing in our lives (our relationship with God), will be threatening to us personally especially if a deeply held personal; belief is challanged in a way new to us.

Challanging personal beliefs can be painful. God can change a heart without causeing emotional pain (through our thoughts etc.) but mankind is sometimes not as careful of the other persons sensibilities. So damaged feelings will be inevitable.

In general when a person receives correction or even a new insight/direction from another person it will probably not be acknowledged to the person who has been capitulated to. Of course with my finely developed sense of humility (joke), I may from time to time acknowledge that I have learned something from you folks.

It has been my experience however that to expect a public demonstration of capitulation will only lead to the frustration that I think you are becoming familiar with.

Brian

#37 Paul Cowan

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 07:53 PM

Of course, Paul I will answer your question --

I believe that God is the Father

Jesus Christ is His Son

The Holy Spirit is the person who joins them together.

Usually when I/We have departed from the stated topic, I have been told that I am not on topic and asked to either stop or start another thread. The moderators may just tell us the same thing regarding this side topic, Or they may allow this departure. Just so you know Paul.

Brian


This is not how Orthodoxy views the Trinity.

Do you remember in Star Trek IV when Dr. McCoy asked Spock to discuss death and re-life from Star Trek III and Spock's reply was they could have no meaningful discussion without a base point of reference. Meaning McCoy would have to experience death and re-life to have the discussion?

Same here. We are not comparing apples to apples. We have a different understanding of our terms and until they are the same, we can have no meaningful discussion. The problem comes in that we don't know what terms we DO have in common. I do wish our Monachos dictionary was back online.

Our definition of the Trinity is this
God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit are totally undivided and never without. The Holy Spirit does not "join" them together as they are never separated and never can be. They are all 3; one. There is never a time when one is without the other two.

Jesus said multiple times over God the Father is in me as I am in Him. Just because he did not specifically mention the Holy Spirit does not mean He is to be excluded. They were not ready for Him yet. Words are very limiting. God is not. Jesus said He would "go" to the Father and send the Holy Spirit. These action words are not meant to mean God the Son and God the Father are not present "in" the Spirit with us. God is omnipresent, the Trinity is unseparable, therefore the Trinity is always everywhere all times. "Where ever 2 or more are praying in My name, there I will be with them." How can this be if only the Holy Spirit is with us?

When Jesus was separated from His family in Bethleham as a child, he marveled the church elders with his knowledge. He only shared with them as much as was supremely permissable for a child of His age to share with them to make them marvel. Had He shown them more of His wisdom than was humanly conceivable for a child to have, He would have been marked a freak and dismissed. There are several places Jesus "hides" His abilities from those around Him.

1) When His disciples ask him to tell them when He will return and He said only the Father knows. Of course He knew since He is "in" the Father and the Father "in" Him. He is God, but being a loving God he withheld the knowledge from them so they (we) would stay diligent until his return. Do earthly fathers not withhold things from their children who are not ready for them? Like car keys.
2) When Peter cuts off the dude's ear and Jesus tells him to put away his sword since He could ask for legions of angels to come and save Him if He asked.
3) How many miracles did He perform in secret away from crowds so they would not see them strictly telling the beneficiaries not to tell anyone?

I shared once with a Mormon co-worker our Creed. He said "yeah, that's what we believe too". The words may have been right, but the definition behind them was not. When we talked a bit more about definitions, it was clear to both of us, we were not talking about the same thing.

Paul

#38 Ben Johnson

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 07:58 PM

Hi Brian

Do you come from a protestant background? I do and thererfore have treaded the subject of theosis very carelfully. I think the main thing to remember is that theosis begins with God. It can only be accomplished WITH God. It cannot be done alone.

--Ben

#39 Owen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:28 PM

Indeed, synergy (cooperating with/working together with) between us and God is necessary for theosis. That is another concept difficult for some Protestants (i.e., Calvinists) to accept.

#40 Brian Mickelsen

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:43 PM

Yes Ben - I was from a protestant background when I was younger, but I was not really religious then. My parents just attended a lutheran church - so I did.

I am really from a pentacostal background - although I am no longer an active participant in the group or doctrines.




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