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How much theosis is enough (to get to heaven)?


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#1 David Meyers

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:20 PM

Too often in the west our view of slavation (i.e. "gettin' to heaven") revolves around doin' just enough to get in so to speak. Or perhaps it involves having enough 'belief'. How can I better understand what happens to someone who converts to Orthodoxy at the end of their life -- when perhaps they haven't gone through much or any theosis?
I'm sure i'm not asking the right question or that it even makes sense in an orthodox context but coming from a western and primarily protestant world I'm curious on how this plays out because I've heard Catholics & Protestants nswers to this scenario.
Thanks!

Peace, David

#2 Father David Moser

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 02:32 PM

Give all that you have and are to God - it will never be enough, but He will accept it and make it perfect. Only that which you hold back and keep for yourself is not transformed.

How much "theosis" is enough? Nothing less than absolutely everything. Can I ever achieve enough "theosis" to suffice? No. How do I get there from here then? Give your entire being over to Christ - die with Him and rise with Him and He will transform you just as He was transformed on Mt Tabor. But, if you hold even the smallest part of yourself back from Him, even if you keep some "for yourself" then that little bit will not be transformed and will weigh down the whole of your soul.

Fr David

#3 Owen Jones

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 03:47 PM

Yes, Father, although in its proper context I think. The Christian life is all about being obedient to the Law. As our Lord makes clear, obedience not just in the narrow legal sense, although there is that, but obedience in the deeper sense of being spiritually attuned to the Law. As our Lord's "dialogue" with the Pharasees makes clear, we do not have the power to do that, simply by an act of will, or wanting to be good, or by any power that resides within ourselves, but rather it requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whose power is necessary for us to follow in His path. Theosis becomes the evidence, or proof, if you will that we are on the right path, a matter of degrees in the capacity to see God in the things He has made, and likewise for us to be what we are made to be. But our goal should not be theosis per se, but rather to be lovingly obedient. That is to say, obedient to the Law because we love the Lawgiver, and we love His creatures, and not because we are trying to impress God with how good we are or have become. Obedience as a sacred duty, yes, but hopefully we see our sacred duty as a joy, and not as a burden.

As for getting into heaven, I think Orthodoxy sees this as something that we enter into now, by degrees and in moments, and not just something that happens when we die. If someone were to convert to Orthodoxy on his deathbed, let's say, it would be an example of one wanting to be obedient. Placing himself in the hands of the Church for his salvation and recognizing that his salvation is not something in his own power to generate, orchestrate or fulfill. In Orthodoxy, we give our lives over to Christ by becoming obedient to the Church, its teachings, practices, its authorities and so on. This is what is scandalous to the Protestant of course, because he believes and has been taught that it is simply a matter of personal belief between himself and Jesus. It is very easy to trick oneself in that kind of scenario. And of course obedience to the law is generally seen as something good and necessary but not necessary for salvation because that would be works righteousness. God has atoned for our sins and we are justified, being now treated by God as if we were righteous. There is no need to confess our sins under this view.

#4 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 07:44 PM

How much effort is "enough" to be a good husband or a good parent? Should we be worrying about what happens at the end of the relationship or should we be concentrating on right here and right now?

How much "theosis" is enough? It is NEVER "enough". It is not about what happens at the end of our life. It is how close do we want to be to God, right now. We are not minimalists, we are maximalists. We are greedy for God. We should yearn for God like a desert yearns for water. We should always be ready to receive a blessing, to experience grace in our lives.

Theosis is not the the most important thing, salvation is not the most important thing. Having a real, meaningful relationship with Christ, right here, right now. THAT is the important thing. Everything else follows from that.

Or so it seems to this bear of little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#5 Evan

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:18 PM

As I understand it, theosis is an end in itself, the ultimate end of every human life. It is not a means to an end. Transformation in Christ begins in the sacramental, worshipping life of the Church, and continues so long as we are faithful and diligent in holding fast to that which we have received. It never stops. There is always room for progress. God is infinite; the possibilities for growth iin His likeness are limitless.

In Christ,
Evan

#6 John Konstantin

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 10:41 PM

There is always room for progress. God is infinite; the possibilities for growth iin His likeness are limitless.


Even after death?

#7 Owen Jones

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:06 PM

Yes, absolutely! Why else should we pray for the dead? It's not just for our benefit, that we might remember them.

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 16 September 2012 - 11:16 PM

My priest went to Florida last week to Chrismate one of his old instructors. He died a day or so later. Now he is headed back there to perform the burial. Death bed converts? How much theosis did he have? He had enough to want to be chrismated. What business is it of ours?

All the previous posts say all I could so I won't repeat them. We live in the here and now. We deal with the here and now. We are not promised tomorrow.

Paul

#9 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:04 PM

Who are you going to be with for eternity if you get to heaven?
You are going to be with all the other people who made it, together with Jesus Christ, his Holy Mother and all the Saints.
Don't you think it would be a good idea to get to love them before you get there?
This is what God is like: someone who loves everyone as if they were the only one to love.
You have to be like that too.

OK, you have to have a fancy word for all that? Theosis.

The Good News is that this IS possible, and the Holy Church can show you how.

#10 Father Stephanos

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 12:38 PM

As a general rule, the amount of time that an Orthodox Christian struggles before they fall asleep does not matter as long they (are able)/(have the ability) to partake of the uncreated Light of our Lord Jesus Christ to their benefit once they have fallen asleep. To help see that the amount of time is not so important, all we need to do is look at the lives of the many Holy Martyrs throughout the centuries, who confessed our Lord Jesus Christ just minutes or hours or days before they fell asleep and received their reward.

With agape in our Lord Jesus Christ,
+ Father Stephanos

#11 Owen Jones

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 02:38 PM

re: the Paschal sermon from St. John Chrysostom.

#12 John Konstantin

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:49 PM

This is what God is like: someone who loves everyone as if they were the only one to love.
You have to be like that too

OK, you have to have a fancy word for all that? Theosis.

Whilst 'getting into heaven' and learning how to love is undoubtably a result of theosis, it is not a definition of theosis. It is no less than one's deification.

#13 John Konstantin

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 06:53 PM

Yes, absolutely! Why else should we pray for the dead? It's not just for our benefit, that we might remember them.

I was hoping to widen the debate concerning the point beyond which theosis ceases. Theoretically being Hell might be that point, but then again in some theologies maybe not.

#14 Richard A. Downing

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 08:41 PM

Whilst 'getting into heaven' and learning how to love is undoubtably a result of theosis, it is not a definition of theosis. It is no less than one's deification.


John, undoubtedly you have a better understanding than I do. But all you've done for me is to substitute one word for the other.

Sorry.
Richard.

#15 John Konstantin

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Posted 17 September 2012 - 09:52 PM

Hi Richard, what I was saying is that your description of theosis was not describing theosis but the fruits of theosis....or deification if one prefers that word. The merging of our will with that of the uncreated energies of God produces all manner of fruit and no doubt will result in one's union with God which is no less than being in Heaven. Loving folk and 'getting into heaven' is not what the process of theosis is about,which is what you implied. It is more far reaching than that, as good and proper and desirable as love is. Or so it seems to me.

#16 Ernest E. W. Herman

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:02 PM

Too often in the west our view of slavation (i.e. "gettin' to heaven") revolves around doin' just enough to get in so to speak. Or perhaps it involves having enough 'belief'. How can I better understand what happens to someone who converts to Orthodoxy at the end of their life -- when perhaps they haven't gone through much or any theosis?
I'm sure i'm not asking the right question or that it even makes sense in an orthodox context but coming from a western and primarily protestant world I'm curious on how this plays out because I've heard Catholics & Protestants nswers to this scenario.
Thanks!

Peace, David



As far as our Forefathers see the salvation I can come up with a quote from ST. JUSTIN MARTYR, DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO, CHAPTER XIII - ISAIAH TEACHES THAT SINS ARE FORGIVEN THROUGH CHRIST'S BLOOD:

"For Isaiah did not send you to a bath, there to wash away murder and other sins, which not even all the water of the sea were sufficient to purge; but, as might have been expected, this was that saving bath of the olden time which followed s those who repented, and who no longer were purified by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of an heifer, or by the offerings of fine flour, but by faith through the blood of Christ, and through His death, who died for this very reason, as Isaiah himself said, when he spake thus: 'The Lord shall make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the nations and the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God".
As far as our Orthodox Bible goes we can see the exact thing in the following verses:
- Romans 5:9: "Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him".
- Ephesians 1:7: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins..." Going to the bottom page 1599 we read in the notes that "the price of redemption is blood - the human life of Christ given over to death for the sake of new life..."
-

#17 Ernest E. W. Herman

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:19 AM

- Ephesians 2:13: "But now in Christ Jesus you... have been brought near by the blood of Christ".
- Colossians 1:14: "in whom we have redemption through His blood the forgiveness of sins".

This is, in a few words, the doctrine of salvation in the Orthodox religion, from the Forefathers' perspective as well as from the Bible's perspective.
God bless you.

#18 Sacha

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 02:48 AM

Too often in the west our view of slavation (i.e. "gettin' to heaven") revolves around doin' just enough to get in so to speak. Or perhaps it involves having enough 'belief'. How can I better understand what happens to someone who converts to Orthodoxy at the end of their life -- when perhaps they haven't gone through much or any theosis?
I'm sure i'm not asking the right question or that it even makes sense in an orthodox context but coming from a western and primarily protestant world I'm curious on how this plays out because I've heard Catholics & Protestants nswers to this scenario.
Thanks!

Peace, David


David,


How much love should a husband have for his wife in order for her to experience true marital joy and peace?

Answer this and you will have the answer to your question about how much theosis is enough to 'get' to heaven.

#19 Ernest E. W. Herman

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:00 PM

Who cares after all about the way that Catholics & Protestants answer this scenario? According to the Orthodox Study Bible we read in John 12:48 that "He who rejects Me (Jesus), and does not receive My words (Jesus' words)... the Word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day". And we have also another Bible verse in Acts 17:30-31 "...God... now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man Whom He has ordained (Jesus)". Why then should we worry about anybody else in the whole Universe of God about their opinion? Jesus is the One that will judge us and His judgment will be according to His Own Words in the Bible. Is it not this the reason that Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848, A Reply to the Epistle of Pope Pius IX, "to the Easterns"To All the Bishops Everywhere, Beloved in the Holy Ghost, Our Venerable, Most Dear Brethren; and to their Most Pious Clergy; and to All the Genuine Orthodox Sons of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church: Brotherly Salutation in the Holy Spirit, and Every Good From God, and Salvation, mentions very precise that "For our faith, brethren, is not of men nor by man, but by revelation of Jesus Christ, which the divine Apostles preached, the holy Ecumenical Councils confirmed, the greatest and wisest teachers of the world handed down in succession, and the shed blood of the holy martyrs ratified. Let us hold fast to the confession which we have received unadulterated from such men, turning away from every novelty as a suggestion of the devil. He that accepts a novelty reproaches with deficiency the preached Orthodox Faith"?

And by the way, how much theosis did the thief on the cross go through before to be with Jesus? What kind of works and how much work could a crucified man perform in order to go to Heaven in his, perhaps, last couple of hours before to die?

#20 Sacha

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:24 PM

The thief on the cross worked out his salvation with fear and trembling by rebuking the other robber who insulted Christ. That is more than many do today and it was what he could do given his circumstances. And he did it.

The patristic witness, especially that of the Apostolic Fathers is replete with teaching against sola fide and sola scriptura, by the way. Sola fide was unknown to the early church and is deficient through and through.




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