A Feeling of Oneness. . . .


#1

Is that not the essence of spirituality? The connectedness and inter-relation of all things? All things experienced as a single inseperable cosmic whole?

I have a deep feeling, an incredibly deep feeling that comes from the very base of my soul during the wondrous and brief moments when I feel most alive, that we are all an integral part of the Divine reality. In fact, I feel as though I am actually the Divine incarnate, a subtle reflection of God, and so is everyone and everything else.

Indeed, there’s something spiritual about existence, and I would not be telling the truth if I denied it.


#2

You are God? I seem to remember a serpent saying that to us early on in our history. It didn’t turn out well. Let me be the first to tell you that you are not God.


#3

[quote=cestusdei]You are God? I seem to remember a serpent saying that to us early on in our history. It didn’t turn out well. Let me be the first to tell you that you are not God.
[/quote]

Myth doesn’t affect me.

I was speculating about what is real.


#4

I am being quite real. You are not God. If you are then create a whole new universe and transport me there. Or something simple like moving Mars closer to the earth. The real God is creater of the universe. It is not God. He is totally other. If you want unity with Him you do it on His terms. To find out those terms you will need to investigate the Catholic Church. We won’t make you a God or lie to you and tell you that you are one. But we will tell you that God has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. That He can forgive your sins, even the ones of pride. And that you can live with Him forever. It isn’t godhood, but it is real.


#5

[font=Times New Roman][size=3][font=Times New Roman][font=Times New Roman][size=3]I embrace a unity and a linkage that divinizes too. Aside from the teachings of my frequently disparaged church, there is a sense within me that we are called to unite with God and be like Him.**[/size][/size]

Here are some Catholics who have said interesting things.

G. H. Joyce

God, says St. Peter “has given us most great and precious promises that by these you may be made partarkers of the Divine nature (2 Pet. i. 4). Startling as the words are, the teaching which we have already considered will have prepared us for them. They signify that the sonship conferred on us through Jesus Christ raises us so far above our creaturely condition, that by it we partake in the life which is proper to the Three Divine Persons in virtue of Their nature. The passage does not stand altogether alone. When our Lord prays to His Father on behalf of the apostles and all who through their word should believe in Him, “that they all many be one, as Thou, Father in Me and I in Thee, that they may be made perfect in one” (John xvii. 22, 23), His words can hardly signify less than this. If our union with God is comparable to that which unites the Father and the Son, it can only be a union bases on a share in the Divine life…The fathers of the Church from the earliest times with one consent take the apostle’s words in their literal sense. There is no question of any figurative interpretation. They do not hesitate to speak of the “deification” of man. By grace, they tell us, men become gods. (G.H. Joyce, S.J., The Catholic Doctrine of Grace, London: 1920, pp. 34, 35)

Matthias Joseph Scheeben

If man is to be reunited to God as his Father, God Himself must raise him up again to His side…God must again draw man up to His bosom as His child, regenerate him to new divine life, and again clothe him with the garment of His children, the splendor of His own nature and glory…this transformation of the will is essentially bound up with the inner elevation of our entire being by the grace of divine sonship and participation in the divine nature…The children of God participate as such in the divine holiness of their Father, in His very nature. (Scheeben, The Mysteries of Christianity, B. Herder Book Co.: St. Loius, pp. 615, 616, 617, 619 - emphasis mine - German first ed. 1865; English ed. 1946, translated from the 1941 German ed.)

Lugwig Ott

The Church prays in the Offertory of the Holy Mass : “Grant that by the mystery of this water and wine, we may be made partakers of His divinity, who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity.” Similarly in the Preface of the Feast of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven : “He was assumed into Heaven in order that we might be partakers in His divinity.” Cf. D 1021.

According to 2 Peter 1, 4 the Christian is elevated to participation in the Divine nature…Again, the scriptural texts which represent justification as generation or birth from God (John 1, 12 et seq. ; 3, 5 ; 1 John 3, 1. 9 ; Tit. 3. 5 ; James 1, 18 ; 1 Peter 1, 23), indirectly teach the participation of man in the Divine nature, as generation consists in the communication of the nature of the generator to the generated.

From the scriptural texts cited, and from others (Ps. 81, 1. 6 ; John 10, 34 et seq.), the Fathers derived the teaching of the deification of man by grace (theiOis, deificatio). It is a firm conviction of the Fathers that God became man so that man might become God, that is, defied. (Dr. Lugwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 256 - German ed. 1952; English 1955.)

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#6

cont-

George D. Smith

The application of all this to the question of sanctifying grace will be seen more and more as we proceed, but for the present we simply assert the magnificent truth that grace is not only a positive reality in the soul, not only a reality which no created being could produce, but a reality which in itself is higher than the whole order of created things (even angelic) and is truly divine. This brings us at once to a wonderful phrase of St Peter, who says that we are made “partakers of the divine nature.” Catholic theology has ever clung to the belief that here we have no mere figure of speech but the declaration of a definite fact. We really are made to be partakers of the divine nature. It is not merely that our spiritual faculties of intellect and will establish a special likeness to God in our souls; that is true enough, but over and above this natural likeness to God a wholly supernatural quality is given to us which makes us to be of the same nature as God…St Augustine puts the matter thus: He descended that we might ascend, and “whilst retaining his own divine nature he partook of our human nature, that we whilst keeping our own nature, might become partakers of his.” St Thomas Aquinas, echoing the constant teaching of the past, declares in a passage which the Church uses for the feast of Corpus Christi: “the only-begotten Son of God, wishing to make us partakers of his own divinity, took upon himself our human nature that having become man he might make men to be gods.” And we know how the Church has enshrined this wonderful truth in one of the most beautiful of the prayers at Mass. “O God, who in creating human nature, didst marvellously ennoble it, and hast still more marvellously renewed it, grant that by the mysery of this water and wine we may be made partakers of his Godhead, who vouchsafed to become partaker of our humanity, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord.” (The Teaching of the Catholic Church, edited by Canon George D. Smith, 1960, volume 1, pp. 553, 554.)

Both St John and St Paul exult in proclaiming this act of divine condescension. “Dearly beloved,” the first writes with all the earnestness of the disciple of love, “we are now the sons of God: and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that when he shall appear we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is. And everyone that hath this hope in him sanctifieth himself.”…In light of such luminous teaching it is clear that is in a very special sense that we are children of God…Sanctifying grace, as we have seen, is a positive reality infused into the soul by which we are made to share the divine life…By sanctifying grace the very life of God is imparted unto them. (Ibid. pp. 556, 557.)

John Paul II

This is the central truth of all Christian soteriology that finds an organic unity with the revealed reality of the God-Man. God became man that man could truly participate in the life of God—so that, indeed, in a certain sense, he could become God. The Fathers of the Church had a clear consciousness of this fact. It is sufficient to recall St. Irenaeus who, in his exhortations to imitate Christ, the only sure teacher, declared: “Through the immense love he bore, he became what we are, thereby affording us the opportunity of becoming what he is.” (John Paul II, Jesus, Son and Savior, 1996, p. 215 - General audience address September 2, 1987.)

CCC

The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994 edition, p. 116.)


#7

Tom,
What we mean by sanctification and what Mormons mean about becoming Gods are two very very different things. I have noticed the lds mining the Fathers and lifting quotes out of context to support their views. Similiar to how fundamentalists misuse the Bible. I hate to tell you, but you won’t be a God either. You won’t get your own planet etc. Keep in mind that defining terms is always a good idea. When a Mormon says he believes in the Trinity he doesn’t mean what we mean by Trinity. Same goes here.


#8

[quote=cestusdei]You are God? I seem to remember a serpent saying that to us early on in our history. It didn’t turn out well. Let me be the first to tell you that you are not God.
[/quote]

We are created in the image of God. In that sense I guess we do each have a little of the divine in us.


#9

That isn’t what image of God means. Gnostics believed we had a spark of divinity trapped in our evil flesh. Christianity repudiated that. The image of God means that we have memory, intellect, and will. God is what He is by nature. We can never achieve that. But by grace we can be sanctified and so become Christ like. The Fathers or the Pope never meant that we somehow become equal to God or our own Gods. That is nefas. Absolutely wrong.


#10

[quote=cestusdei] Tom,
[/quote]

What we mean by sanctification and what Mormons mean about becoming Gods are two very very different things. I have noticed the lds mining the Fathers and lifting quotes out of context to support their views. Similiar to how fundamentalists misuse the Bible. I hate to tell you, but you won’t be a God either. You won’t get your own planet etc. Keep in mind that defining terms is always a good idea. When a Mormon says he believes in the Trinity he doesn’t mean what we mean by Trinity. Same goes here.

I believe, former Father Jordan Vajda would have said of your statement, “Well, yes and no.”

So would I. Have you read his masters thesis?

You do not understand my beliefs on deification in all likelihood as you have prolly learned of them from those who would declare them unBiblical. The fact is that my beliefs on deification are in alignment with the Bible.

There is really only one place were I feel that I depart company with the ECF. Seeds of this departure are planted in the late 2nd century. At the council of Nicea the departure is pretty clear if only implicit.

I think this issue is much less important than is the apostasy, but if you are still around we can explore this.

[quote=cestusdei] The Fathers or the Pope never meant that we somehow become equal to God or our own Gods. That is nefas. Absolutely wrong.
[/quote]

I do not say either of these. I believe you are not honest (prolly for some kind of effect rather than deception) when you “hate to tell me.” But the fact is I am glad to tell you that you cannot tell me what I believe. If you think it appropriate for you to say that the Catholics I quoted do not mean that Catholics believe that men may become equal to God, then perhaps you should hesitate just a little when you try to tell me what I believe.

It is the Catholic Church who among its laity forgot the ultimate blessings God hopes to embrace us with. Many ECF and some modern scholars have not forgotten. God reminded Joseph Smith of just how amazing God’s plan is.

Charity, TOm


#11

[quote=TOmNossor]You do not understand my beliefs on deification in all likelihood as you have prolly learned of them from those who would declare them unBiblical. The fact is that my beliefs on deification are in alignment with the Bible.

[/quote]

Could you please explain your beliefs regarding the afterlife then?

Here’s a brief of what I have been taught regarding LDS beliefs…

  1. There are three levels of heaven, and three levels within each of those levels.
  2. Only those who are devout LDS can obtain the highest level, and they must be married (I have also heard that they must have more than one wife, though I discount this statement).
  3. For those who obtain the highest level, they become gods of their own planet.
  4. Those who become gods of their own planet have innumberable spirit children with their spirit wife (wives) to populate their planet.
  5. Those who become gods of their own planets can progress infinitely through the “layers” of godhood, though they can never reach the same level as the god above them.

#12

It is generally taught that the highest level is broken into 3 levels. I am unaware of any teaching upon the other levels being broken into sub-levels.

The highest sub-level of the highest level is for those who are married. It seems that in the past it was taught that those who were called to enter into plural marriage would need to heed the call of God for this highest level. We are not called to practice this now (there is some question in my mind as to what of those not called to live this when others were called, and even what it means in light of the fact it is no longer practiced).

However, LDS practice vicarious ordinances for those who were not LDS while living. I believe that our salvation/exaltation is predicated upon our earthly existence, but that the highest glories are available to all people who live by the light of Christ that shines into all hearts. I liken this belief to the Catholic belief in Baptism of Desire, but the actual Baptism will be preformed (and all other ordinances including Celestial Marriage). Predicated upon ones earthly existence they may choose to accept these vicarious ordinances or reject them. So one does not have to be married or LDS in this life to receive the highest glory, but ones earthly life will determine what rewards are afforded/chosen after death.

  1. & 4)

For those who receive the highest level they will receive eternal increase. It has been suggested that this includes spirit children and a planet. I have not found anything binding that demands that eternal increase is this. I view it as a possibility.

God the Father is above us. It is through Jesus Christ that we can become like Him, that we can become gods. The Holy Ghost is also critical towards this guidance to the Father.

I believe that the Bible teaches that we are to become gods. I believe that we are deified through uniting with God the Father. I believe we have no ability to unite with God the Father except through His Son. (and combined with “knowledge” delivered by the Holy Ghost).

As a result of the above, the Trinity is always above us. We do not become gods beside God, but rather gods united with God. God the Father is the fount of divinity. Questions concerning what a deified human does when they become gods I think are only answered through speculation and not authoritatively.

If you are really interested, this is one of my favorite essays on this. I may not agree with every point, but I certainly think it is a good read on LDS theology (and you must love the essay it is on ND’s web).

[/font]http://www.nd.edu/~rpotter/ostler_element1-1.html

I hope that answers your question.

Charity, TOm


#13

Tom,
If Mormons no longer accept what Smith said about becoming Gods then that is fine by me. I haven’t read Jordan’s thesis. I would love to talk to him someday. If he is honest he would have to admit that the Fathers were not Mormons. They did not use deification in the sense that you do. I have learned that you can interpret the Bible, or even the Fathers, to say whatever you like. This is why we have the Catholic Church. Keep in mind the Bible is a product of the Church and the Fathers were for the most part Catholic bishops. If you read the CCC you will see we have not forgotten what comes with baptism. I realize that Mormons are reinterpreting their beliefs. But their view on the nature of the human person and our destiny are far outside orthodoxy. There is a qualitative difference, an essential difference, between God and man. I guess we might have to start another thread upon my return.


#14

[quote=cestusdei]Tom,
[/quote]

[size=3]If Mormons no longer accept what Smith said about becoming Gods then that is fine by me. [/size]

TOm:

I would suggest that if Catholics no longer accept what Pope John Paul II and the CCC said, that is fine by me too. Or perhaps since I would not be so silly as to claim that JPII is a LDS I should let Catholics interpret his words.

Now the ECF are different. I claim to have as much ability to assign meaning to their words as you. They slowly moved from in alignment with Jesus Christ to less in alignment with Jesus Christ. I refuse to grant you a monopoly upon the interpretation of the ECF.

[quote=cestusdei] I haven’t read Jordan’s thesis. I would love to talk to him someday. If he is honest he would have to admit that the Fathers were not Mormons. They did not use deification in the sense that you do.
[/quote]

TOm:

In truth I have only read about Jordan Vajda’s thesis. I understand he includes two difference between the LDS concept and the concept of the ECF. I embrace only one of them (and cannot remember what the other was). But the alignment is pretty impressive, and LDS can point to St. Justin Martyr and the writings of Margaret Barker to suggest that perhaps this difference is a later invention. As you suggest it has to do with nature.

[quote=cestusdei] I have learned that you can interpret the Bible, or even the Fathers, to say whatever you like. This is why we have the Catholic Church. Keep in mind the Bible is a product of the Church and the Fathers were for the most part Catholic bishops. If you read the CCC you will see we have not forgotten what comes with baptism.
[/quote]

[size=3]

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You and I can agree that authority is required to properly interpret the Bible. This is why the apostasy is the most important topic we can discuss.

The Bible is sufficient and God breathed. I believe there were books that could have been included but were not and other things.

Despite reading much of the CCC I do not know what you refer to with respect to baptism (unless it is the availability of extraordinary grace).

[quote=cestusdei]I realize that Mormons are reinterpreting their beliefs. But their view on the nature of the human person and our destiny are far outside orthodoxy. There is a qualitative difference, an essential difference, between God and man. I guess we might have to start another thread upon my return.
[/quote]

TOm:

Of course all religions develop. Are you suggesting development = falsity?

And yes, the only major difference between LDS deification and what we have from the ECF is the nature of God and man. LDS believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and all men are homousian. I would suggest that the radical otherness of God was a latter invention that went hand in hand with the embracing of creation ex nihilo, but this is not as easy to demonstrate as I might like.

Charity, TOm


#15

#16

I hear you James, and understand exactly what you mean.


#17

[quote=TOmNossor]I hope that answers your question.

[/quote]

Yup, that answered my question. One follow up…What is eternal increase?


#18

Cestusdei:

We accept what he says. Do I have to quote Smith to you?

TOm:

No, but I declare that I have a better foundation to interpret Smith than do you.

I could and did quote the Pope to you, I just am willing to let you interpret his words preferentially to what I might say they mean.

Cestusdei:

Usually the author or compiler has the right to interpret. The Church produced the Bible. The Fathers were Catholics. So it is our Church that has the right to interpret them.

TOm:

This is a classic example of allowing your methods to dictate your conclusions. If you demand that the 21st century Catholic interpretation of the ECF is to be preferred over all others, you might as well not read what they wrote at least if the question is concerning the restoration/development.

Cestusdei:

I have read St. Justin. Very Catholic indeed. But he does not mention us becoming Gods as Smith does.

TOm:

I am indeed unaware of were St. Justin discusses deification, but he explicitly rejects Creation ex Nihilo. From the acceptance of Creation ex Nihilo spawned some errors in the deification formulations stated quite clearly by St. Irenaeus, St. Athanasius, and many others.

Cestusdei:

It was the Catholic Church that decided what went into the Bible. They had good reasons to reject other texts. They weren’t apostolic for one thing.

TOm:

Like Jude? Or perhaps Hebrews?

I would suggest that the writings of the Pastor of Hermas were more used by the early church than was Jude. The Pastor of Hermas very clearly teaches the apostasy and would not be good to include.

I would suggest that the Early Christians placed much more emphasis on the book of 1st Enoch than on many of the books (inter-testamental or not) in the Old Testament. 1st Enoch was a very Christian book and the Jews essentially excluded it from their Bible. The Christians followed suit in order to have a common base to discuss the gospel with Jews (which among other reasons is why I think the CoJCoLDS use the KJV of the Bible).

Charity, TOm


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