Man Might Become God?


#1

From the Office of the Readings today, St. Augustine wrote.

“God became man, so that man might become God.”

I haven’t digested the meaning of this, has anyone else?

Jim


#2

Ah, theosis. It’s kind of headache-y for me, actually. It troubled me when I first thought about it. It seems almost to smack of polytheism, or at the least just putting humans up too high. I remember seeing a quote by St. Teresa of the Andes that said much the same thing. She was speaking of the Eucharist though—she said that it’s Jesus’ way of turning us into God. I don’t think she (or Augustine, for that matter) mean that we can become gods or goddesses, but rather that we may become part of God, that if we can die to ourselves, we could be consumed by him. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind (the bit where it says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”). That’s how I think of it, anyway. I really look forward to seeing what the CAF smartie-pantses have to say, though. :stuck_out_tongue:


#3

What an EXCELLENT question!!! I recently realized that a major stumbling block in my faith life is in my understanding of the purpose of human suffering, redemptive suffering, and the Crucifixion. Somehow, through the Incarnation, God’s divinity may raise our humanity. Why?! :shrug: :confused: :confused: :shrug: Perhaps many of our strumbling blocks might be removed and our questions answered if we had a fuller, deeper understanding of the meaning and purpose of the Incarnation and Crucixifion? If we were able to advance in Mysticism (exploring the Mystery of Christ). Alas, where is the place where one can find church-approved, Saintly and Popely reading on the Incarnation and Crucifixion? Quite possibly the Vatican may have something on its website if anyone has already perused the texts?

Maybe the angels and saints don’t even fully understand the Incarnation and Crucifixion in heaven so no worries if little me can not fathom!! :slight_smile: :eek: :smiley: Perhaps at Lent we will see more answers!
From the Diary of St. Maria Faustina: Divine Mercy in My Soul

  1. November 27, [1936]. Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless praise and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom.

This source of happiness is unchanging in its essence, but it is always new, gushing forth happiness for all creatures. Now I understand Saint Paul, who said, “Eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him.”

saint-faustina.com/Diary/DMIMS16.shtml

Perhaps, here is a thought. Christ is God. God the Father is God. Yet they are one, the Holy Spirit arises from the fruits of their love. We ought to do everything to seek “union with the will of God”, to obey God the Father completely and perfectly and the Holy Spirit allows us to do that. If we are successful in uniting ourself with God, may we not be an extension of God at that point in time, an extension that is perfected in Heaven? :shrug: Might we also be one with God. (the concept that the Holy Spirit arises from the fruits of their love was presented to me by JReducation on the thread originated by Pellman How did the saints cope with the suffering in the world? forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=297065&page=2 )

unborn babies, St. Josephine Bakhita, St. Martin de Porres, Venerable Pierre Touissant, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Sr. Lucy of Fatima, St. Edith Stein, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Liseux, St. Maximilian Maria, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, St. Alphonsus Mary de Liguori, St. Louis Marie de Montfort, St. Maria Faustina, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Vincent de Paul, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Oscar Romero, St. Dympha, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, Archangel Gabriel, Archangel Raphael, Archangel Michael, we humbly beg you pray to Mary!!

May the Holy Spirit through the Mother of the Word grant us the graces that we desperately need!! May the LOVE and MERCY of the Sacred Heart of Jesus overflow around us!! May the WONDERS of the Mother of the Word come to our aid!!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *

Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse. Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well beloved spouse.

For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world! For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

*Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art Thou among women and blessed is the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. *


#4

dove

Ah, theosis. It’s kind of headache-y for me, actually. It troubled me when I first thought about it. It seems almost to smack of polytheism, or at the least just putting humans up too high. I remember seeing a quote by St. Teresa of the Andes that said much the same thing. She was speaking of the Eucharist though—she said that it’s Jesus’ way of turning us into God. I don’t think she (or Augustine, for that matter) mean that we can become gods or goddesses, but rather that we may become part of God, that if we can die to ourselves, we could be consumed by him. Galatians 2:20 comes to mind (the bit where it says, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”). That’s how I think of it, anyway. I really look forward to seeing what the CAF smartie-pantses have to say, though.

I’m think along the same line as you’re presenting here.

What I find interesting is, that St. John of the Cross says, that a lover will take on the characteristics of the beloved. That is, in the loving relationship between ourselves and God, who is the beloved, we take on His characteristics, in that we begin to love as God loves.

Jim


#5

The perfect unity of the human soul with God that is the end result of our journey is, I think, one of the deepest mysteries.

The phrase “becoming gods (or God)” can be interpreted many ways. What it means, according to the saints, etc., that I’ve read, is that we become so closely enmeshed with the Holy Trinity, dwelling in our soul, that we reach a state of unity that goes beyond mere “love”. God truly lives within us and us within Him. After all, we are adopted sons and daughters of the Father; we are one family (the Communion of Saints).

A critical point that must be made is that this is not collectivism, which is a pantheistic and entirely non-Catholic notion; we do not lose our own identity in becoming one with God.

That makes it even more beautiful.

St. Therese’s analogy of being a drop of water in the ocean is the most perfect expression of this concept and this state I have come across, I think.


#6

Well, its amazing how the Holy Spirit will direct you, when you least expect it.

I was thinking about this question while I was cutting trees outside today.

“God became man, so that man might become God.”

God became man(Jesus Christ), so that in the humanity of Jesus Christ, man becomes God.

Its not man became man so that humans might become God, but that Jesus, God the Son, took on human flesh so that now, man has become God, because Jesus is both divine and human.

Now I get it.

In Christ Jesus
Jim


#7

Jim, I’m not sure if that’s a complete understanding of theosis. From the CCC:

**398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God”.279

CCC 460
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.”

1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48
Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.49

1988 Through the power of the Holy Spirit we take part in Christ’s Passion by dying to sin, and in his Resurrection by being born to a new life; we are members of his Body which is the Church, branches grafted onto the vine which is himself:36
[God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.37

Also CCC 1129, 1265, 1812
**


#8

fhansen,
actually, I think it was my original misunderstanding of St. Augustine’s words, that was the problem.

We share in the divinity of God, through Jesus Christ.

However, we do not become God, i.e. apart from Him.
There is and can only be, one God.

Jim


#9

Part of this is addressed by St. Paul in Galatians, where we receive adoption as sons. (Gal 4:4ff) and by St. Peter (2 Peter 1:4) where he talks about us becoming partakers of the divine nature.

I try to explain it this way. I have two wonderful dogs. I love them, care for them, feed them, nurse them when they’re sick, and hug them. But no matter how much I kick and scream, neither the Church nor the State will ever allow me to adopt them as my children, or put them in my will, and make them my heirs.

Why?

Because they do not share my nature. I’m human; they are not.

Well, we humans are farther from God than dogs are from us. But because Jesus became man, while remaining fully God, man is now capable of adoption as sons of God because Jesus, as man, is the Son of God. But for us to become sons of God, we need to become, in a way, “God”, i.e. partakers in the divine nature.

This is how I understand St. Augustine. Man cannot become a son of God without becoming “God”, i.e. having the life of God in him. No, we do not become gods or God but we have a share in his very life, since Jesus made it possible.

It’s a very biblical understanding.


#10

Yes, that makes sense. I think the theosis concept is awfully cool one way or the other-that God desires so much more for us than we can imagine-or maybe even want for ourselves.


#11

Taking this one step futher - and in keeping with your original post - St. John of the Cross teaches that through perfection in love we “become God by participation.”

Dave :slight_smile:


#12

Swoon. :love:

That is cool, and very hard to wrap one’s mind around.

Great thread! :thumbsup:


#13

Hi Jim,

I just remembered one of my posts last summer when my pastor spoke these words of St. Augustine on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Pope Benedict made mention of them in Sacramentum Caritatis, Sect. 36.

In addition, I have seen other Vatican documents refer to this wording of the Saint’s. Apparently it is rather a classic phrase of his, referring to our sublime union with Jesus in the Eucharist.

“You yourselves are what you have received.”

Here are two other documents from the Holy See that I’m aware of:
vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/csaints/documents/rc_con_csaints_doc_20021210_martins-rosto-de-cristo_en.html

  • “Not only have we become Christians, but we have become Christ Himself.”*

vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/vocations/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_30091999_xxxvii-voc-2000_en.html
"Be what you receive and receive what you are."


#14

St. Athanasius said the same thing and so did St. Irenaeus and St. Ephrem. Through the Incarnation, God assumed what is ours and gave us what is His. Salvation history is a progressive revelation of God to His people. It began at creation in which He revealed Himself through the things He has made. It continued in the Old Testament through the names and metaphors that are applied to Him. It is completed in the Incarnation with the perfect communion of man with God. God took upon the human nature and bestowed upon us the divine nature. You can see it in the modern Maronite liturgy when it says:You have united, O Lord, your divinity with our humanity and our humanity with your divinity;
your life with our mortality
and our mortality with your life.
You have assumed what is ours,
and you have given us what is yours,
for the life and salvation of our souls.
To you, O Lord, be glory for ever.

The incarnation is an amazing statement of God’s love for us. God emptied Himself and became man, even to the point of dying on the cross. There is a progressive emptying in salvation history. God reveals himself first through His signs in creation, then through names which can’t explain Him and then by becoming man. This kenosis continues even unto the cross so that it can even be said that God died. But it is in this self-emptying that the love of God is revealed. The cross is the glory of God.

Through the incarnation we recieve participation in Christ’s divine nature as 2Peter says. And through this theosis all sin and weakness is burned away from our hearts that we may approach God with a pure heart.


#15

Wonderful post everyone!

God is awesome!

Jim


#16

God wants man to seek perfection and move toward perfection, God himself. He should order his life in this fashion.


#17

My apologies, folks. I gave the wrong link to Sacramentum Caritatis. Nevertheless, the Pope’s comment from section 36 was posted correctly in the previous link I referred to in my post from last summer.

vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html


#18

Thanks for the post.

From Sacramentum Caritatis;

If you have received them properly, you yourselves are what you have received. "Consequently, “not only have we become Christians, we have become Christ himself.”

This shows how important it is, in what state our souls must be in, when we receive the Eucharist. We can not receive while in the state of mortal sin. It also shows the depth of reverence and awe we should have, when receiving.

Jim


#19

Jim,

If you start paying attention to both Scriptures and Tradition, you’ll notice what St. Augustine is talking about beyond the seemingly heretical words.

In the beginning, we were created in the image and likeness of God. After the fall, this likeness was stained. Only the blood of the spotless Lamb could cleanse this stain. Our Lord Himself asked us to be perfect because the Father is perfect, to be holy as the Father is Holy. And to become holy, to become saints, is what all are called to through Baptism. But what we refer to as “sanctification” in the West, the Eastern Churches call “deification”. But this usage is not foreign in the West either, for the prayer when water is mixed with wine at the altar asks that, as Jesus shared our humanity, may we share His Divinity.

HTH

:blessyou:


#20

Theosis is not simply sanctification. It is what it says. Theosis is sharing in the divine nature. But, as you said it is present in the west.


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