Question about Theosis and St. Maximus the Confessor


Hello. I came across a wiki article the other day on theosis and this quote (from the wiki article) from St. Maximus the Confessor

“A sure warrant for looking forward with hope to deification of human nature is provided by the incarnation of God, which makes man god to the same degree as God Himself became man.” and “let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods.” For it is clear that He who became man without sin (cf. Heb. 4:15) will divinize human nature without changing it into the divine nature, and will raise it up for His own sake to the same degree as He lowered Himself for man’s sake. This is what St. Paul teaches mystically when he says, ‘…that in the ages to come He might display the overflowing richness of His grace’ (Eph. 2:7)."(page 178 PHILOKALIA Volume II)

Now it seems to me that he is saying that men may become gods, similar to the LDS belief. It seems like he is saying something that is totally contrary to the Catholic faith, yet he was made a saint. It is my understanding that if someone taught such an egregious error as men becoming gods, he would not be canonized. Can someone help me understand where I’m wrong here? Do I not understand the passage correctly? Or did he recant before his death, or something like that? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, God love you.


All Catholic theologians have taught that we “become God” by participating in the Divine Nature, as does Scripture. Even Grace is a share in Divine Life, a participation in the Divine Nature, and this culminates in the Beatific Vision, in which we receive the Glory of God.

This is different from the LDS doctrine, which says not that we participate in Divinity, but that we become Divine. The Catholic doctrine is more akin to saying that metal participates in fire by aquiring the traits of fire: heat, light, ect. The LDS doctrine, as traditionally taught, would be that the metal actually changes natures and becomes fire, or that fire and metal are simply two forms of the same nature.

So St. Maximos’ teaching was not at all contrary to the Apostlic Tradition, and has been upheld since the beginning by Catholics and the other Apostlic Churches (Orthodox and such). Incidently, you can find this teaching even in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 460:

**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.”

If you have any questions on this matter, by all means ask; it’s a major theological focus of mine. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!


Apolonio article on Theosis or Divinization

Phil P


Thanks for the info Ghosty. That definitely helps. I also read the link that Phil posted, and it seems quite interesting. Can you recommend a good book or article to explain this even further? I’d like to study it some more. Thanks, God love you.


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