We Become God?


#1

In todays OOR we had a reading from St Basil the Great. i found the last line(I bolded it) troubling. Mistranslation or am misreading the context?

"As clear, transparent substances become very bright when sunlight falls on them and shine with a new radiance, so also souls in whom the Spirit, become spiritual themselves and a source of grace for others.

From the Spirit comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of the mysteries of faith, insight into the hidden meaning of Scripture, and other special gifts. Through the Spirit we become citizens of heaven, we enter into eternal happiness, and abide in God. Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God."


#2

Mormons would agree - which is troubling to say the least.


#3

I know-I am having a hard time figuring out what he was trying to say.


#4

The theology coming from the Eastern Chruch Father expressed this far beyond my capability but I will try.

To say “We become God” doesn’t mean we suddenly become “The Supreme Being (Yahweh)” or that we (Christians) have suddenly become panatheist. Rather, it means now we share in God’s life or Grace. The ultimate expression of this is the Eucharist. In the Eucharist we have to physical union with Christ and thus the Trinity, when we comsume the Eucharist we become what we have eaten rather than what was consumed becoming part of us as with anything else we might eat.

So we have to understand that it is a matter or God’s activity of coming to us and uniting us to Himself and permeating our very being.


#5

Doctors of the Catholic Church
"These words, especially the last three-we become God-are powerful and provocatively written for all humankind by a wise and learned person. However, the words must be interpreted and comprehended in the right sense and spirit. St Basil meant we become God by participation and not by nature. Doctors are designated official guides given us by the Church. They, with God’s grace, enlighten us in a special way. We need to be open and docile to the Spirit of God to understand what God is communicating to us through them."
It’s also helpful to look at another translation (New Advent and CCEL) of St. Basil the Great’s work (De Spiritu Sancto). The title of the chapter whence comes the quote is “Definitive conceptions about the Spirit which conform to the teaching of the Scriptures”. Here’s the paragraph containing the quote:
23. Now the Spirit is not brought into intimate association with the soul by local approximation. How indeed could there be a corporeal approach to the incorporeal? This association results from the withdrawal of the passions which, coming afterwards gradually on the soul from its friendship to the flesh, have alienated it from its close relationship with God. Only then after a man is purified from the shame whose stain he took through his wickedness, and has come back again to his natural beauty, and as it were cleaning the Royal Image and restoring its ancient form, only thus is it possible for him to draw near to the Paraclete. And He, like the sun, will by the aid of your purified eye show you in Himself the image of the invisible, and in the blessed spectacle of the image you shall behold the unspeakable beauty of the archetype. Through His aid hearts are lifted up, the weak are held by the hand, and they who are advancing are brought to perfection. Shining upon those that are cleansed from every spot, He makes them spiritual by fellowship with Himself. Just as when a sunbeam falls on bright and transparent bodies, they themselves become brilliant too, and shed forth a fresh brightness from themselves, so souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of what is hidden, distribution of good gifts, the heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God. Such, then, to instance a few out of many, are the conceptions concerning the Holy Spirit, which we have been taught to hold concerning His greatness, His dignity, and His operations, by the oracles of the Spirit themselves.
Here is the footnote in the CCEL on “the being made God”:
Θεὸν γενεσθαι. The thought has its most famous expression in Athanasius de Incar. §54: “He was made man that we might be made God” — Θεοποιηθῶμεν, cf. De Decretis §14, and other passages of Athanasius.

Irenæus (Adv. Hær., iv. 38 [lxxv.]) writes “non ab initio dii facti sumus, sed primo quidem homines, tunc demum dii.” “Secundum enim benignitatem suam bene dedit bonum, et similes sibi suæ potestatis homines fecit;” and Origen (contra Celsum, iii. 28), “That the human nature by fellowship with the more divine might be made divine, not in Jesus only, but also in all those who with faith take up the life which Jesus taught;” and Greg. Naz. Or. xxx. §14, “Till by the power of the incarnation he make me God.”

In Basil adv. Eunom., ii. 4. we have, “They who are perfect in virtue are deemed worthy of the title of God.” cf. 2 Peter 1:4: “That ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”


#6

Again, mormons would agree. I wonder why we pitch a fit when they say that in heaven we will be God? The information posted seems to support that.


#7

This sounds what might be called in the East, Theosis.

orthodoxwiki.org/Theosis


#8

carol marie,

I think the real difference between the theology fo the Church Fathers and the Mormons is we are filled with God’s life (Grace) but we do not assume God’s Divine Nature as in the Incarnation.


#9

From what I’ve heard of Mormon theology, they believe we become gods with dominions. Consider this page which focuses on what Mormons believe about the nature and “history” of God:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God … yea, that God himself, the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible…” (from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and History of the Church, 6:302-17)
“He [God] is our Father – the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being;” (Brigham Young in the Journal of Discourses, v. 7, p. 333)
“The Gods who dwell in the Heaven…have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid. They and the Heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state…they were exalted also, from fallen men to Celestial Gods to inhabit their Heaven forever and ever.” (Apostle Orson Pratt in The Seer, page 23)
This “past” of God does not refer to the Incarnation, it refers to God being a human who has been exalted to the rank of god.


#10

I beleive the Mormons take it a step further. They beleive they will be the god for a planet.


#11

That makes sense


#12

gotcha. you are right - big difference.

Thank you.


#13

This idea is in the “silent” prayer of the priest at Mass when mixing the water with the wine: “By the mingling of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ Who humbled himself to share in our humanity.” i think that’s right

Anyway, don’t get so nervous! the Fathers never teach we ontologically become divine, but that we participate in divinity like a piece of iron participates in the nature of fire when it is left in it. It becomes red hot and can burn you. With Mormons it really is different because they (Brigham Young) say: “as we are - God once was.” So for them, God was once a man who became God. Not so for us as Catholics. There is always an essential difference for us. God is uncreated and infinite. We, although we will become “like God” will always stay created and finite beings. Don’t let the fear of Mormonism, or a fear of swallowing the lie of the serpent in the garden, scare you away from the glory and mystery of what actually awaits us in heaven. The serpent knew something great was in store for Adam & Eve…he just wanted them to try to persue it in disobedience instead of in a right relationship with God.


#14

My dad was talking to a priest one day and he quoted this from the Catechism and the priest didn’t believe him, and had to look it up for himself…

The bold is added…

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.”

The interesting thing, imho, is that the Catechism doesn’t go on and discuss this further…


#15

You have to read the footnotes:

78 2 Pt 1:4.
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.


#16

For starters my understanding of Mormon belief is that we will become gods, not God.

Secondly, what I really ‘pitch a fit’ about is that they say Yahweh/Jehovah is a human being who became a god in this manner.


#17

Well, we become gods (in as much as we will be immortal). We thus participate in the divine life, who offers us a share in his divinity. This process is called divinization. Whereas sanctification makes us holy, divinization makes us sharers in the divine life.
Remember the Roman liturgy when the priest adds the water to the wine…
“By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity”

This is, and has always been the Christian faith.


#18

Moved to EC from Sacred Scriptures.

Mane Nobiscum Domine,
Ferdinand Mary


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