As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Theosis and Corinthians

I would like your take on 1 Corinthians 15, especially the following verses:
1Cr 15:45: And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.
1Cr 15:49: And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.


Blogger fra edwin said...

My comments can only be made in context with the whole of the Epistle. Paul made several other statements which are directly pertinent to your question:

1) For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead came also through a human being. For just as in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life, 1Cor:15:21-22

2) For that which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about: "Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" 1Cor:15:53-55

If you take all Paul said into consideration, as well as the fact that he was arguing against those that refuted the resurrection then we can see what he was about.

The first point is that it was not enough that God forgave man, but that since man had declared war, man must declare peace. As Adam rebelled and fell into corruption, Jesus became the "New Adam" who was obedient unto OUR deserved death, and he conquered death by rising physically: not in a corrupted body, but a new incorruptable body.

I think it is important to realize that we are not simply spirits inhabiting bodies. We are embodied spirits. The fact that Jesus came into the flesh tells us without a doubt that flesh and blood is important. The fact that he gave us HIS flesh and blood is important.

Jesus took on our image so we could take on his. Call that theosis if you will.

7:38 AM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

>>As Adam rebelled and fell into corruption, Jesus became the "New Adam" who was obedient unto OUR deserved death, <<

I would change that to say our inherited death. Death was not a penalty imposed, but a curse contracted. God didn't do it to us, it happened as a result of Adam's sin.

As for the rest, I agree. But I think it's a big deal that we take on the image of Christ, who is God. That's something Adam never had, even in his sinlessness.


8:21 AM  
Blogger Hajiburton said...

Mien Herren:

I agree with both of you. It IS a big deal, and it IS our taking on the image of Christ, glorification, assuming incorruptibility. Let me ask you this: Why is it that the church (East) has called that THEOsis, and the church (West) has called it DEIfication? Why should we be flirting with distinctions between essence and energy if this is so simple? (And I do believe it is simple, if foreign to most people).

Mildly stymied,
Sir R.F. Burton

4:08 PM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

I think you hit it.

DEIfication is the act of God.

THEOsis, while not possible without God, is largely due to us willfully putting ourselves in the presence of God and being changed by Him ... not by His action, but by His very being.


4:14 PM  
Blogger fra edwin said...

I cannot say what God's original plan was for us in the Garden. I am not omnipotent or omniscient, so I cannot pretend to understand what being those things mean. We come up with definitions and then apply them to God. I don't know that our definitions of God is worth a hill o' beans.

This being said, I think that Adam and Eve were quite capable of theosis by "walking with God in the Garden." It may have been a very different kind of theosis than we accept through the Redemption and Pentacost, but theosis nonetheless.

God makes the most crooked paths straight. Thank God.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Poor Blogger said...

I don't pretend to know the mind of God. I got that from St. Gregory of Nyssa.

I'm formulating a post to deal with the second half of your response. In short, it will say that, without the Incarnation, Theosis isn't possible.

3:44 PM  
Blogger fra edwin said...

Which part was from St. Greg?

Also, I will have to admit that if your definition predicates Theosis on the Incarnation, then if is obvious that without the Incarnation, Theosis is impossible. But that is a circular argument.

In his innocent state, was not Adam formed in the image of God? Was his life not the "breath of God?" Adam lost his image of God through sin. One could certainly argue that one of the reasons for the incarnation was to restore the Image of God in Man.

Either way, whether through innocence or through justification, walking with God is the way of Theosis. Man's sin took him from the path of innocence and made the path of justification necessary. The Incarnate Jesus who was obedient unto death made the path of justification possible. Thus God's will made our crooked path, straight.

6:02 PM  

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