The Fathers and Theosis
29-04-2009, 02:57 PM
Personally, I like my espresso straight.
To my knowledge, there are no other contemporary Orthodox writers speaking to the difference of thepoiesis and theosis, but the issue is being debated among the hierarchs. This is not to say that what the Copts are writing about and what the Easterners are writing about are currently the same thing, for if we examine each's writings we find a very dissimilar spirit in them.
I am currently digging deeper into the contemporary EO understanding of theosis, which I am finding is almost identical to platonism - concepts such as the contemplative ascension of one's spirit to the level of theoria, and the ascent to God as much as can be attained are flipped directly over into the Byzantine doctrine of theosis. This is certainly not the same as St Athansius' descension of the Son to us and our adoption as sons of God. For the EO tradition there appears to be a necessity to understand theosis that is critical to salvation, thereby making heaven for those elitist theologians who are best able to grasp the nature of God. Or if not that, only for those who are able to attain a level of theosis, which if they had no knowledge of would have been unable to seek in the first place.
I'll leave you with a little Plato for your consideration. From the Republic:
Here is a parable to illustrate the degrees in which our nature may be
enlightened or unenlightened. Imagine the condition of men living in a sort
of cavernous chamber underground, with an entrance open to the light and
a long passage all down the cave. Here they have been from childhood,
chained by the leg and also by the neck, so that they cannot move and
can only see what is in front of them, because the chains will not let them
turn their heads. At some distance higher up is the light of a fire burning
behind them; and between the prisoners and the fire is a track with a
parapet built along it, like the screen at a puppet-show, which hides the
performers while they show their puppets over the top.
Now, behind this parapet imagine persons carrying along various artificial
objects, including figures of men and animals in wood or stone or other
materials, which project above the parapet. Naturally, some of these
persons will be talking, others silent....A strange picture, and a strange
sort of prisoners ? like ourselves. For in the first place prisoners so
confined would have seen nothing of themselves or of one another, except
the shadows thrown by the fire-light on the wall of the Cave facing them,
and they would have seen as little of the objects carried past. Now, if they
could talk to one another, would they not suppose that their words
referred only to those passing shadows which they saw? And suppose their
prison had an echo from the wall facing them? When one of the people
crossing behind them spoke, they could only suppose that the sound came
from the shadow passing before their eyes. In every way, then, such prisoners would
recognize as reality nothing but the shadows of those artificial objects.
Now consider what would happen if their release from the chains and the
healing of their unwisdom should come about in this way. Suppose one of
them was set free and forced suddenly to stand up, turn his head, and
walk with eyes lifted to the light; all these movements would be painful,
and he would be too dazed to make out the objects whose shadows he
had been used to see. What do you think he would say, if someone told
him that what he had formerly seen was meaningless illusion, but now,
being somewhat nearer to reality and turned towards more real objects, he
was getting a truer view? Suppose further that he were shown the various
objects being carried by and were made to say, in reply to questions, what
each of them was. Would he not be perplexed and believe the objects now
shown him to be not so real as what he formerly saw? And if he were
forced to look at the fire-light itself, would not his eyes ache, so that he
would try to escape and turn back to the things which he could see
distinctly, convinced that they really were clearer than these other objects
now being shown to him? And suppose someone were to drag him away
forcibly up the steep and rugged ascent and not let him go until he had hauled him out into the sunlight, would he not suffer pain and vexation at
such treatment, and, when he had come out into the light, find his eyes so
full of its radiance that he could not see a single one of the things that he
was now told were real?
He would need, then, to grow accustomed before he could see things in
that upper world. At first it would be easiest to make out shadows, and
then the images of men and things reflected in water, and later on the
things themselves. After that, it would be easier to watch the heavenly
bodies and the sky itself by night, looking at the light of the moon and
stars rather than the Sun and the Sun's light in the day-time.
Last of all, he would be able to look at the Sun and contemplate its
nature, not as it appears when reflected in water or any alien medium, but
as it is in itself in its own domain. And now he would begin to draw the
conclusion that it is the Sun that produces the seasons and the courses of
the year and controls everything in the visible world, and moreover, is in a
way the cause of all that he and his companions used to see.(514 A?516
I came to this forum to get away from the dynamic of other forums, which entail the bullying and negating of other's thoughts and concepts. If this is the dynamic you propose, then I would say, no I'm not up for it, but if you seek an intelligent discussion that gets us closer to the truth, then, yes I would like to pursue that.
My career is to argue a point of view and position it so that government reviewers are unable to dispute it, and I'm quite good at it; however, I have no desire to bend and distort the facts in my spiritual life because that would lead to my own ruin and possibly the ruin of others. Spiritually, we should build foundations of truth and humility.
Also, I would like to remind you of the confidentiality regarding the authorship of the article I sent you, third party recipients may not respect the agreement we had.
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 - marc hanna - 29-04-2009 02:57 PM