The Deification of Man, HH Pope Shenouda III



  • Hi Mina,

    My sincere apologies if I myself mis-represted H.H pope shenouda even.

    I'll leave this issue in the capable hands of yourself, Iqbal and Fr. Farrington. If you all agree with them, that is fine for me. Sorry for any confusion.

    Send them my warmest regards
  • I wonder if one of the other issues is that our Church has made the concept of theosis a banned topic. Hence people will hear that it is a dangerous, complex or a foreign concept, and everyone should just be simple and not try to understand it. So there's an automatic switch that goes off in peoples’ heads when they hear that the theology of theosis is complex.

    When you hear the Indian and Byzantines speak about theosis they use the term and the teaching rather fluidly, they teach about Theosis/Deification at a very young age and the term itself becomes used very normally (the same way as someone would use a 'complex' Christian term like 'Incarnation' or ‘salvation’ or ‘sanctification’ or 'grace').

    Since it was suppressed we have to either use other (often more cumbersome) analogies to speak about the same thing or we have to explain out the term and the distinction between essence and energies every time. So instead of speaking of richer things and using the teaching of Theosis as a springboard and a central doctrine, there's an over intellectualizing of it and making the term associated with "academic circles" and for when people are older or more wise. It sort of doesn't bode well for the next generation if this kind of thinking is perpetuated.
  • The question of eating divinity is really a messed up question to begin with. If the body of Christ on the altar is in very truth the body of Jesus, and Jesus is "the God-Man" who is fully divine and fully human, then I must conclude that the thing I place in my mouth is also fully human and fully divine. So when I eat it, I eat what is human and I eat what is divine. 

    But is a cannibal were to eat another human, you would say "he consumed what is human" and not "he consumed humanity." Such is the same as we eat the eucharist. We consume what is divine, but we have not consumed the entire divine essence since that is not something we can eat. An essence cannot be eaten, and Abouna Matta and all Orthodox theologians know this very well. What they say is that we eat the Eucharist which is divine and has the power to divinize us. The "you cannot eat divinity" argument posited by Pope Shenouda is a straw man argument which adds nothing to the actual debate, but serves to improperly discredit those theologians who believe correctly, that when I partake of the Eucharist, I am able to eat what is divine. 

    So it is no great feat that someone can disprove through a polemic discussion that you "consume the divine essence" since one cannot eat an essence. The divine essence exists outside of physical accidents. But to assume therefore that, in any way, theosis is incorrect, is a non-sequiter at best. At worst, one could mean that you can partake of the human elements of Jesus in the Eucharist to the exclusion of the divine elements, at which point, one would be Nestorian. 

  • I have a pdf book somewhere written in 2007 I believe by an anonymous Coptic priest that would have been presented to HH at the time proving that deification is a patristic belief, ranging from St. Dionysius the Great, St. Athanasius, St. Cyril, the Cappadocians, and even St. Augustine, who gets a bad rap these days.
  • The supporters of the Western doctrines have forgotten that the Church has preserved the correct understanding and the Synod decided to stop this non Biblical teaching. The Western Doctrine also caused the new age and other strange unorthodox teaching.

    The quotes by this Stephen Davis prove my point, he is not Coptic and he can misunderstand Coptic writings. How do we know he has not changed something and put his own teaching in his translation? This has happened before and our Church also removed prayers that didn't match the Bible. Many people also do not interpret the ancient writers properly, they read one line, like become god, and they take it out of context. This is a western way of understanding, it is the same error as scripture only. We must not confuse people but be simple and obedient to the Church. We must not be distracted by false teaching and fight with each other on these complex western philosophy, especially when we must mission and show people that they can be saved if they have faith and belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church.

    For those who say people eat the Godhead in communion hear what His Holiness says in Mans Deification part 1 about this wrong interpretation:

    13 - Do we eat and drink the Godhead in the Eucharist Sacrament?

    Their view in this regard is clear in their book “Orthodox Patristic Principles" - part 2, p. 34, where they say:

    [How amazing! Here we drink the Godhead - mystically of course. We drink the life-giving blood, according to the grace, not according to a bodily measure ..]

    But we would say to them:

    • The Lord Christ says, “Who eats My flesh and drinks My blood (Jn 6: 56). He did not say: who eats and drinks My Godhead ...

    • God is Spirit (Jn 4: 24), and the Spirit cannot be eaten or drunk ...

    • If a person -supposedly- eats the divine nature, and this nature abides in him, he will become -through the communion- a god, and those in the church will have to bow down before him!!

    • There is also a problem here: What about those who partake of Sacrament undeservedly? Do they also eat and drink the Godhead? And do they also eat and drink judgment to themselves, at the same time (1 Cor 11: 29)??

    In part 2:

    Do we partake of the Divine Nature through the Eucharist?!

    • Dr. George Bebawi, in his book "St. Athanasius" P.
    214, under the title "Partaking of the Eucharist is partaking of the Divine Nature", says, "Our real partaking of the divinity is due to our obtaining the heavenly Sacrament giving eternal life."
    • In P. 216, he further says, "Here the partaking of the Divine Nature attains its goal for man, that is obtaining the immortal divine heavenly mysteries."
    • In his book "Orthodox Patristic Principles - Part 2" P.24, the author says: "Wonderful! Behold, we drink the divinity, mystically of course, and we drink the lifegiving blood according to the grace.

    It is strange indeed! The divinity is not to be eaten or drunk.

    The divine mysteries in the Sacrament of the Eucharist are not given us that we may partake of the divinity, God forbid! They are given as "salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life to whoever partakes of them”, and also as "purity of our souls, our bodies, and our spirits" as we say in the Holy Liturgy.

    If the partaker eats and drinks the divinity, no doubt the partaker has become a god, and ought not worship the Holy Sacraments but the people ought to worship him!

    If they say that there is a union between the divine nature and the human nature, this does not mean that man eats the divinity! We have an example from the Scripture: "The life of the flesh is in the blood." (Lev 17: 11,14) Whoever eats or drinks the blood does not eat the life with it!!
  • If we are obedient to our Church teaching we will also not misinterpret things or adopt the western or hindu teachings.

    Look again at what is said to correct the new age teaching:

    What is the meaning of the words: “He took what belongs to us, and gave us what belongs to Himself’?

    This phrase is quoted from the Hymn, and they repeat it more than once in their book “Orthodox Patristic Principles" Part2, p. 33, 34, as if it were a reliable evidence of man’s deification!

    The fact is that God has not given us what belongs to Himself meaning the divine nature, at all.

    He gave us righteousness, filiation, and the authority to loose and bind in priesthood (Mt 18: 18; Jn 20: 22,23) He gave us - or rather to some of us- the power to work miracles (not by our nature, but in His name). St. Peter the Apostle made this clear when he healed the lame man at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful (Acts 3: 12, 16) Certainly He has not given us the divine nature which belongs solely to Himself, otherwise we would not sin nor die, and would become unlimited!!

    The same applies to His taking what belongs to us: He did not take everything, but He became like us in everything excepts in ...

    In theological issues we should be precise. We ought not take the general meaning of the words but rather understand every word within its context and concept..
  • You see why it is important to understand every word in its context and concept.

    If you also listen to the sermon on Partakers of the Divine Nature, you will hear the truth of this nonCoptic teaching and how we are to correctly understand the verses.

    Keep in mind, Fr Dr Pishoy is a PhD and an experienced missionary so he knows what he is talking about in Coptic theology:

    Let me just briefly speak of what this verse does not mean or how has it been misinterpreted throughout the years and the ages. When we speak about partakes of the divine nature, we're not saying that it refers to the deification of humans, nor are we speaking about a hypostatic unity between the Godhead and human.

    This is where Eastern Orthodox theology differs a bit than Oriental Orthodox theology. In the Eastern Orthodox theology, the understanding is the ultimate goal of humanity is not salvation. It is deification.

    In the understanding of the reformed traditions of the West, salvation is the ultimate goal. Are you saved? Because salvation, once you are saved, this is the end of it. But in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, they take it even a bit farther, to say that after our salvation there's one more step, which is being completely and totally dissolved in the divinity of God - a total union between our humanity and His divinity because when you add a drop of water in an ocean, this drop of water will not change the nature of the ocean.

    According to their own understanding, after we leave this world and attain eternal life, our life will be completely dissolved in the divinity of God. This is what they interpret this verse, "as partakers of the divine nature" means - that we are fully consumed and dissolved. That we have no more existence.

    But this is not our full understanding of these verses, of likewise verses, because we know that God will give each one according to his or her own deeds in life and faith that will take us and carry us through. There's also no eternal rest for unbelievers.

    The soul - the way we understand in in our church is that the soul will exist eternally in the presence of God. This concept of being fully consumed or dissolved in the divinity, it's not part of our faith.

    Again, when we speak about this important subject, this is not where we're going - the complete deification. Deification means man becoming God or a full God or part of the divinity of God.

    Also, the apostles' words mean that we take part with the divine nature in work. His Holiness Pope Shenouda wrote a beautiful book and it's entitled, "The Deification of Man." We can read it - it's a small booklet but it has a lot of information, especially about this topic and about this subject.

    Listen to it here:
  • "Keep in mind, Fr Dr Pishoy is a PhD and an experienced missionary so he knows what he is talking about in Coptic theology:"
    Whats his PhD in? Hes no expert in anything outside that field. Much less theology. Ill respond in full later. But Priest Pishoy Salama is by no means a source for anything. At all. 
  • I have heard about Fr. Bishoy's PhD. Needless to say, it seemed he struggled to present a proper thesis. If by PhD, it gives him the right to use Protestant songs in his parish, then he is not a reliable Orthodox witness, but a parrot of misrepresented teachings that lead to heresy.
  • With all respect, every person who has worked to become a PhD did so with many struggles. We should be glad that we have priests who are experts and who can be a source of information for others. Even if someone doesn't like the person, they must be respectful and obedient to his rank. Remember he is a priest first and we respect our priedts
  • edited January 2015

    You seem extremely confused. Is it western or Eastern? Because at some points you call it a western innovation, and other times Easter, even Hindu. So you have to first be honest with yourself before you can expect to come around here and lie your way through an academic discussion.  And in reference to removal of prayers, I would need specific references. I know of some prayers that have been changed, but not many that I support. Further, the idea is that theosis is not anti-biblical. It may be anti-biblical if not interpreted properly, but that is why we have the fathers which, as Orthodox followers, we must read, comprehend and live.

    The book “Mans Deification?!” is an awful book if I’ve ever seen one. The first bullet point is Nestorian. It assumes that you can eat the flesh of God without eating his body. If this line is to be read as it is, it leads to an extremely Nestorian understanding of the body of Christ as being flesh to the exclusion of the divinity, which inhabits it. I don’t care who wrote it. It is unacceptable. 

    If we are obedient to the teachings of the church, we will read the words of the church, and not limit them to the words of one man. For the love of the living God people, Pope Shenouda is a man. His view is not the churches view. It does not define what the faithful much believe. 

    You say that in theological issues we should be precise. Before precise, we need to be honest and educated. We need to have our priorities straight. We need to know what we are talking about. Defending the late Patriarch at the expense of true theology is dishonest and uneducated. The book “Man’s Deification?!” is one long proof text of the bible. It sets up straw men arguments from cover to cover with no regard for biblical interpretation through the light of our Orthodox tradition of the fathers, and prayers of the church. Further, mans deification begs the question of Theosis. The writer (as H.H. referenced many of his opponents in his writings) will make such arguments as this.

  • Pt2:

    1) "If a person -supposedly- eats the divine nature, and this nature abides in him, he will become -through the communion- a god,"

    2) Then he will mockingly say that everyone should bow down to him for being a god

    3) Therefore we dont eat the divine nature. 

    This sort of reasoning is extremely laughable. It literally mocks a prime tenet of Christianity in an attempt to disprove it. 

    If theosis is hindu, then Abba Athanasius is a hindu, such as St. Cyril the defender of the faith. If Theosis is Hinduism Sts Basil, Gregory and Bulus el Bushi are hindu gurus of the highest degree. But it is not. Pope Shenouda’s book runs in opposite directions to the fathers as has been shown in the previous posts. I do commend you on the nerve and bravery it took to post words from mans’ deification after sayings of the Holy Fathers have been posted that pronounce extreme judgment on the words of that book.

     As regards the Rev. Pishoy Salama, his PhD. Is not in theology (but of course you wouldn’t mention that.) It is in family counseling with his PhD. Thesis being on Intercultural Married Couples in the Coptic Church. Nothing to do with Theosis, so his opinion on this topic carries just about as much weight as Steven Hawking does. He absolutely has no grasp on the view of salvation since he sees that there is a difference between the ultimate goal in EO and OO spirituality. Some sort of  quasi-separation between salvation and deification. Is he serious? This is un-intelligence and dishonesty to the most disgusting degree. And forgive me for being upset but it is exactly theological dishonesty like this that has disgraced our church and insults my God. I don't care how hard it was getting a PhD. The idea his it has nothing to do with theology as pertains our discussion. It is indeed very perceptive of you to identify that I do not like him. But I am also not one to cover up my feelings in the interest of political correctness. I respect the rank of pristhood, but Priest Pishoy Salama is incorrect on this and on so much more that makes him in grave danger of misleading the flock and becoming a wolf to the flock. 

    What he describes in this piece is Nirvana of sorts. He has taken no thought to actually and honestly look at theosis in the EO church. Absolute disgraceful dishonesty is not hidden by the black cloth, and the black cloth will not stop be from calling out this dishonesty. Can someone stop this man? 


  • People, CHILL
    @minasoliman, let's concentrate on Fr.Bishoy's PhD topic and what he may or may not do at the church he serves...stay on topic.

    @copticmission, studying for a PhD doesn't give you an ultimate pass or authority over topics outside of that PhD...and challenging it doesn't mean it's less respected. For a priest, any priest, we ought to be respectful, yes, i give you that. But I am not so sure about being obedient when it comes to matters of Church theology. So let's not play that "obedience card" here. ReturnOrthodoxy asked a question:

    Whats his PhD in? 
    Let's answer and stay on topic. 
  • Fr Dr Pishoy has a PhD in the highest professional degree in church ministry granted by an academic institution. Father also teaches Pastoral Theology at St. Athanasius Theological Seminary (SUS Diocese). Fr Pishoy is also a Coptic missionary. All of which make him qualified to correct the new age doctrine and make sure that the youth are not confused.

    November 10, 2012, Fr. Pishoy received his Doctor of Ministry degree which is granted conjointly by the University of Toronto and the University of St. Michael’s College. This study which Fr. Pishoy started is 2006, is the highest professional degree in church ministry granted by an academic institution. The Doctor of Ministry degree is designed for persons involved in full-time ministry and offers a dynamic correlation between theory and practice.

    Fr. Pishoy was appointed by H.H. Pope Shenouda III to establish St. Maurice & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church (SMSV), which is the first multicultural missionary Coptic Orthodox Church in North America and has a growing congregation representing over 40 different ethnicities of Canadians. Fr. Pishoy is currently leading a major construction project to build a new home for SMSV in Markham, which will also serve as a community centre offering special programs for immigrants. In addition to his responsibilities as an adjunct professor of Theology at Trinity, Fr. Pishoy teaches Pastoral Theology at St. Athanasius Theological Seminary, which is affiliated with the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States.
  • Copticmission,

    In the other thread on missionary, you presented a lot of texts with lots of questionable theories and never responded. This topic seems to be heading in the same direction. I will respond more fully later. 

    But I will point out one thing you wrote:

    "Again, when we speak about this important subject, this is not where we're going - the complete deification. Deification means man becoming God or a full God or part of the divinity of God."

    This is a game of erroneous semantics. Theosis, literally comes from he Greek meaning "union with God", not becoming divine. Secondly, Deification is the process of becoming divine. It is not the process of becoming humanly righteous or the process of becoming miracle workers. You excluded any possibility of becoming divine in part or in full. If you believe that man cannot become deified in any possibility other than works, please respond how to understand Psalm 82:6-7. "I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High. But you shall die like men, And fall like one of the princes.”

    King David is obviously speaking to humans because he says you shall die like men. Obviously the divine nature cannot die. But he says “you are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” If there is no possibility of deification, then there is no possibility to become children of the Most High? And if there is no possibility to become children of the Most High, how can he say “You are gods”? 

    If you imply that we become gods by works mirroring the divine righteousness and divine authority, then you have completely removed the power of God’s grace and promise. Before St Peter tells us we may be partakers of the divine nature, he says “by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises”. When we were given great and precious promises (which we all know are the sacraments given to us by adoption), we become partakers of the divine nature. It’s not the other way around. We are not rewarded to be partakers of the divine nature in response to sharing works with the divinity. And how is it even possible to share works with the divinity? By definition, there is no work a human can do that can make him a partaker of the divine nature, since the works of the divine nature are beyond humans. 

    So If by works we become gods, then how do we interpret Psalm 82?

  • Copticmission wrote: “But in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, they take it even a bit farther, to say that after our salvation there's one more step, which is being completely and totally dissolved in the divinity of God - a total union between our humanity and His divinity because when you add a drop of water in an ocean, this drop of water will not change the nature of the ocean.”

    Here’s another example of wrong information you are presenting. Give us one reference where the Eastern Orthodox tradition says theosis is like adding a drop of water in an ocean. Rather the phrase “like adding a drop of water in an ocean” is taken from Eutychianism which “holds that the human and divine natures of Christ were fused into one new single (mono) nature: His human nature was "dissolved like a drop of honey in the sea". (

    You wrote, “In theological issues we should be precise. “ Now who is not being precise in theological issues?

  • I am only saying what the Church teaches and what the Church says about the new age doctrine. Even if people dont understand the issue, that's the blessing of obedience. The Church had theologians discuss this issue and they have said that it is a heresy.

    Since you mention psalm 82 here is what His Holiness teaches:

    By the word “gods” here is meant “lords” or “masters”, not the Godhead. This is evident from the words that followed:
    “But you shall die like men and fall like one of the princes.'’ (Ps 82: 7)

    Certainly those who die or fall are not gods, for God is holy and immortal. So the proper meaning of “gods” in this phrase is “lords” or “masters”, and God is the Lord of lords and the Master of masters.

    The term “god” is used with this meaning in many parts of the Holy Scripture, as in (Ex 7: 1), where the Lord says to Moses, “See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh.” It does not mean that Moses was the creator of Pharaoh, but merely a master.

    Again when Moses asked to be execused from the mission under the pretext of being not eloquent, the Lord said to him,
    “Is not Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well ... I will be with your mouth and with his mouth ...
    he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God” (Ex 4:14-16)

    By these words God meant that Moses suggests to Aaron what to say, not be a creator to him, because Aaron preceded Moses in birth ...

    There was no need then for the advocates of man’s deification to use this verse in their book “Orthodox Patristic Principles" Part 2, p. 25

    Regrettably, they quote the phrase: [We shall be like Him according to the richness of His goodness, and we shall become gods and children of God]! Moreover, they ascribe this wrong concept to one of the church fathers!!
  • I am only saying what the Church teaches and what the Church says about the new age doctrine. Even if people dont understand the issue, that's the blessing of obedience. The Church had theologians discuss this issue and they have said that it is a heresy.  

    The Church is sustained by the holy Synod so that must be your only source--I haven't seen a source from the Synod concerning this from you.
    I already asked to leave "obedience" out of it, and I am asking again now.
  • edited January 2015
    Therein lies your problem copticmission.
    Your only acceptable definition of divine or God is "creator". There are more suitable definitions for divine. Moses became god to Pharaoh because he partook of the divinity. Moses saw the divine nature where the bush was aflame. Moses saw God when he went up the mountain to receive the tablets, while everyone else died who approached the mountain. Moses' face had to be veiled because he was deified. All of these are things that cannot happen to humans without deification. Deification or theosis, is not the transformation into the divine nature, making humans creators. No one ever claimed it was. It is the union with God that makes you more than human. 

    Psalm 82 cannot mean "lord" or "master" in the same sense of Sarah calling Abraham "master". If this were the case, why would Christ use the same psalm to prove to the Jews that He was the Son of God in John 10:34. By your interpretation, all Christ is telling the Jews is that he is a master like Abraham was to Sarah. 
  • edited January 2015
    The Church excommunicated these teachings. Although a person got excommunicated, this is very sad and maybe one day he may return, the Coptic Orthodox Church is not fighting a person but an ideology. So it official stance of the Church that these new age and western doctrines be stopped.

    After 4 hours of discussions on Bibāwī’s preaching, members of the Holy Synod unanimously agreed to excommunicate Bibāwī from the Coptic Orthodox Church.

    Much of the Coptic Orthodox Church’s anger over Bibāwī’s ideas originated from his perspective on the human fellowship with God. Bibāwī refers to the biblical text “you may participate in the divine nature.” [2 Peter: 1:4]. Bibāwī seems to have changed the “in” in the holy text to a “with,” which was interpreted as making human beings gods. This idea is considered to be the core of the heresy of “deifying man” called for by Bibāwī.
    Furthermore, Bibāwī rejects the transformation of the bread and the wine into the body and the blood of Jesus Christ. Bibāwī advocates Martin Luther’s perspective in this issue. In 1983 he published an article in al-Hudá Protestant publication entitled, ‘The Lords Supper and the Patriarchs,’ in which he advocates Luther’s theory in this response.

    Furthermore, Bibāwī does not believe in priesthood. He argues that Christ was the only priest on Earth and in Heaven. He further considers the cross to only be a symbol of love rather than one of love and justice. This perspective abolishes the concept of punishment and paves the way to the “heresy” of the total salvation that denies the importance of faith and repentance.

    Jesus’ body taken from Virgin Mary is free from sin, unlike all human beings. On the other hand, the church is always referred to as the body of Christ in which all Christians are members. Bibāwī confuses the two “bodies” and consider us, humans, free from sin as we are part of the body of Jesus which was originally free of sin, thus confusing the symbolic body of Christ with the physical being of Jesus Christ.

    Salāmah highlights the Coptic Orthodox Church’s patience with Bibāwī since the early 1980’s represented in the endurance of Pope Shenouda who gave him more than one chance to get back on the right track.

    Salāmah stresses Pope Shenouda’s declaration that the Coptic Orthodox Church is not fighting a person but an ideology. His holiness respects the freedom of expression of everyone, and responds in a just and appropriate manner.

    Last December Pope Shenouda published a book entitled, ‘Bida‘ Ḥadīthah,’ [Modern Heresies] in which he highlights some of the modern heresies and comments on them.

    The Holy Synod excommunicated George Ḥabīb Bibāwī due to his doctrinal, ritual and theological violations, his attempt to confuse the creed of others with his thoughts, and his adherence to his ideas and his movement between the different churches. The Holy Synod also decided to isolate and excommunicate anyone who may adopt Bibāwī’s ideas.

    To that, the Community Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo issued an announcement denouncing Bibāwī’s transgression against Pope Shenouda and approved of the pope’s reaction. The council criticized Rose al-Yūsuf for referring to Bibāwī as a researcher, arguing that he lacks the qualifications of a researcher and his arguments by no means meet the conditions of academic research.

    The Community Council of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria held an emergency session on Sunday, February 18, 2007 to discuss Rose al-Yūsuf’s summary of Bibāwī’s study. The council denounced Bibāwī’s arguments and expressed its absolute support and adherence to the Orthodox doctrine preached by Pope Shenouda.
  • Copticmission,

    It is hard to focus on what you are saying because the postings are all over the place, but just focus on one line you mentioned out of John 6.

    53 Then
    Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the
    flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This
    is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat
    manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

    Communion, although it is the physical act of eating and drinking the flesh and blood, its purpose is to unite us with Jesus as is written in the Gospel Above.  By uniting with Jesus, who is God, we become deified and are able to gain everlasting life because He graced us with this.  We don't become God, but we become deified. If we didn't become deified, we couldn't gain everlasting life and live forever with Christ in the heavenly kingdom. 

    This is clear, we do not "become God" through theosis or deification but we become "deified" or gain some of the divine features of God that graces us with, and hence obtain the eternal life.

    This is well documented among the church fathers and even in the Coptic church prayers.

    If you believe in the power of communion and its transformative properties, this is what you believe.

    Anyway, this is my simplified understanding. I will bow out and let the theologions interject.
  • Listen, I don't know much of George Bebawy's writings at all. You are deflecting the issue and continue to use the "obedience card". You keep giving secondary sources that do not even properly reference or quote anything but are all tangential to the issue. Whether or not Bebawy does not believe in the priesthood, or what Bebawy thinks of the Cross as love vs love and justice is irrelevant because it is not theosis. Whatever Salamah said about Bebawy is not a discussion in theosis. And given that you continue to confuse terms and theologies, pejoratively stating everything that is against Pope Shenouda is Luthern, Hinduism, or whatever, it is no surprise that you can't even keep history straight. Last December Pope Shenouda did not publish anything, much less a book on Modern Heresies. In addition since when is the Communal Council in Alexandria a champion of theological discussion? Do they have any credibility or credentials to theological approve or disapprove anything? Stop dancing around the discussion.
  • Rem +1000

    Copticmission please read through the many discussions on the forum, the topic of deification has been discussed many times.
  • Conversations with Dr George Bebawi
  • edited January 2015
    I wish to simply leave a few examples here for thought,

    - “It is impossible that any of the Fathers has ever advocated deification of man: If any author makes such an allegation, it will be because either he has not understood well what that holy Father said, or he has misinterpreted the Greek words of that Father; for those brothers pride themselves in being learned in Greek.” Page 9 of Man’s Deification Part 1 by Pope Shenouda

    Contrast that with

    "Therefore He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us." St. Athanasius Four Discourses Against The Arians Discourse I 39.

    "The truth shews us that the Word is not of things originate, but rather Himself their Framer. Fortherefore did He assume the body originate and human, that having renewed it as its Framer, He might deify it in Himself, and thus might introduce us all into the kingdom of heaven after His likeness." St. Athanasius  Against The Arians Discourse II, 70.

    "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 thy purified eye show thee in Himself the image of the invisible, and in the blessed spectacle of the image thou shalt 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.” St. Basil The Great On The Holy Spirit, Chapter 23.

    "Such a person is counted worthy to arrive at the good measure of the Spirit and receives through the divine power a pure humanity and be- comes greater than himself. For such a person is deified and becomes a son of God, receiving the heavenly imprint in his soul. For God’s elect are anointed with sanctifying oil and become officeholders and kings.” St. Macarius the Great (Coll. II, Hom. 15. 35).

    and again,
    "And the Son is in the Father, as His own Word and Radiance; but we, apart from the Spirit, are strange and distant from God, and by the participation of the Spirit we are knit into the Godhead; so that our being in the Father is not ours, but is the Spirit’s which is in us and abides in us, while by the true confession we preserve it in us, John again saying, ‘Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him and he in God.’" St. Athanasius, Against the Arians III, 24.

    "and that in so far as we fail to understand he may excite our curiosity; this will awake in our soul the longing to known him further; this longing will lay bare our soul; this nakedness will make us like God. When we have reached this state, God will converse with us as friends. If I may dare say so, God will be united with gods, and revealing Himself to them, and will be known to the same extent as he is known." St. Gregory the Theologian Oration 45 (for easter), chapter 3.

    "He [Christ] took our flesh and our flesh became God since it is united with God and forms a single entity with Him. For the higher perfection dominated, resulting in my becoming God as fully as he became man." St. Gregory the Theologian, Third Theological Oration, 19.

    I will leave it here for now

  • edited January 2015
    NVM i fixed the formatting prior^
  • edited January 2015
    "Did God become Man so that man may become god?!
    If these words were taken literally, the purpose of the incarnation would be the deification of man!! But it is well known that God became a Man to redeem man, not to deify him."
    Page 18 of Man’s Deification by pope Shenouda

    In contrast with

    “As, then, if a man should wish to see God, Who is invisible by nature and not seen at all, he may know and apprehend Him from His works: so let him who fails to see Christ with his understanding, at least apprehend Him by the works of His body, and test whether they be human works or God’s works. And if they be human, let him scoff; but if they are not human, but of God, let him recognise it, and not laugh at what is no matter for scoffing; but rather let him marvel that by so ordinary a means things divine have been manifested to us, and that by death immortality has reached to all, and that by the Word becoming man, the universal Providence has been known, and its Giver and Artificer the very Word of God. For He was made man that we might be made God; and He manifested Himself by a body that we might receive the idea of the unseen Father; and He endured the insolence of men that we might inherit immortality. For while He Himself was in no way injured, being impossible and incorruptible and very Word and God, men who were suffering, and for whose sakes He endured all this, He maintained and preserved in His own impassibility.” St. Athanasius The Apostolic, On the Incarnation, Chapter 54.

    ““The Lord Himself shall speak to thee, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled Himself,”—He, the merciful God, exerting Himself to save man. And now the Word Himself clearly speaks to thee, shaming thy unbelief; yea, I say, the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God. Is it not then monstrous, my friends, that while God is ceaselessly exhorting us to virtue, we should spurn His kindness and reject salvation?” St. Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, Chapter 1.

    “But again, those who assert that He was simply a mere man, begotten by Joseph, re- maining in the bondage of the old disobedience, are in a state of death having been not as yet joined to the Word of God the Father, nor receiving liberty through the Son, as He does Himself declare: “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”But, being ignorant of Him who from the Virgin is Emmanuel, they are deprived of His gift, which is eternal life; and not receiving the incorruptible Word, they remain in mortal flesh, and are debtors to death, not obtaining the antidote of life. To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: “I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.”He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God, defraud human nature of promotion into God, and prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility, and the mortal by immortality, that we might receive the adoption of sons?” St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies III, 19, 1.
  • edited January 2015
    Thank you mrpete; that deserves +100000000.  I just want to share some old links where we discussed this, in some ways ad nauseum: (Οὐσία-vs-Ένέργεια-what-s-the-difference-and-how-does-this-relate-to-θέωσησ) ;(orthodox-mission) (this one started around page 2, but I recommend copticmission to read this as it could be relevant to him/her) (bishop-bulus-al-bushi-on-the-incarnation)

  • Is there a way to make this discussion "sticky" in vanilla forums? Seems like it's a recurring topic.
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