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God became man so that man could become God

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Yoder777, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    Ever since the Middle Ages, Western Christianity has understood salvation as primarily a transaction in which the individual receives forgiveness of sins through Jesus being punished in his place. While there are hints of this doctrine in Scripture, it was not the primary emphasis of the early church. The first Christians understood salvation as a process, with forgiveness of sin as only the beginning and the salvation of the entire self as its goal.

    It's not that man becomes God in a literal sense of being God himself but that we become partakers in the divine nature.

    It is common knowledge that St. Athanasius of Alexandria presided over the Council of Nicaea to defend the full divinity and fully humanity of Christ. What most Western Christians don't know is why Athanasius found the incarnation so important. In his classic treatise On the Incarnation, Athanasius wrote that God became man to enable man becoming one with God in such a profound way that otherwise wouldn't have been possible.

    Calvin and Luther were familiar with the doctrine of theosis, what John Wesley would later term "entire sanctification." It is to be saved, not just from the consequence of sin, but from sin itself.

    When Protestants rejected the doctrine of purgatory, sanctification became optional, especially if you'll be immediately perfected at death anyway, based on your faith alone. Yet Scripture closely links sanctification to justification. If we are not sanctified in this life, we might need to be in the age to come:

    Purgatory Explained by Greg Boyd
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRM_Kn2PQsU

    Evangelical scholars are often familiar with the classic doctrine of theosis, and some see it as complimentary to the Western understanding of atonement.

    Soteriology in Athanasius of Alexandria
    By Rev. CĂ©lestin Musekura
    Dallas Theological Seminary
    http://www.mattblackmon.com/pyne/Soteriology in Athanasius of Alexandria.PDF

    Gregory Graham
    St. Athanasius and St. Anselm on Redemption
    http://www.grahamtx.net/papers/christology/athanasius_anselm.pdf

    By looking back to the writings of Martin Luther, some evangelical theologians are rediscovering his teachings on theosis:

    The New Perspective on Luther
    http://www.christianforums.com/t7520581/#post56348340

    With theosis on mind, the work of Christ is the healing of all Creation:

    Resurrection: Rob Bell
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjXYlwvS5LY

    On the Incarnation is an excellent book for the Christmas season, explaining why Christ came to this world:

    On the Incarnation: De Incarnatione Verbi Dei
    St. Athanasius (Author), C. S. Lewis (Introduction)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/09...&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846


    While nothing we do can earn our salvation from hell, love and service are the only appropriate response to God's work on the cross. Jesus, radically giving up himself on the cross, is calling us to give something radical in return. In doing so, we'll draw closer to him than what passive belief makes possible. Christ's incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection enable our path of personal and social transformation.

    By ascending into heaven, Christ fulfilled his work of salvation:

     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2010
    nephilimiyr likes this.
  2. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    I need a reason for believing that God became man other than that he'd just suffer and die and a reason for following his teachings other than fear of judgment. What I want more than anything in life is to have intimate friendship with Jesus.
     
  3. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

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    Great work at pulling Luther out of Context.

    Actually he said this:
    It's not that man becomes God. It's man becomes perfect (i.e. we WILL be raised incorruptible and in heaven sin will not exist. We can only do good.)

    The next page of his lecture says exactly that...

    Luther: Lectures on Romans - Google Books
     
  4. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    It's not that man becomes God in a literal sense of being God himself but that we become partakers in the divine nature.

     
  5. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

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    But that is not saying man becomes God which is what you said. You quoted Martin Luther incorrectly (it is not a Luther quote and if it is, I would be happy to look at the complete reference rather than a "Christmas sermon").
     
  6. OrthodoxyUSA

    OrthodoxyUSA Well-Known Member

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    ooooh. Somebody has been reading!

    God bless you Yoder777!

    Learning the mysteries of God.

    Lord have mercy!
    Lord have mercy!
    Lord have mercy!

    Forgive me...
     
  7. OrthodoxyUSA

    OrthodoxyUSA Well-Known Member

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    I thought he quoted St. Athanasius.

    Forgive me...
     
  8. heymikey80

    heymikey80 Quidquid Latine dictum sit, altum viditur

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    sanctification be inseparably joined with justification Westminster LC 77

    Sanctification is linked directly to how you've been forgiven and justified.
     
  9. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    I've long been familiar with the doctrine of theosis, yet only recently have I attended to incorporate it within a Protestant outlook. John Wesley is someone who wrote extensively on theosis.

    While evangelicalism often sees the sole purpose of the incarnation as Jesus' death, and the resurrection as solely the vindication of his sacrifice, theosis sees the path taken by Christ as enabling a path within us.

    For me, theosis isn't a cool, new-agey idea to feel different and cool. It's about how I'm going to become a better person in growing closer to Christ and how growing closer to Christian will make me a better person.
     
  10. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    Perhaps it should be that man becomes "god" with a lower-case "g". That might be a better translation of Athanasius. It's like the Scriptural idea in John when Jesus says "you are gods."
     
  11. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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    I think Eastern Orthodox Christians often get theosis wrong. They focus so much on asceticism and avoiding sin that they often neglect the importance of doing good in the world. I'll be reading this book soon, which may or not be fit well with Orthodox sensibilities:

     
  12. Yoder777

    Yoder777 Senior Veteran

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  13. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member

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    Marcus Borg's theology is unorthodox:

    "The notion that God's only son came to this planet to offer his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, and that God could not forgive us without that having happened, and that we are saved by believing this story, is simply incredible...To many people it simply makes no sense" (Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, p.131; quoted in Jesus in an Age of Controversy, Douglas Groothuis)
     
  14. Emmy

    Emmy Senior Veteran

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    Dear Yoder777. God is holy Spirit, God-Father who made us in His image, God-Son who paid the prize which God`s Holy Law demanded to pay for man`s sin and transgressions, and God-Holy Spirit who is in the world now, to carry on the work which Jesus began.We know that we are made in God`s imagine, because we are the only beings in this Universe who can think and reason. We know the difference between Good and NOT Good. But when confronted with crafty and lying temptation, it was not enough. Man, (Adam and Eve, our proto-types) did not have the Love needed to say NO to the Serpent`s temptations. They were banished to Earth to learn to love as God wants us to love. Instead of doing so, they, and all who came after, moved farther and farther away from God. When man`s case seemed hopeless, No-one left without sinning or transgressions against God, Jesus came to pay the prize which none of us could pay. Jesus became man, and was without sin or guilt of any sort, the sacrifice man needed to pay the debt we owed to God`s Holy Law. Jesus paid the prize, Jesus became our Saviour and Jesus reconciled us to God. " God became man out of LOVE for us so that man had another chance to become the loving sons and daughters of God." Jesus told us what to do now, Repent, exchange our selfish and unloving characters for " Loving God with all our hearts, with all our souls, and with all our minds. Also: love our neighbour, ( all others, friend or foe,) as we love ourselves." That is why God-Son became God-Man for 30 odd years. He showed us what God was really like, and told us to become as perfect as God is perfect. God knows we shall never achieve this, but God can see our hearts and knows our thoughts. God will know how seriously we try to follow His Commandments. Jesus also told us: " If you love me you follow my Commandments." God wants loving children to live with for eternity. I say this with love, Yoder777. Greetings from Emmy, sister in Christ.
     
  15. Emmy

    Emmy Senior Veteran

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    Dear Yoder777. May I point out ( humbly and with love) God is Love, and in His Wisdom He gave His Law of Justice. " Whatever man sows he will also reap." If we follow God`s loving advice to us " Commandments to love " we will have rewards for all selfless loving, and fitting consequences for all selfishnes and unloving. At times it seems longer than others, but God always give us enough time to recognise our faults, and change for the better. Loving deeds and words will always have God`s blessings, just as unloving and selfish deeds and words will have the fitting consequences. God loves us, yet His Law teaches us. And God is in Command and always be in Command. Greetings from Emmy, sister in Christ.
     
  16. OrthodoxyUSA

    OrthodoxyUSA Well-Known Member

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    Ah... "Sinners in the hands of an angry God" ~ Jonathan Edwards?

    Forgive me...
     
  17. Aibrean

    Aibrean Honest. Maybe too Honest.

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    You wrote:

    He did not say that. If you can show me his exact sermon in its entirety I would love to see it. I corrected with what he wrote on his lecture on Romans.
     
  18. christianmomof3

    christianmomof3 pursuing Christ

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    His goal is not merely an intimate friendship, but oneness.
    God became man so that man might become god in life and nature but not in the godhead. Jesus brought divinity into humanity so that He might bring humanity into divinity. He is the Head and we are the body. Because God went through the process of incarnation, sinless human living and an all inclusive death and resurrection and became the Life-giving Spirit, He can now dwell within His redeemed and regenerated believers and transform us into His image.
     
  19. Erose

    Erose Newbie

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    Yoder, I think that you are starting to realize the fallacies that are found in Protestant theology. May God continue to lead you to the truth. God bless.
     
  20. ARBITER01

    ARBITER01 Legend

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    Lol, like institutionalized Christianity is not religion. What a cheap shot.

    I'll tell you what, when each one of you in your little building starts doing this,..

    You'll have my attention, until then, forget it.
     
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