The Incarnation of God: The Cause of Man's Theosis (Deification)

My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord and Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

THE INCARNATION OF GOD: THE CAUSE OF MAN'S THEOSIS (DEIFICATION)
By Archimandrite George, Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Holy Monastery of Saint Gregory on Mount Athos

The Church Holy Fathers say that God became man in order to make man a god. If God had not taken flesh (incarnation), man would not be able to achieve Theosis (deification). In the years before Christ, many wise and virtuous people had appeared. For example, the ancient Greeks had reached quite high standards of philosophy about the good and about God. Their philosophy, in fact, contained seeds of the truth, the so-called "spermatikos logos." Moreover, they were very religious people, but of course they did not know the True God; they were idolaters, yet very pious and god-fearing people. They were not atheists, as certain ill-informed contemporaries of ours represent them; those who do not know enough about their things. For this reason, by attempting to remove its faith in God from the psyche of our devout people even without their consent, educators, teachers, politicians and civil governors act in a way inconsistent to the memory of the Greek race, and so they commit "hybris" in the ancient meaning of the word. In essence, they attempt to de-Hellenize our people, because the Tradition of the Greeks (throughout our ancient, recent and modern history), is a Tradition of piety and respect for God. All the worldwide cultural contribution of Hellenism was and is based on this piety and respect for God.

Psyche (ψυχή - psyche). The most important and least understood of all Biblical words is the word psyche. The Orthodox understanding of psyche remains unified and unchanged. The psyche is a pure unalloyed essence which animates the body and gives life; it is our immaterial nature, created yet eternal, comprising of our cognitive, conative, and affective aspects, including both the conscious and the unconscious. It naturally follows that psyche health precedes salvation.

In order to encapsulate the full meaning of the word psyche as understood by traditional Christianity, we will have to combine meanings of five English words, "soul," "life," "breath," "psyche," and "mind."

In the West, the soul has become a debased an ambiguous term; the psyche, its original biblical counterpart, has now constellated into two different conceptual fields. The words, "soul," "life," and "breath" form one field. The words "psyche" (as in modern psychology) and "mind" (as in the mind-body dichotomy) comprise the other field.  And such, there is little or no connection between "psyche" health and the eternal animating principles know as "soul."

This dislocation is indicative of a deep spiritual malady in Western man.

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Hybris has the same root as hybrid. Hybris originally meant to go against nature. In ancient Greece, the whole of nature was intimately connected with the divine, so by transgressing nature divine harmony was severed. Its modern meaning of overweening pride is also implied in that classical context.

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In the philosophy of the ancient Greeks we can perceive a certain yearning for the unknown God...for the experience of God. They were faithful and devout, but they did not have the true and completed knowledge of God, as they still lacked communion with God. Theosis, only becomes possible - is only achieved with the Incarnation of the Divine Logos/Word.

This is the purpose of the Incarnation of God. If the purpose of man's life was simply to become morally better, there would be no need for Christ to come into the world, or for all these events of divine Providence to happen; for the incarnation of God, the Cross, the death and Resurrection of the Lord, and all that we Christians believe to have happened through Christ. The human race could have been taught to become morally better by the philosophers, by the righteous men and teachers, or by the Prophets.

We know that Adam and Eve were beguiled by the devil and did not want to collaborate, with God; they desired to become gods not through humility, obedience, or love; but through their own power, their own willfulness -- egotistically and autonomously. That is to say that the essence of the fall is egotism. Thus, by adopting egotism and self-assertion they separated themselves from God and instead of attaining Theosis, they attained exactly the opposite: spiritual death.

As the Holy Fathers of the Church say, God is life. So whoever separates himself from God separates himself from life. Therefore, death and spiritual necrosis (i.e., physical and spiritual death) are the outcome of the disobedience of the first-created.

(To be continued)

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"-- Saint John Chrysostom

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With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George