Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Augustine on Theosis

Yep; Augustine wrote on theosis. Surprised? So was I.

Augustine “believed his teaching on deification was based on Scripture” [Bonner in “Augustine's Conception of Deification,” JTS n.s. 37 (1986) 369-386] and he rejected the Plotinian idea that deification could be achieved by the independent efforts of a philosopher, unaided by grace; deification was possible only “from a participation in God made possible by divine initiative.” [Bonner, ibid.]

The “christocentricity” of Augustine's thought was integrated into his understanding of deification; Augustine says clearly that “adoption by grace” is impossible without the mediation of the God-man. Augustine, like the Greek Fathers, us the language of “participation” in God, and he was in agreement with the theologies of both Irenaeus and Athanasius (Bonner cites Serm. 192.1: “To make gods those who were men, He was made man who is God”).&mdashTheosis, page 124

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