Theosis''' ("deification," "divinization") is the process of a worshiper becoming free of ''hamártía'' (" missing the mark"), being united with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in bodily [[ resurrection]]. For Orthodox Christians, Théōsis ( see 2 Pet. 1:4) is salvation. Théōsis assumes that humans from the beginning are made to share in the Life or Nature of the all-[[ holy]] [[ Trinity]]. Therefore, an infant or an adult worshiper is saved from the state of unholiness (''hamartía'' — which is not to be confused with ''hamártēma'' “sin”) for participation in the Life (''zōé'', not simply ''bíos'') of the Trinity — which is everlasting.
This is not to be confused with the heretical (apothéōsis) - "'' Deification in God’s Essence''", which is imparticipable.
Alternative spellings: Theiosis, Theopoiesis''
== Orthodox theology == The statement by [[ Saint|St.]] [[Athanasius of Alexandria]], "The Son of God became man, that we might become God", indicates the concept beautifully. II Peter 1:4 says that we have become " . . . partakers of divine nature." Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature" ('' De Incarnatione'', I). What would otherwise seem absurd, that fallen, sinful man may become holy as God is holy, has been made possible through [[ Jesus]] [[ Christ]], who is God incarnate. Naturally, the crucial Christian assertion, that God is One, sets an absolute limit on the meaning of ''theosis'' - it is not possible for any created being to become, [[ontology|ontologically]], God or even another god.
Through ''[[ theoria]] '', the knowledge of God in Jesus Christ, human beings come to know and experience what it means to be fully human (the created image of God); through their communion with Jesus Christ God shares Himself with the human race, in order to conform them to all that God is in knowledge, righteousness and holiness. ''Theosis'' also asserts the complete restoration of all people (and of the entire creation), in principle. This is built upon the understanding of the [[atonement]] put forward by [[ Irenaeus of Lyons]], called "recapitulation. "
For many fathers, ''theosis'' goes beyond simply restoring people to their state before the Fall of [[Adam and Eve]], teaching that because Christ united the human and divine natures in his person, it is now possible for someone to experience closer fellowship with God than Adam and Eve initially experienced in the Garden of Eden, and that people can become more like God than Adam and Eve were at that time. Some Orthodox theologians go so far as to say that Jesus would have become [[ Incarnation| incarnate]] for this reason alone, even if Adam and Eve had never sinned.
All of humanity is fully restored to the full potential of humanity because the Son of God took to Himself a human nature to be born of a woman, and takes to Himself also the sufferings due to sin (yet is not Himself a sinful man, and is God unchanged in His being). In Christ, the two natures of God and human are not two persons but one; thus, a union is effected in Christ, between all of humanity and God. So, the holy God and sinful humanity are reconciled in principle, in the one sinless man, Jesus Christ. (See Jesus's prayer as recorded in [[Gospel of John|John]] [http://drbo.org/cgi-bin/d?b=drb&bk=50&ch=017 17].) This reconciliation is made actual through the struggle (''podvig'' in Russian) to conform to the image of Christ. Without the struggle, the [[ praxis]], there is no real faith; faith leads to action, without which it is dead. One must unite will, thought and action to God's will, His thoughts and His actions. A person must fashion his life to be a mirror, a true likeness of God. More than that, since God and humanity are more than a similarity in Christ but rather a true union, Christians' lives are more than mere imitation and are rather a union with the life of God Himself: so that, the one who is working out salvation, is united with God working within the penitent both to will and to do that which pleases God. [[Gregory Palamas]] affirmed the possibility of humanity's union with God ''in His energies'', while also affirming that because of God's transcendence and utter otherness, it is impossible for any person or other creature to know or to be united with God's ''essence''. Yet through faith we can attain [[phronema]], an understanding of the faith of the Church.
The journey towards theosis includes many forms of [[praxis]]. Living in the community of the church and partaking regularly of the sacraments, and especially the [[Eucharist]], is taken for granted. Also important is cultivating "prayer of the heart", and prayer that never ceases, as Paul exhorts the Thessalonians ([[I Thessalonians|1]] and [[II Thessalonians|2]]). This unceasing prayer of the heart is a dominant theme in the writings of the Fathers, especially in those collected in the [[Philokalia]].
See also:'' [[ Desert Fathers]], [[ Hesychasm]], [[ Maximus the Confessor]], [[ Monasticism]]
Comparative considerations ===== '' Theosis'' in the Christian West ===
Although the doctrine of ''theosis'' came to be neglected in the Western Church, it was clearly taught in the Roman Catholic tradition as late as the 13th century by Thomas Aquinas, who taught that "full participation in divinity which is humankind's true beatitude and the destiny of human life" (''Summa Theologiae'' 3.1.2).
Some Protestant use of the term " theosis"===
In addition to the strong currents of ''theosis'' in early and some contemporary Catholic theology, one can find it as a recurring theme within Anglicanism: in Lancelot Andrewes (17th c.), the hymnody of John and Charles Wesley (18th c.), Edward B. Pusey (19th c.), and A. M. Allchin and E. Charles Miller (20th c.). The Finnish school of Lutheranism led by Tuomo Mannermaa argues that Martin Luther's understood justification to mean ''theosis''.
The Protestant conceptions of [[praxis]], [[phronema]], [[ascetical theology]], and [[sacrament]]s are quite different from Catholic and Orthodox understandings, but the use of the term ''theosis'' may <!-- only "may" because the conception of perfection may reflect a radical difference, depending upon the theological tract being compared-->illustrate a commonality of objective or hope.
Deification in [[Mormonism]]===
The doctrine of theosis or [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exaltation_%28Mormonism%29 deification] in [[Mormonism|The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints]] differs significantly from the '''theosis''' of Orthodox Christianity. In Mormonism it is usually referred to as ''[[exaltation]]'' or ''eternal life''. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on the [[atonement]] of Jesus Christ, the reason for the [[atonement]] is exaltation which goes beyond mere [[salvation]]. All men will be saved from [[sin]] and [[death]], but only those who are sufficiently [[obedient]] and accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the [[judgment]] will be exalted. One popular Mormon quote, coined by the early Mormon "disciple" Lorenzo Snow in 1837, is "As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be."[http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/godhead/farms_man.htm] The teaching was taught first by Joseph Smith while pointing to John 5:19 of the New Testament, "God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).
The Mormons' belief differs with the Orthodox belief in deification because the Latter-Day Saints believe that the core being of each individual, the "intelligence" which existed before becoming a spirit son or daughter, is uncreated or eternal. Orthodox deification always acknowledges a timeless Creator versus a finite creature who has been glorified by the grace of God. The Mormons are clear promoters of henotheism, and the Church Fathers have absolutely no commonality with their view.
See also==* [[ Soteriology]]
* Stavropoulos, Archimandrite Christoforos. ''Partakers of Divine Nature''. trans. by [[Stanley S. Harakas]] (ISBN 0937032093) [http://www.light-n-life.com/shopping/order_product.asp?ProductNum=PART100]
* Kärkkäinen, Veli-Matti. ''One With God: Salvation As Deification And Justification''. (ISBN 0814629717)
*Mannermaa, Tuomo. ''Christ Present in Faith: Luther's View of Justification''. (A literal translation would be: ''In Faith Itself Christ is Really Present: The Point of Intersection Between Lutheran and Orthodox Theology''.) (ISBN 0800637119)
* [http://theosis.riewe.com Theosis - Achieving Your Potential In Christ] by Fr. [[Anthony M. Coniaris]]
* [http://www.orlapubs.com/AR/R75.html Energy in the New Testament and in Later Theology] by Dr. Athanasios Bailey, Orchid Land Publications.
* [http://www.myriobiblos.gr/texts/english/Russell_partakers.html Norman Russell: "Partakers of the Divine Nature" (2 Peter 1:4) in the Byzantine Tradition - From the hommage to Joan Hussey ΚΑΘΗΓΗΤΡΙΑ, Porphyrogenitus Publ., Camberley UK, 1998]