Justification and Deification: A Response to Lucian Turcescu 75the original destiny of human beings, namely, divinization. In the
model the center of gravity lies not in reconciliation but in participation. Again,reconciliation is not at all incompatible with
but it is the pathway toparticipation in the divine life or in the divine energies. From the point of viewof
the ultimate goal of human life, of creaturely life, is participation inthe higher, divine life. The ultimate goal of salvation is to attain "a likeness toGod that transcends the natural relationships given to man in creation, for it isparticipation in divine qualities bestowed by God's grace."
Dutch Lutherantheologian K. Zwanenpol described the contrast between a justification and a
orientation in this way:In the soteriology of the Greek Fathers and Eastern Orthodoxy weclearly find different emphases. Central to it is a divinization which mustbridge the chasm between human existence
the life of God. This chasmis considered to be a 'natural' distance between God and humanity, by virtue of which human existence is characterized
'alienated' or 'perishable.'Of course sin is not left out of consideration, but it is conceived as a
dou bling of
by which God and humanity are separated
forgiveness of sin
has the function of creating a precondition for making diviniza
The distinctness of these discourses is confirmed by their correlation withthe distinct ways in which Christ is thought to effect salvation. In a
centered soteriology, salvation is basically accomplished in the incarnation, inthe hypostatic union: "God became man in order that man might become God."Orthodox soteriology, Bishop Máximos Aghiorgoussis has pointed out, "considers salvation as basically given in the person of the Savior, with his workonly completing what is already given at the incarnation of the Word-of-God-made-flesh:
communion between man and God, and reconciliation of man (and world) with God."
Harmonizing the two discourses too quickly obscures more than it clarifies.The problem of meshing the two approaches becomes apparent when Turcescuseeks to demonstrate the fruitfulness of the synthesis by examining the JointDeclaration on Justification's treatment of the role of human activity in theprocess of salvation. Some of his insights are very much to the point, as whenhe points to the untenability of speaking of faith as "passive." At the same time,a short-circuit occurs, when he introduces the Orthodox notion of synergy to
'William G. Rusch, "How the Eastern Fathers Understood What the Western Church Meant byJustification,'* in H. George Anderson, T. Austin Murphy, and Joseph A. Burgess,
Justification by Faith: Lutherans and Catholics in Dialogue
(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Press, 1985), p. 136,here describing Clement of Alexandria's conception.
K. Zwanenpol, "Luther en
vol. 2 (1993),
69-70; emphasis in original.
Maximos Aghiorgoussis, "Orthodox Soteriology," in John Meyendorff
Robert Tobias, eds.and intra,
A Lutheran-Orthodox Dialogue
(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress,