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Type to search for People, Research Interests and Universities Searching... 62 Revolutionary Epektasis: The Radical Challenge of Life in Theosismore by Emma Brown An exploration of the radical implications of early Greek Christianity for present day living. Exposition on the image of God and other elements of Eastern orthodox theology drawing especially from Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, John of... more An exploration of the radical implications of early Greek Christianity for present day living. Exposition on the image of God and other elements of Eastern orthodox theology drawing especially from Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, John of Damascus, Maximus and Palamas. More Info: Undergraduate Dissertation submitted for MA Divinity and History. Research Interests: Theology, Anarchism, Eco-Theology, Christian Neoplatonism, Trinitarian Theology, and 11 moreSystematic Theology, Patristics, Greek Patristics, Environmental Ethics, Political Theology, Divinity, Eastern Orthodox Liturgical Theology, Eastern Orthodox Theology, Christian Anarchism, Byzantine Theology, and Cappadociansedit Download (.pdf) Quick view Share Facebook Twitter EditDeleteMove section 62 Download (.pdf)

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be possible to speak of the being of God as the substance of God, God, has no
10 This ontological content, no true being, apart from communion. community is

inseparable, however, from the oneness of God, a unity which is preserved in the east through the dogma of perichoresis. John of Damascus describes the activity in the Godhead as the mutual indwelling of the Persons in one another as I am in
11 the Father and the Father in me, and their inseparable indwelling. his In

Handbook of Theological Terms, perichoresiss the term used in the Harvey describes a

doctrine of the Trinity to refer to the mutual interpenetration of the persons of the godhead, so that although each person is distinct in relation to the others, nevertheless, each participates fully in the being of the others, so that ultimately
12 the being of the godhead is thus one and indivisible. The preservation of

oneness is in this mutual indwelling, so that it is not possible to speak of separate beings within God since merely the contemplation of one necessitates talking of the others as each is defined by this ever-flowing relationship of love. Gregory of Nazianzus illustrates the eternity of this relationship and its contemplation in one of his orations:
No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the Splendour of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Them than I am carried back to the One. When I think of any One of the Three I think of Him as the Whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking of escapes me. I cannot grasp the greatness of That One so as to attribute a greater greatness to the Rest. When I contemplate the Three together, I see but one torch, and cannot divide or measure
13 out the Undivided Light.

Thus for Gregory of Nazianzus, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are names that relate not to separate substances, but names [that] make known a genuine and
14 intimate relation, so that they denote an identity of nature. only is this Not

10 J. Zizioulas, Being As Communion: Studies in Personhood and the Church . (New York: St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1985), 17. 11 John, Orthodox , 377. 12 Harvey Handbook , 155. , 13 Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration XL . C. Browne & J. in Select Orations of Saint Gregory Nazianzen Swallow(trans.) (Christian Classics Ethereal Library: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.html[accessed 17.03.12] ), 41 Select Orations of Saint Gregory Nazianzen 14 Gregory Five Theological Orations in , . C. Browne, & J. Swallow,(trans.) (Christian Classics Ethereal Library: 561. www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf207.html[accessed 14.02.11] ),

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perpetual relation a definition of the unity of the persons of the Trinity then, but it is also precisely the means by which the different hypostases in God are identified,
15 since in order to have relation there must be otherness in the participants.

All we know and all that remains a mystery then, is encapsulated in: God is Love(1 John 4:16 ). Unity and Trinity, one and many, relation and otherness, simplicity and paradox are presented within God is Love, and more specifically, Love in perichoresis. The complexity of God is in this embodiment of love. An understanding of the relations within God can only really be introduced into the human mind through the economic outworking of the Trinity. The evidence and the depiction of Gods love in creation is expressed in the Passion story of the New Testament: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Love, then is defined in creation
kenosiswhere he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being , by Gods act of

born in human likeness, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death- even death on a cross (Phil 2:7-8). Thus, when we ask what is God?, we might start by describing God as Love; a Love that is communal, mutually , interpenetrating, and that in its outworking kenotic which is self emptying for is the sake of the other. When looking for the image of God in man it is perhaps the aligning of humanity toward this activity of Love in God that should be focused upon.

2.3 The Aspiration of the Image of God toward Deification


The Byzantine tradition places great emphasis on not only being made in the image of God, but also the implicit purpose that being made in the image entails. It is this realisation and translation of an image which is referred to as likeness. The distance between the realised state of image and the likeness towards which humanity aspires are described in the Orthodox dogma of deification.

15 No one, however, is properly said to have charity on the ground of his own private love for himself. In order to be charity, love must be directed toward another. This charity cannot exist, where a plurality of persons lacks. Richard of St Victor quotation from/further discussion in M. Meerson, (Quincy: Franciscan Press, 1998),151. The Trinity of Love in Modern Russian Theology.

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Deification or is theosis defined by Archimandrite George as literally


To become gods by Grace... Theosis is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit, whereby through Grace one becomes a participant in the Kingdom of God. Theosis is an act of the uncreated and infinite love of God. It begins here in time and space, but it is not static or complete, and is an openended progression uninterrupted through all eternity.16

Having been made in the image of God, humanity, by the grace of God, has the potential to become like God. When talking of this potential, Gregory of Nyssa , terms it epektasis literally a constant progression or aspiration of humanity
17 toward likeness with God,which, according to Danielou means that it belongs to

the very essence of the spiritual life to be a continual progress, so that, however
18 Unification paradoxical it may seem, perfection consists in a continual progress.

with God does not entail identity with Gods essence but rather an experience of
19 adoption by grace, and, as will be discussed later, a participation in the Divine 20 Energies. Importantly, human identity is not lost in this process of deification.

Humanity not only retains its personal identity but becomes more truly human, more perfect and realises its true purpose through participation in the divine. Bartos writes that it is this growing into a perfect humanity that brings it to its appointed consummation, that perfection for which man was intended at his
21 creation. As such, deification is a divine gift and the ultimate and supreme goal

for human existence though importantly it is never an imposition, so likeness to ,22 God, whilst being the goal of human existence, is left to humanitys own free will to pursue23 In this way the imitation of Christ is the cooperation of the man . regenerate in Christ with the author of this regeneration; a cooperation directed
24 towards the attainment of likeness to God and deification, that humanity has so

16 George, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life. (Mount Athos: Holy Monastery of Saint Gregorios, 2006), 86. 17 Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, A. Malherbe & E. Ferguson(trans.), (New York: Paulist Press, 1979). 2.225-30. See also E. Bartos, (Carlisle: Deification in Eastern Orthodox Theology. Paternoster Publishing, 1999), 9. 18 J. Danielou, quoted in L. Mateo-Seco & G. Maspero, The Brill Dictionary of Gregory of Nyssa. (Leiden: Brill, 2009) , 263. 19 Bartos, Deification, 7. 20 Bartos, Deification, 10. 21 Bartos, Deification, 8. 22 Bartos, Deification, 7. 23 Mantzaridis, Deification , 22. 24 Mantzaridis, Deification , 64.

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