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Church. Aim of Life. Theosis
In the works of Vladimir Lossky

Each human person should in turn become god by grace

The descent (καταβασις) of the divine person of Christ makes human persons capable of an ascent (αναβασις) in the Holy Spirit. It was necessary that the voluntary humiliation, the redemptive self-emptying of the Son of God should take place, so that fallen man might accomplish their vocation of theosis, the deification of created beings by uncreated grace. Thus the redeeming work of Christ — or rather, more generally speaking, the Incarnation of the Word — is seen as directly related to the ultimate goal of creatures: to know union with God. If this union has been accomplished in the divine person of the Son, who is God become man, it is necessary that each human person should in turn become god by grace, or become “a partaker of the divine nature,” according to St. Peter’s expression (2Pe.1:4).

…our deification — the carrying out the divine purpose for us…

… Even if redemption appears as the central aspect of the incarnation, i.e., of the dispensation of the Son toward the fallen world, it is but one aspect of the vaster dispensation of the Holy Trinity toward being created ex nihilo and called to reach deification freely — to reach union with God, so that “God may be all in all.” The thought of the Fathers never shuts out this ultimate vision. Redemtion has our salvation from sin as an immediate aim, but that salvation will be, in its ultimate realization in the age to come, our union with God, the deification of the created beings whom Christ ransomed. But this final realization involves the dispensation of another divine Person, sent into the world after the Son.

… In what sense are we all one single body in Christ, and in what sense is it true that we not and cannot be one without ceasing to exist as human persons or hypostases, each of whom is called to realize in his person union with God? For, it would appear that there are as many unions with God as there are human persons, each person having an absolutely unique relation with the Divinity, and that as many possible sainthoods exits in heaven as there are personal destinies on earth.

… The Son has become like us by the incarnation; we become like Him by deification, by partaking of the divinity in the Holy Spirit, who communicates the divinity to each person in a particular way. The redeeming work of the Son is related to our nature. The deifying work of the Holy Spirit concerns our persons. But the two are inseparable … ultimately they are but one dispensation of the Holy Trinity, accomplished by two Divine Persons sent by the Father into the world. This double dispensation of the Word and of the Paraclete has as its goal the union of created beings with God.

Considered from the point of view of our fallen state, the aim of the divine dispensation can be termed salvation or redemption. This is the negative aspect of our ultimate goal, which is considered from the perspective of our sin. Considered from the point of view of the ultimate vocation of created beings, the aim of the divine dispensation can be termed deification. This is the positive definition of the same mystery, which must be accomplished in each human person in the Church and which will be fully revealed in the age to come, when, after having reunited all things in Christ, God will become all in all.

Vladimir N. Lossky
In the Image and Likeness of God
Ch.V. Redemtion and Deification

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