Christian Authorities on Theosis
The Bible, Genesis 1: 26-27
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The Bible, Genesis 3: 5
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
The Bible, Genesis 9: 6
Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
The Bible, Deuteronomy 10: 17
For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.
The Bible, Joshua 22: 22
The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD.
The Bible, Psalm 2: 7-8
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
The Bible, Psalm 82: 6
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
The Bible, Psalm 136: 2
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
The Bible, Daniel 2: 47
The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.
The Bible, Obadiah 1: 21
And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.
The Bible, Matthew 5: 8-10
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Bible, Matthew 5: 48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
The Bible, John 1: 11-13
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The Bible, John 6: 53-57
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
The Bible, John 10: 32-36
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
The Bible, John 14: 12
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The Bible, John 14: 20
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
The Bible, John 17: 20-23
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
The Bible, Acts 17: 28
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
The Bible, Romans 8: 9-23
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
The Bible, 1 Corinthians 4: 14-17
I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
The Bible, 2 Corinthians 5: 18-20
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
The Bible, 2 Corinthians 13: 5
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The Bible, Galatians 2: 20
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Bible, Galatians 3: 26-28
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
The Bible, Galatians 4: 6-7
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
The Bible, Ephesians 3: 14-19
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
The Bible, Ephesians 4: 11-16
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The Bible, Philippians 2: 5-6
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.
The Bible, Philippians 2: 12-18
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.
The Bible, Colossians 1: 21-29
And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
The Bible, Hebrews 11: 39-40
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
The Bible, Hebrews 12: 9-10
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
The Bible, Hebrews 12: 22-23
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.
The Bible, 2 Peter 1: 2-10
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
The Bible, 1 John 3: 1-3
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The Bible, 1 John 3: 9-10
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
The Bible, 1 John 5: 1-2
WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
The Bible, 1 John 5: 18-21
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
The Bible, Revelation 2: 26-27
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
The Bible, Revelation 3: 21
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
The Bible, Revelation 21: 7
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Athanasius, Incarnation of the Word of God 54: 3
God became man that man become God.
Athanasius, Against the Arians 1: 39
The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods.
Athanasius, Against the Arians 3: 34
Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life.
Augustine, On the Psalms 50: 2
But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. 'For he has given them power to become the sons of God.' If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.
Basil the Great, On the Holy Spirit, Chapter 9: paragraph 23
Just as when a sunbeam falls on bright and transparent bodies, they themselves become brilliant too, and shed forth a fresh brightness from themselves, so souls wherein the Spirit dwells, illuminated by the Spirit, themselves become spiritual, and send forth their grace to others. Hence comes foreknowledge of the future, understanding of mysteries, apprehension of what is hidden, distribution of good gifts, the heavenly citizenship, a place in the chorus of angels, joy without end, abiding in God, the being made like to God, and, highest of all, the being made God.
Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 1
Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.
Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 3: 1
If one knows himself, he will know God, and knowing God will become like God.... His is beauty, true beauty, for it is God, and that man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, 'Men are gods, and gods are men.'
Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata or Miscellanies 7: 10
It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honors are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with perfection, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. They become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits their restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.
Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata. Book VII, Chapter XIII. Series: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol II. Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Pub Co, 1985 ed, 547
The man of God is consequently divine and is already holy. He is God-bearing and God-borne.
Cyprian, Treatise VI, On the Vanity of Idols. Series: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol V. Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Pub Co, 1985 ed, pg 468
What man is, Christ was willing to be – so that man may also be what Christ is.
Dwell in expectation of receiving what the Father has granted to the Son.
Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies X: 29, The Ante-Nicene Fathers 5: 151
For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos. But if thou art desirous of also becoming a god, obey Him that has created thee, and resist not now, in order that, being found faithful in that which is small, you may be enabled to have entrusted to you also that which is great.
Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies. Book X, Chapter XXX. Series: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol V. Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Pub Co, 1985 ed, 153
You will be a companion of God, and a co-heir with Christ . . . For you have become divine . . . God has promised to bestow these upon you, for you have been deified and begotten unto immortality.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies III 19: 1
[T]he Word became flesh and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies 4: 38
"Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods? Although God has adopted this course out of his pure benevolence, that no one may charge him with discrimination or stinginess, he declares, 'I have said, ye are gods; and all of you are sons of the Most High.' . . . For it was necessary at first that nature be exhibited, then after that what was mortal would be conquered and swallowed up in immortality."
Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5
"If the Word became a man, it was so men may become gods."
Irenaeus, Against Heresies. Book V, Preface. Series: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol I Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub Co, 1985 ed, 526
Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . became what we are, so that He might bring us to be even what He Himself is.
Irenaeus, Against Heresies V 38: 3, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1: 522-523
How, then, shall he become a God, who has not as yet been made a man? Or how can he be perfect who was but lately created? How, again, can he be immortal, who in his mortal nature did not obey his maker? For it must be that thou, at the outset, shouldest hold the rank of a man, and then afterwards partake of the glory of God.
Origen, Against Celsus. Book III, Chapter XXVIII. Series: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IV. Grand Rapids: Wm B Eerdmans Pub Co, 1985 ed, 475
. . . from Him there began the union of the divine with the human nature. This was so that the human – by communion with the divine – might rise to be divine. This not only happened in Jesus, but also in all those who not only believe, but enter upon the life that Jesus taught.
Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on Knowledge, Ch 25
God the Son of the Father became son of man and man Himself for this reason, to make men gods and sons of God.
Maximus the Confessor, On Theology, 7: 73
Let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods.
Origen, Commentary on John 29: 27
Men should escape from being men, and hasten to become gods.
Origen, Refutations 10: 30
Thou shalt resemble Him . . . having made thee even God to his glory.
Silvanus, The Teachings of Silvanus 111: 5-13, in The Nag Hammadi Library in English, edited by James M Robinson and Richard Smith, Leiden: E J Brill, 1988, 392
He [Christ] who has exalted man became like God, not in order that he might bring God down to man, but that man might become like God.
C S Lewis, Mere Christianity
Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has — by what I call "good infection." Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.
C S Lewis, Mere Christianity
The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were ‘gods’ and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him—for we can prevent Him, if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful, but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said.
C S Lewis
The Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all te cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful ... whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.