Friday, November 12, 2010

Deification In The Church Fathers

As I have noted in past comments, I have been deeply studying the Church Fathers since the early 1980s. It did not take long for me to notice that the concept of deification (Gr. theosis—i.e. man becoming God), was a prominent theological theme found in many of the Church Fathers. The following list of selections from the Church Fathers on deification is from my ever expanding file on the subject—I am letting the Fathers speak for themselves without commentary.


- The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 1979 Eerdmans reprint

- The Nicene, and Post-Nicene Fathers, (first and second series), 1979 Eerdmans reprint

(last update 01-19-09)

Ignatius - To the Ephesians 4.2 It is therefore good for you to be in perfect unity, that you may at all times be partakers (μετεχητε) of God. (Fathers of the Church - The Apostolic Fathers, vol. 1, p. 89.)

Justin - 1st Ap. 21 And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue. (ANF 1.170).

Justin - Dial. 124 ...thereby it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming "gods", and of having power to become sons of the Highest. (ANF 1.262).

Justin - Discourse To The Greeks 5 The Word exercises an influence which does not make poets: it does not equip philosophers nor skilled orators, but by its instruction it makes mortals immortal, mortals god. (ANF 1.272)

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 3.6.1 “God stood in the in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.” He [here] refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption; but these are the Church. (ANF 1.419).

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 3.18.7
Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. For unless man had overcome the enemy of man, the enemy would not have been legitimately vanquished. And again: unless it had been God who had freely given salvation, we could never have possessed it securely. And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility. For it was incumbent upon the Mediator between God and men, by His relationship to both, to bring both to friendship and concord, and present man to God, while He revealed God to man. For, in what way could we be partakers of the adoption of sons, unless we had received from Him through the Son that fellowship which refers to Himself, unless His Word, having been made flesh, had entered into communion with us? Wherefore also He passed through every stage of life, restoring to all communion with God. (ANF 1.448)

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 3.19.1 To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: “I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.” He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God, defraud human nature of promotion into God, and prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. (ANF 1.448). [See also 3.6.1]

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 4.Pref. - 4.1.1 ...there is none other called God by the Scriptures except the Father of all, and the Son, and those who possess the adoption. Since, therefore, this is sure and steadfast, that no other God or Lord was announced by the Spirit, except Him who, as God, rules over all, together with His Word, and those who receive the Spirit of adoption, that is, those who believe in the one and true God, and in Jesus Christ the Son of God. (ANF 1.463).

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 4.33.4 can they be saved unless it was God who wrought out their salvation upon earth? Or how shall man pass into God, unless God has [first] passed into man? (ANF 1.507).

Irenaeus - Adv. 4.20.4
Now this is His Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last times was made a man among men, that He might join the end to the beginning, that is, man to God. (ANF 1.488).

Irenaeus - Adv. 4.20.5, 6a These things did the prophets set forth in a prophetical manner; but they did not, as some allege, [proclaim] that He who was seen by the prophets was a different [God], the Father of all being invisible. Yet this is what those [heretics] declare, who are altogether ignorant of the nature of prophecy. For prophecy is a prediction of things future, that is, a setting forth beforehand of those things which shall be afterwards. The prophets, then, indicated beforehand that God should be seen by men; as the Lord also says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” But in respect to His greatness, and His wonderful glory, “no man shall see God and live,” for the Father is incomprehensible; but in regard to His love, and kindness, and as to His infinite power, even this He grants to those who love Him, that is, to see God, which thing the prophets did also predict. “For those things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.” For man does not see God by his own powers; but when He pleases He is seen by men, by whom He wills, and when He wills, and as He wills. For God is powerful in all things, having been seen at that time indeed, prophetically through the Spirit, and seen, too, adoptively through the Son; and He shall also be seen paternally in the kingdom of heaven, the Spirit truly preparing man in the Son of God, and the Son leading him to the Father, while the Father, too, confers [upon him] incorruption for eternal life, which comes to every one from the fact of his seeing God. For as those who see the light are within the light, and partake of its brilliancy; even so, those who see God are in God, and receive of His splendor. But [His] splendor vivifies them; those, therefore, who see God, do receive life. And for this reason, He, [although] beyond comprehension, and boundless and invisible, rendered Himself visible, and comprehensible, and within the capacity of those who believe, that He might vivify those who receive and behold Him through faith. For as His greatness is past finding out, so also His goodness is beyond expression; by which having been seen, He bestows life upon those who see Him. It is not possible to live apart from life, and the means of life is found in fellowship with God; but fellowship with God is to know God, and to enjoy His goodness.

Men therefore shall see God, that they may live, being made immortal by that sight, and attaining even unto God; which, as I have already said, was declared figuratively by the prophets, that God should be seen by men who bear His Spirit [in them], and do always wait patiently for His coming. (ANF 1.488, 489.)

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 4.24.2 ...and that His Word, invisible by nature, was made palpable and visible among men, and did descend “to death, even the death of the cross;” also, that they who believe in Him shall be incorruptible and not subject to suffering (Latin: impassiblies – impassible), and shall receive the kingdom of heaven. (ANF 1.495)

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 4.38.3-4 His wisdom [is shown] in His having made created things parts of one harmonious and consistent whole; and those things which, through His super-eminent kindness, receive growth and a long period of existence, do reflect the glory of the uncreated One, of that God who bestows what is good ungrudgingly. For from the very fact of these things having been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of eternal existence upon them by God., a created and organized being, is rendered after the image and likeness of the uncreated God... we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods...He shall overcome the substance of created nature. For it was necessary, at first, that nature should be exhibited; then, after that, that what was mortal should be conquered and swallowed up by immortality, and the corruptible by incorruptibility, and that man should be made after the image and likeness of God, having received the knowledge of good and evil. (ANF 1.521-522).

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 4.39.2 How, then, shall he be 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. (ANF 1.522-523).

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 5.Pref ...the Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself. (ANF 1.526).

Irenaeus - Adv. Her. 5.1.1 Since the Lord thus has redeemed us through His own blood, giving His soul for our souls, and His flesh for our flesh, and has also poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and man, imparting indeed God to men by means of the Spirit, and, on the other hand, attaching man to God by His own incarnation, and bestowing upon us at His coming immortality durably and truly, by means of communion with God...(ANF 1.527). [see also 5.36.3]

Irenaeus – Adv. Her. 5.6.1 Now God shall be glorified in His handiwork, fitting it so as to be conformable to, and modeled after, His own Son. For by the hands of the Father, that is, by the Son and the Holy Spirit, man, and not [merely] a part of man, was made in the likeness of God. Now the soul and the spirit are certainly a part of the man, but certainly not the man; for the perfect man consists in the commingling and the union of the soul receiving the spirit of the Father, and the admixture of that fleshly nature which was molded after the image of God. For this reason does the apostle declare, “We speak wisdom among them that are perfect,” terming those persons “perfect” who have received the Spirit of God, and who through the Spirit of God do speak in all languages, as he used Himself also to speak. In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church, who possess prophetic gifts, and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages, and bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God, whom also the apostle terms “spiritual,” they being spiritual because they partake of the Spirit, and not because their flesh has been stripped off and taken away, and because they have become purely spiritual. For if any one take away the substance of flesh, that is, of the handiwork [of God], and understand that which is purely spiritual, such then would not be a spiritual man but would be the spirit of a man, or the Spirit of God. But when the spirit here blended with the soul is united to [God’s] handiwork, the man is rendered spiritual and perfect because of the outpouring of the Spirit, and this is he who was made in the image and likeness of God. (ANF 1.531)

Irenaeus – Adv. Her. 5.32.1 Inasmuch, therefore, as the opinions of certain [orthodox persons] are derived from heretical discourses, they are both ignorant of God’s dispensations, and of the mystery of the resurrection of the just, and of the [earthly] kingdom which is the commencement of incorruption, by means of which kingdom those who shall be worthy are accustomed gradually to partake of the divine nature (capere Deum)…(ANF 1.561)

Theophilus - To Autolycus 27 Was man made by nature mortal? Certainly not. Was he, then, immortal? Neither do we affirm this. ...He was by nature neither mortal nor immortal. For if He had made him immortal from the beginning, He would have made him God. ... keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as a reward from Him immortality, and should become God. (ANF 2.105).

Tertullian - Adv. Hermogenes 5 Well, then, you say, we ourselves possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to do—only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we shall be even gods, if we shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, "I have said, Ye are gods," and "God standeth in the congregation of the gods." But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods. (ANF 3.480).

Tertullian - Adv. Marcion Book II.25 Now, although Adam was by reason of his condition under law subject to death, yet was hope preserved to him by the Lord's saying, "Behold, Adam is become as one of us;" that is, in consequence of the future taking of the man into the divine nature [hominis in divinitatem].(ANF 3.317).

Tertullian - Adv. Hermogenes 5 Well, then, you say, we ourselves at that rate possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to do—only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we shall be even gods, if we shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, “I have said, Ye are gods,” and “God standeth in the congregation of the gods.” But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods. (ANF 3.480).

Clement of Alexandria - Exhortation 1 ...the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God. (ANF 2.174).

Clement of Alexandria - Exhortation 11 But since Thou leadest me to the light, O Lord, and I find God through Thee, and receive the Father from Thee, I become “Thy fellow-heir,” since Thou “wert not ashamed of me as Thy brother.” Let us put away, then, let us put away oblivion of the truth, viz., ignorance; and removing the darkness which obstructs, as dimness of sight, let us contemplate the only true God, first raising our voice in this hymn of praise: Hail, O light! For in us, buried in darkness, shut up in the shadow of death, light has shone forth from heaven, purer than the sun, sweeter than life here below. That light is eternal life; and whatever partakes of it lives. But night fears the light, and hiding itself in terror, gives place to the day of the Lord. Sleepless light is now over all, and the west has given credence to the east. For this was the end of the new creation. For “the Sun of Righteousness,” who drives His chariot over all, pervades equally all humanity, like “His Father, who makes His sun to rise on all men,” and distills on them the dew of the truth. He hath changed sunset into sunrise, and through the cross brought death to life; and having wrenched man from destruction, He hath raised him to the skies, transplanting mortality into immortality, and translating earth to heaven… having bestowed on us the truly great, divine, and inalienable inheritance of the Father, deifying man by heavenly teaching, putting His laws into our minds, and writing them on our hearts. (ANF 2.203)

Clement of Alexandria - Exhortation 12 For I want, I want to impart to you this grace, bestowing on you the perfect boon of immortality; and I confer on you both the Word and the knowledge of God, My complete self. This am I, this God wills, this is symphony, this the harmony of the Father, this is the Son, this is Christ, this the Word of God, the arm of the Lord, the power of the universe, the will of the Father; of which things there were images of old, but not all adequate. I desire to restore you according to the original model, that ye may become also like Me. I anoint you with the ungent of faith, by which you throw off corruption, and show you the naked form of righteousness by which you ascend to God… And if what belongs to friends be reckoned common property, and man be the friend of God — for through the mediation of the Word has he been made the friend of God — then accordingly all things become man’s, because all things are God’s, and the common property of both the friends, God and man.

It is time, then, for us to say that the pious Christian alone is rich and wise, and of noble birth, and thus call and believe him to be God’s image, and also His likeness, having become righteous and holy and wise by Jesus Christ, and so far already like God. Accordingly this grace is indicated by the prophet, when he says, “I said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest.” For us, yea us, He has adopted, and wishes to be called the Father of us alone, not of the unbelieving. Such is then our position who are the attendants of Christ. (ANF 2.205, 206)

Clement of Alexandria - The Instructor 3.1 It is then, as appears, the greatest of al lessons to know one's self. For if one know himself, he will know God; and knowing God, he will be made like God...But that man with whom the Word dwells does not alter himself, does not get himself up: he has the form which is of the Word; he is made like to God...and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, "Men are gods, and gods are men." (ANF 2.271).

Clement of Alexandria - Strom. 4.23 On this wise it is possible for the [true] Gnostic already to have become God. “I said, Ye are gods, and sons of the highest.” (ANF 2.437).

Clement of Alexandria - Strom. 6.14 By thus receiving the Lord's power, the soul studies to be God; ...To the likeness of God, then, he that is introduced into adoption and the friendship of God, to the just inheritance of the lords and gods is brought; if he be perfected, according to the Gospel, as the Lord himself taught. (ANF 2.506).

Clement of Alexandria - Strom. 7.10 ...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 Saviour. (ANF 2.539).

Clement of Alexandria - Strom. 7.13 What, then, shall we say of the [true] Gnostic himself? “Know ye not”, says the apostle, “that ye are the temple of God?” The [true] Gnostic is consequently divine, and already holy, God-bearing and God-borne. (ANF 2.547).

Clement of Alexandria - Strom. 7.16 But he who has returned from this deception, on hearing the Scriptures, and turned his life to the truth, is, as it were, from being a man made a god. (ANF 2.551)

Hippolytus - Refutation of All Heresies 5.29 The Creator did not wish to make him a god, and failed in His aim; nor an angel,—but a man. For if He had willed to make thee a god, He could have done so. Thou hast the example of the Logos. His will, however, was, that you should be a man, and He has made thee a man. But if thou art desirous of also becoming a god, obey Him that has created thee. (ANF 5.151).

Hippolytus - Refutation of All Heresies 5.30 And thou shalt be a companion of the Deity, and a co-heir with Christ, no longer enslaved by lusts or passions, and never again wasted by disease. For thou hast become God: for whatever sufferings thou didst undergo while being a man, these He gave to thee, because thou wast of mortal mould, but whatever it is consistent with God to impart, these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality. ...For the Deity, (by condescension,) does not diminish aught of the dignity of His divine perfection; having made thee even God unto His glory! (ANF 5.153).

Hippolytus - Discourse on the Holy Theophany 8 If, therefore, man has become immortal, he will also be God. And if he is made God by water and the Holy Spirit after the regeneration of the laver he is found to be also joint-heir with Christ after the resurrection from the dead. (ANF 5.236).

Novatian – Treatise on the Trinity 15 But immortality is the associate of divinity, because both the divinity is immortal, and immortality is the fruit of divinity. For every man is mortal; and immortality cannot be from that which is mortal. Therefore from Christ, as a mortal man, immortality cannot arise. “But,” says He, “whosoever keepeth my word, shall not see death for ever;” therefore the word of Christ affords immortality, and by immortality affords divinity. But although it is not possible to maintain that one who is himself mortal can make another immortal, yet this word of Christ not only sets forth, but affords immortality: certainly He is not man only who gives immortality, which if He were only man He could not give; but by giving divinity by immortality, He proves Himself to be God by offering divinity, which if He were not God He could not give. (ANF 5.624)

Origen - Comm. on John 2.2,3 ...the Savior says in His prayer to the Father, "That they may know Thee the only true God;" but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity...And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, "The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth." It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is "The God", and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were of Him the prototype. ...Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity. (ANF 10.323).

Origen - De Principiis 4.1.36 Every one who participates in anything, is unquestionably of one essence and nature with him who is partaker of the same thing...the nature of Father, and Son, and Holy Spirit, of whose intellectual light alone all created things have a share, is incorruptible and eternal, it is altogether consistent and necessary that every substance which partakes of that eternal nature should last for ever, and be incorruptible and eternal, so that the eternity of divine goodness may be understood also in this respect, that they who obtain its benefits are also eternal.(ANF 4.381) [see also Origen - De Principiis 3.6.1,3 (ANF 4.344-345]

Origen - De Principiis 4.1.32 As now by participation in the Son of God one is adopted as a son, and by participating in that wisdom which is in God is rendered wise, so also by participation in the Holy Spirit is a man rendered holy and spiritual. For it is one and the same thing to have a share in the Holy Spirit, which is (the Spirit) of te Father and the Son, since the nature of the Trinity is one and incorporeal. And what we have said regarding the participation of the soul is to be understood of angels and heavenly powers in a similar way as of souls, because every rational creature needs a participation in the Trinity. (ANF 4.379).

Origen - Against Celsus 3.28 ...they see that from Him [Christ] there began the union of the divine with the human nature, in order that the human, by communion with the divine, might rise to be divine, not in Jesus alone, but in all those who not only believe, but enter upon the life which Jesus taught, and which elevates to friendship with God and communion with Him every one who lives according to the precepts of Jesus. (ANF 4.475).

Cyprian - Treatise 6.11 Therefore of this mercy and grace the Word and Son of God is sent as the dispenser and master, who by all the prophets of old was announced as the enlightener and teacher of the human race. He is the power of God,He is the reason, He is His wisdom and glory; He enters into a virgin; with the co-operation of the Holy Spirit, He is endued with flesh; God is mingled with man. This is our God, this is Christ, who, as the mediator of the two, puts on man that He may lead them to the Father. What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man may be what Christ is. (ANF 5.468).

Methodius - On the Passion of Christ 2 For the Word suffered, being in the flesh affixed to the cross, that He might bring man, who had been deceived by error, to His supreme and godlike majesty. (ANF 6.400).

Lactantius - The Divine Institutes 2.9 He produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father. ...Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. ...For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being,, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us. God, therefore, when He began the fabric of the world, set over the whole work that first and greatest Son, and used Him at the same time as a counsellor and artificer, in planning, arranging, and accomplishing, since He is complete both in knowledge, and judgement, and power. (ANF 7.52-53).

Lactantius - The Divine Institutes 6.23 If anyone can incline toward this and strive after it, the Lord will own him as a servant, the Master will acknowledge this man as His disciple. The man will triumph over the earth. He will be exactly similar to God (hic erit consimilis Deo) who has embraced the virtue of God. (ANF 7.190).

Athanasius - De Incarnation 54 For He was made man that we might be made God. (NPNF, second series, 4.65).

Athanasius - Defence of the Nicene Definition 3.14 ...the Word was made flesh in order to offer up this body for all, and that we, partaking of His Spirit, might be deified, a gift which we could not otherwise have gained than by His clothing Himself in our created body, for hence we derive our name of "men of God" and "men in Christ." But as we, by receiving the Spirit, do not lose our own proper substance, so the Lord, when made man for us, and bearing a body, was no less God; for He was not lessened by the envelopment of the body, but rather deified it and rendered it immortal. (NPNF, second series, 4.159).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 1.11.38 ...but rather He Himself has made us sons of the Father, and deified men by becoming Himself man. (NPNF, second series, 4.329).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 1.11.39 Therefore He was not man, and then became God, but He was God, and then became man, and that to deify us...And how can there be deifying apart from the Word and before Him? (NPNF, second series, 4.329).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 1.11.45 For He who is the Son of God, became Himself the Son of Man; and, as Word, He gives from the Father, for all things which the Father does and gives, He does and supplies through Him; and as the Son of Man, He Himself is said after the manner of men to receive what proceeds from Him, because His Body is none other than His, and is a natural recipient of grace, as has been said. For He received it as far as His man’s nature was exalted; which exaltation was its being deified. But such an exaltation the Word Himself always had according to the Father’s Godhead and perfection, which was His. (NPNF, second series, 4.333).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 2.21.70 Whence the truth shews us that the Word is not of things originate, but rather Himself their Framer. For therefore did He assume the body originate and human, that having renewed it as its Framer, he might deify it in Himself, and thus might introduce us all into the kingdom of heaven after His likeness. For man had not been deified if joined to a creature, or unless the Son were very God; nor had man been brought into the Father’s presence, unless He had been His natural and true Word who had put on the body. And as we had not been delivered from sin and the curse, unless it had been by nature human flesh, which the Word put on (for we should have had nothing common with what was foreign), so also the man had not been deified, unless the Word who became flesh had been by nature from the Father and true and proper to Him. For therefore the union was of this kind, that He might unite what is man by nature to Him who is in the nature of the Godhead, and his salvation and deification might be sure. (NPNF, second series, 4.386).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 3.25.23 And the work is perfected, because men, redeemed from sin, no longer remain dead; but being deified, have in each other, by looking at Me, the bond of charity. (NPNF, second series, 4.406).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 3.25.25 ...and as we are sons and gods because of the Word in us, so we shall be in the Son and in the Father, and we shall be accounted to have become one in Son and in Father...(NPNF, second series, 4.407).

Athanasius - Contra Arians 3.26.33 longer do these things touch the body, because of the Word who has come in it, but they are destroyed by him, and henceforth men no longer remain sinners and dead according to their proper affections, but having risen according to the Word's power, they abide ever immortal and incorruptible. Whence also, whereas the flesh is born of Mary Bearer of God [θεοτόκου], He Himself is said to have been born, who furnishes to others an origin of being; in order that He may transfer our origin into Himself, and we may no longer, as mere earth, return to earth, but as being knit into the Word from heaven, may be carried to heaven by Him. Therefor in like manner not without reason has He transferred to Himself the other affections of the body also; that we, no longer as being men, but as proper to the Word, may have share in eternal life. For no longer according to our former origin in Adam do we die; but henceforward our origin and all infirmity of flesh being transferred to the Word, we rise from the earth, the curse form sin being removed, because of Him who is in us, and who has become a curse for us. And with reason; for as we are all from earth and die in Adam, so being regenerated from above of water and Spirit, in the Christ we are all quickened; the flesh no longer earthly, but being henceforth made Word [λογωθείσης της σαρκός - this strong term is here applied to human nature generally; it is also used to describe our Lord's flesh], by reason of God's Word who for our sake 'became flesh.' (NPNF, second series, 4.412)

Athanasius - Contra Arians 3.28.48 For now the flesh had risen and put off its mortality and been deified. (He is here speaking of Christ's flesh). (NPNF, second series, 4.420).

Athanasius - Letter 60 And if God sent His Son brought forth from a woman, the fact causes us no shame but contrariwise glory and great grace. For He has become Man, that He might deify us in Himself, and He has been born of a woman, and begotten of a Virgin, in order to transfer to Himself our erring generation, and that we may become henceforth a holy race, and ‘partakers of the Divine Nature,’ as blessed Peter wrote. And ‘what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.’ (NPNF, second series, 4.576)

Hilary of Poitiers - De Trinitate 9.38 For the object to be gained was that man might become God. But the assumed manhood could not in any wise abide in the unity of god, unless, through unity with God, it attained to unity with the nature of God. Then, since God the Word was in the nature of God, the Word made flesh would in its turn also be in the nature of God. (NPNF, second series, 2.9.167)

Hilary of Poitiers - De Trinitate 10.7 For when God was born to be man the purpose was not that the Godhead should be lost, but that, the Godhead remaining, man should be born to be God. Thus Emmanuel is His name, which is God with us, that God might not be lowered to the level of man, but man raised to that of God. (NPNF, second series, 2.9.183-184)

Gregory of Nyssa - Against Eunomius 6.4 For, as he says that He Who was crucified has been made Lord, so Paul also says that He was “highly exalted,” after the Passion and the Resurrection, not being exalted in so far forth as He is God. For what height is there more sublime than the Divine height, that he should say God was exalted thereunto? But he means that the lowliness of the Humanity was exalted, the word, I suppose, indicating the assimilation and union of the Man Who was assumed to the exalted state of the Divine Nature. (NPNF, second series, 2.5.189)

Gregory of Nyssa - The Great Catechism 25 That Deity should be born in our nature, ought not reasonably to present any strangeness to the minds of those who do not take too narrow a view of things. For who, when he takes a survey of the universe, is so simple as not to believe that there is Deity in everything, penetrating it, embracing it, and seated in it? For all things depend on Him Who is nor can there be anything which has not its being in Him Who is. If, therefore, all things are in Him, and He in all things, why are they scandalized at the plan of Revelation when it teaches that God was born among men, that same God Whom we are convinced is even now not outside mankind? For although this last form of God’s presence amongst us is not the same as that former presence, still His existence amongst us equally both then and now is evidenced; only now He Who holds together Nature in existence is transfused in us; while at that other time He was transfused throughout our nature, in order that our nature might by this transfusion of the Divine become itself divine... (NPNF, second series, 2.5.494, 495)

Gregory of Nyssa - The Great Catechism 38 …since the God who was manifested infused Himself into perishable humanity for this purpose, viz. that by this communion with Deity mankind might at the same time be defied. (NPNF, second series, 2.5.506)

Gregory of Nyssa - Orationes de beatitudinibus 7 Man transcends [ekbainei] his own nature, he who was subject to corruption in his mortality becomes immune from it in his immortality, becomes eternal instead of being stuck in time—in a word, from a man he becomes God [theos ex anthrōpou ginomenos]. (Translation by Jaroslav Pelikan, in his Christianity and Classical Culture, p. 318.)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 1 “On Easter and His Reluctance” (5) Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become God’s for His sake, since He for ours became Man. He assumed the worse that He might give us the better; He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich; He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might receive back our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonored that He might glorify us; He died that He might save us; He ascended that He might draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the Fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him Who gave Himself a Ransom and a Reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the Mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours. (NPNF, second series, 2.7.203)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 2 “In Defense of His Flight to Pontus” (23) This is the wish of our schoolmaster the law, of the prophets who intervened between Christ and the law, of Christ who is the fulfiller and end of the spiritual law; of the emptied Godhead, of the assumed flesh, of the novel union between God and man, one consisting of two, and both in one. This is why God was united to the flesh by means of the soul, and natures so separate were knit together by the affinity to each of the element which mediated between them: so all became one for the sake of all, and for the sake of one... (NPNF, second series, 2.7.209)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 2 “In Defense of His Flight to Pontus” (73) Who can mold, as clay-figures are modeled in a single day, the defender of the truth, who is to take his stand with Angels, and give glory with Archangels, and cause the sacrifice to ascend to the altar on high, and share the priesthood of Christ, and renew the creature, and set forth the image, and create inhabitants for the world above, aye and, greatest of all, be God, and make others to be God? (NPNF, second series, 7.226)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 7 “Panegyric On His Brother S. Caesarius” (23)
Would that I might mortify my members that are upon the earth, would that I might spend my all upon the spirit, walking in the way that is narrow and trodden by few, not that which is broad and easy. For glorious and great are its consequences, and our hope is greater than our desert. What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? What is this new mystery which concerns me? I am small and great, lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and heavenly. I share one condition with the lower world, the other with God; one with the flesh, the other with the spirit. I must be buried with Christ, arise with Christ, be joint heir with Christ, become the son of God, yea, God Himself. See whither our argument has carried us in its progress. I almost own myself indebted to the disaster which has inspired me with such thoughts, and made me more enamored of my departure hence. This is the purpose of the great mystery for us. This is the purpose for us of God, Who for us was made man and became poor, to raise our flesh, and recover His image, and remodel man, that we might all be made one in Christ, who was perfectly made in all of us all that He Himself is... (NPNF, second series, 2.7.237)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Third Theological Oration (29.19) While His inferior Nature, the Humanity, became God, because it was united to God, and became One Person because the Higher Nature prevailed ... in order that I too might be made God so far as He is made Man. (NPNF, second series, 7.308)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Fourth Theological Oration (30.3) What greater destiny can befall man's humility than that he should be intermingled with God, and by this intermingling should be deified. (NPNF, second series, 7.310)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Fourth Theological Oration (30.14) For there is One God, and One Mediator between God and Man, the Man Christ Jesus. For He still pleads even now as Man for my salvation; for He continues to wear the Body which He assumed, until He make God by the power of His Incarnation. (NPNF, second series, 7.315)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Fourth Theological Oration (30.21) These names however are still common to Him Who is above us, and to Him Who came for our sake. But others are peculiarly our own, and belong to that nature which He assumed. So He is called Man, not only that through His Body He may be apprehended by embodied creatures, whereas otherwise this would be impossible because of His incomprehensible nature; but also that by Himself He may sanctify humanity, and be as it were a leaven to the whole lump; and by uniting to Himself that which was condemned may release it from all condemnation, becoming for all men all things that we are, except sin; — body, soul, mind and all through which death reaches — and thus He became Man, who is the combination of all these; God in visible form, because He retained that which is perceived by mind alone. He is Son of Man, both on account of Adam, and of the Virgin from Whom He came; from the one as a forefather, from the other as His Mother, both in accordance with the law of generation, and apart from it. He is Christ, because of His Godhead. For this is the Anointing of His Manhood, and does not, as is the case with all other Anointed Ones, sanctify by its action, but by the Presence in His Fullness of the Anointing One; the effect of which is that That which anoints is called Man, and makes that which is anointed God. He is The Way, because He leads us through Himself; The Door, as letting us in; the Shepherd, as making us dwell in a place of green pastures, and bringing us up by waters of rest, and leading us there, and protecting us from wild beasts, converting the erring, bringing back that which was lost, binding up that which was broken, guarding the strong, and bringing them together in the Fold beyond, with words of pastoral knowledge. The Sheep, as the Victim: The Lamb, as being perfect: the Highpriest, as the Offerer; Melchisedec, as without Mother in that Nature which is above us, and without Father in ours; and without genealogy above (for who, it says, shall declare His generation?) and moreover, as King of Salem, which means Peace, and King of Righteousness, and as receiving tithes from Patriarchs, when they prevail over powers of evil. They are the titles of the Son. Walk through them, those that are lofty in a godlike manner; those that belong to the body in a manner suitable to them; or rather, altogether in a godlike manner, that thou mayest become a God, ascending from below, for His sake Who came down from on high for ours. In all and above all keep to this, and thou shalt never err, either in the loftier or the lowlier names; Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday and today in the Incarnation, and in the Spirit for ever and ever. Amen. (NPNF, second series, 7.317, 318)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Fifth Theological Oration (31.4) If He is not from the beginning, He is in the same rank with myself, even though a little before me; for we are both parted from Godhead by time. If He is in the same rank with myself, how can He make me God, or join me with Godhead? (NPNF, second series, 7.319)

Gregory Nazianzen - The Fifth Theological Oration (28, 29) For if He [Holy Ghost] is not to be woshipped, how can He deify me by Baptism? But if He is to be worshipped, surely He is an Object of adoration, and if an Object of adoration He must be God…good, upright, princely, by nature not by adoption…That deifieth… (NPNF, second series, 7. 327.)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 34 “On the Arrival of the Egyptians” (12) I dare to utter something, O Trinity; and may pardon be granted to my folly, for the risk is to my soul. I too am an Image of God, of the Heavenly Glory, though I be placed on earth. I cannot believe that I am saved by one who is my equal. If the Holy Ghost is not God, let Him first be made God, and then Him deify me His equal. (NPNF, second series, 7.337)

Gregory Nazianzen- Oration 39 “Oration on the Holy Lights” (17) And how is He not God, if I may digress a little, by whom you too are made God? (NPNF, second series, 7.358)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 40 “Oration on Holy Baptism” (45) ...impassible in His Godhead, passible in that which He assumed; as much Man for your sake as you are made God for His. (NPNF, second series, 7.377)

Gregory Nazianzen - Oration 43 “The Panegyric On St. Basil” (61)
...Christ, who made Himself poor in the flesh for our sakes, that we might enjoy the riches of His Godhead (NPNF, second series, 7.415)

Basil - On the Spirit 9.23 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, the highest of all, the being made God. (NPNF, second series, 8.16)

Ephraim the Syrian - Hymns On The Nativity Hymn 1 In this day in which the Rich became poor for our sakes, let the rich man make the poor man share with him at his table. On this day to us came forth the Gift, although we asked it not! Let us therefore bestow alms on them that cry and beg of us. This is the day that opened for us a gate on high to our prayers. Let us open also gates to supplicants that have transgressed, and of us have asked [forgiveness.] Today the Lord of nature was against His nature changed; let it not to us be irksome to turn our evil wills. Fixed in nature is the body; great or less it cannot become: but the will has such dominion, it can grow to any measure. Today Godhead sealed itself upon Manhood, that so with the Godhead’s stamp Manhood might be adorned. (NPNF, second series, 2.13.226 - also Western Spiritual Classics - Ephrem The Syrian: Hymns p. 74.)

Ephraim the Syrian – Homily on our Lord 2 This is He Who was begotten from the Godhead according to His nature, and from manhood not after His nature, and from baptism not after His custom; that we might be begotten from manhood according to our nature, and from Godhead not after our nature, and by the Spirit not after our custom. He then was begotten from the Godhead, He that came to a second birth; in order to bring us to the birth that is discoursed of, even His generation from the Father: — not that it should be searched out, but that it should be believed; — and His birth froth the woman, not that it should be despised, but that it should be exalted. (NPNF, second series, 2.13.305.)

Ephraim the Syrian – Homily on our Lord 10 Glory be to Him Who received from us that He might give to us; that through that which is ours we might more abundantly receive of that which is His! (NPNF, second series, 2.13.309.)

Ephraim the Syrian – Nisbene Hymns XLVIII.17-18 Divinity flew down and descended to raise and draw up humanity. The Son has made beautiful the servant’s deformity, and he has become a god, just as he desired. (St. Ephrem The Syrian – Hymns On Paradise, trans. Sebastian Brock, p. 73.)

Ephraim the Syrian – Nisbene Hymns LXIX.12 The Most High knew that Adam wanted to become a god, so He sent His Son who put him on in order to grant him his desire. (St. Ephrem The Syrian – Hymns On Paradise, trans. Sebastian Brock, p. 73.)

Ephraim the Syrian - Hymns On Faith V.17 He gave us divinity, we gave Him humanity. (St. Ephrem The Syrian – Hymns On Paradise, trans. Sebastian Brock, p. 73.)

Ephraim the Syrian - Hymns On Virginity 48.14-18 Our freedom does not cease to pervert. His grace does not cease to make straight. Freedom made hateful the beauty of Adam that he might be god…But grace adorned its flaws, and God came to be human. Divinity flew down to rescue and lift up humanity. Behold the Son adorned the servant’s flaw, so that he became god as he had desired. (Ephrem the Syrian – Hymms, trans. Kathleen E. McVey, p. 455.)

Ambrose - On The Christian Faith 5.14 As, then, He was made sin and a curse not on His own account but on ours, so He became subject in us not for His own sake but for ours, being not in subjection in His eternal Nature, nor accursed in His eternal Nature. “For cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Cursed He was, for He bore our curses; in subjection, also, for He took upon Him our subjection, but in the assumption of the form of a servant, not in the glory of God; so that whilst he makes Himself a partaker of our weakness in the flesh, He makes us partakers of the divine Nature in His power. But neither in one nor the other have we any natural fellowship with the heavenly Generation of Christ, nor is there any subjection of the Godhead in Christ. But as the Apostle has said that on Him through that flesh which is the pledge of our salvation, we sit in heavenly places, though certainly not sitting ourselves, so also He is said to be subject in us through the assumption of our nature. (NPNF, second series, 2.10.306.)

Augustine - Letters 140.4 This is called adoption. For we were something before we were the sons of God, and we received the benefit of becoming what we were not, just as the one who adopted, before adoption, was not yet the son of the one who adopts him; still, he was one who could be adopted. From this begetting by grace we distinguish that son who, although He was the Son of God, came that He might become what He was not; nevertheless, He was something else, and this something was the Word of God, by whom all things were made, and the true light which enlightens every man, and God with God. Still, we were something, and this same something was much lower, that is sons of men. He therefore descended that we might ascend, and, while remaining in His own nature, became a sharer in our nature, so that we, while remaining in our own nature, might become sharers in His nature; but not in the same way, for He did not become worse by sharing in our nature, but we become better by sharing in His, (Fathers of the Church, volume 11, pp. 64, 65.)

Augustine - Letters 140.4 Make the exchange; become spirit and dwell in him who became flesh and dwelt among you. No longer need we despair of becoming children of God by participation in the Word, because by participation in the flesh the divine Son became a human son. (Duffy, The Dynamics of Grace, p. 79 – see Fathers of the Church, volume 11, p. 66, for alternate translation.)

Augustine - The City of God 21.16 Accordingly vices are then only to be considered overcome when they are conquered by the love of God, which God Himself alone gives, and which He gives only through the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who became a partaker of our mortality that He might make us partakers of His divinity. (NPNF, first series, 2.465)

Augustine – On Forgiveness of Sins, and Baptism 2.38 He goes on to add, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us;” as much as to say, A great thing indeed has been done among them, even that they are born again to God of God, who had before been born of the flesh to the world, although created by God Himself; but a far more wonderful thing has been done that, although it accrued to them by nature to be born of the flesh, but by the divine goodness to be born of God, — in order that so great a benefit might be imparted to them, He who was in His own nature born of God, vouchsafed in mercy to be also born of the flesh; — no less being meant by the passage, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Hereby, he says in effect, it has been wrought that we who were born of the flesh as flesh, by being afterwards born of the Spirit, may be spirit and dwell in God; because also God, who was born of God, by being afterwards born of the flesh, became flesh, and dwelt among us. For the Word, which became flesh, was in the beginning, and was God with God. But at the same time His participation in our inferior condition, in order to our participation in His higher state, held a kind of medium in His birth of the flesh; so that we indeed were born in sinful flesh, but He was born in the likeness of sinful flesh, — we not only of flesh and blood, but also of the will of man, and of the flesh, but He was born only of flesh and blood, not of the will of man, nor or the will of the flesh, but of God: we, therefore, to die on account of sin, He, to die on our account without sin. So also, just as His inferior circumstances, into which He descended to us, were not in every particular exactly the same with our inferior circumstances, in which He found us here; so our superior state, into which we ascend to Him, will not be quite the same with His superior state, in which we are there to find Him. For we by His grace are to be made the sons of God, whereas He was evermore by nature the Son of God; we, when we are converted, shall cleave to God, though not as His equals; He never turned from God, and remains ever equal to God; we are partakers of eternal life, He is eternal life. He, therefore, alone having become man, but still continuing to be God, never had any sin, nor did he assume a flesh of sin, though born of a maternal flesh of sin. For what He then took of flesh, He either cleansed in order to take it, or cleansed by taking it. His virgin mother, therefore, whose conception was not according to the law of sinful flesh (in other words, not by the excitement of carnal concupiscence), but who merited by her faith that the holy seed should be framed within her, He formed in order to choose her, and chose in order to be formed from her. How much more needful, then, is it for sinful flesh to be baptized in order to escape the judgment, when the flesh which was untainted by sin was baptized to set an example for imitation? (NPNF, first series, 5.59, 60.)

Augustine – On Nature and Grace 37 But God forbid that we should meet him with such an assertion as he says certain persons advance against him: “That man is placed on an equality with God, if he is described as being without sin;” as if indeed an angel, because he is without sin, is put in such an equality. For my own part, I am of this opinion that the creature will never become equal with God, even when so perfect a holiness shall be accomplished in us, that it shall be quite incapable of receiving any addition. No; all who maintain that our progress is to be so complete that we shall be changed into the substance of God, and that we shall thus become what He is, should look well to it how they build up their opinion; for myself I must confess that I am not persuaded of this. (NPNF, first series, 5.134)

Augustine – On the Gospel of John Tractate 48.9 But now He includes the psalms also under the name of the law, where it is written, “I said, Ye are gods. If He calleth them gods, to whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken: say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world. Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” If the word of God came to men, that they might be called gods, how can the very Word of God, who is with God, be otherwise than God? If by the word of God men become gods, if by fellowship they become gods, can He by whom they have fellowship not be God? If lights which are lit are gods, is the light which enlighteneth not God? If through being warmed in a way by saving fire they are constituted gods, is He who gives them the warmth other than God? Thou approachest the light and art enlightened, and numbered among the sons of God; if thou withdrawest from the light, thou fallest into obscurity, and art accounted in darkness; but that light approacheth not, because it never recedeth from itself. If, then, the word of God maketh you gods, how can the Word of God be otherwise than God? (NPNF, first series, 7.259)

Augustine - On the Psalms 50.2 It is evident then, that He hath called men gods, that are deified of His Grace, not born of His Substance. For He doth justify, who is just through His own self, and not of another; and He doth deify who is God through Himself, not by the partaking of another. But He that justifieth doth Himself deify, in that by justifying He doth make sons of God. "For He that given them power to become sons of God". If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods: but this is the effect of Grace adopting, not of nature generating. For only the Son of God, God, and one God with the Father, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was in the beginning the Word, and the Word with God, the Word God. The rest that are made gods, are made by His own Grace, are not born of His Substance, that they should be the same a He, but that by favour they should come to Him, and be fellow-heirs with Christ. ..."But we know," he saith,"that when He shall have appeared, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." The Only Son is like him by birth, we like by seeing. (NPNF, first series, 8.178.)

Augustine - On the Psalms 53.5 For this thing God doth, out of sons of men He maketh sons of God: because out of Son of God He hath made Son of Man. See what this participation is: there hath been promised to us a participation of Divinity: He lieth that hath promised, if He is not first made partaker of mortality. For the Son of God hath been made partaker of mortality, in order that mortal man may be made partaker of divinity. He that hath promised that His good is to be shared with thee, first with thee hath shared thy evil: He that to thee hath promised divinity, showeth in thee love. N(PNF, first series, 8.204.)

Augustine - On The Psalms 119.79 Indeed, it is He who above also hath interposed His own words, saying, “I am a partaker with all them that fear Thee.” Because He was made sharer in our mortal state, that we might also become par-takers in His Divine Nature, we became sharers in One unto life, He a sharer in many unto death. (NPNF, first series, 8.573.)

Augustine - On the Psalms 139.1 For the Psalms were sung long before the Lord was born of Mary, yet not before He was Lord: for from everlasting He was the Creator of all things, but in time He was born of His creature. Let us believe that Godhead, and, so far as we can, understand Him to be equal to the Father. But that Godhead equal to the Father. was made partaker of our mortal nature, not of His own store, but of ours; that we too might be made partakers of His Divine Nature, not of our store, but of His. (NPNF, first series, 8.635.)

Augustine - Sermon 81 But in order to lift them out of these iniquities, to redeem, to cure, to heal, to change the sons of men, he gave them the power and right to become sons of God. So what’s so surprising about this text? You were men, if you were sons of men; you were all liars, because every man is a liar. The grace of God came to you, it gave you the power and right to become sons of God. Listen to the voice of my Father saying, I said you are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High (Ps. 82:6). Because you are sons of men, you are liars, if you are not sons of the Most High, because every man is a liar. If you are sons of God, if redeemed by the grace of the Savior, if bought by his precious blood, if born again by water and the Spirit, if predestined to the heavenly inheritance, then of you are sons of God. Son you are already gods. (The Works of Saint Augustine - Part III - Sermons, vol. 3, p. 363.)

Augustine - Sermon 166 God you see, wants to make you a god; not by nature of course, like the one whom he begot; but by his gift and by adoption. For just as he through being humbled came to share your mortality; so through lifting you up he brings you to share his immortality...and thus the whole man being deified and made divine may cleave forever to everlasting and unchangeable truth. (The Works of Saint Augustine - Part III - Sermons, vol. 5, pp. 210, 211.)

Augustine - Sermon 229G But what sort of gods can men be? What sort of gods? Equal to the angels of God. We’ve been promised that, don’t let’s look for anything more; because we won’t be equal to God, ever. (The Works of Saint Augustine - Part III - Sermons, vol. 6, p. 290.)

Augustine - Sermon 23B We carry mortality about with us, we endure infirmity, we look forward to divinity. For God wishes not only to vivify us, but also to deify us. When would human infirmity ever have dared to hope for this, unless divine truth had promised it? But divine truth did promise this, as we have said; and that we are going to be gods, not only did it promise this—and because it made the promise, it is of course true, because such a faithful maker of promises does not deceive, and such and omnipotent giver is not prevented from fulfilling what he has promised. Still, it was not enough for our God to promise us divinity in himself, unless he also took on our infirmity, as though to say, “Do you want to know how much I love you, how certain you ought to be that I am going to give you my divine reality? I took to myself your mortal reality.” We mustn’t find it incredible, brothers and sisters, that human beings become gods, that is, that those who were human beings become gods. More incredible still is what has already been bestowed on us, that on who was God should become a human being. And indeed we believe that that has already happened, while we wait for the other thing to happen in the future. The Son of God became a son of man, in order to make sons of men into sons of God…Our God, the true God, the one God, has stood up in the synagogue of gods, many of them of course, and gods not by nature but by adoption, by grace. There is a great difference between God who exists, god who is always God, true God, not only God but also deifying God; that is if I may so put it, god-making God, God not made making gods, and gods who were made, but not by a craftsman…You worship the God who makes you into gods; while they worship gods they make, and by making and worshiping them they lose the chance of becoming gods themselves. (The Works of Saint Augustine - Part III - Sermons, vol. 11, p. 37, 38)

Jerome - Homily 14 ...That we are gods, not so by nature, but by grace. "But as many as received him he gave power of becoming sons of God." I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods. "I said: You are gods, all of you sons of the most High."(The Fathers of the Church, 48.106)

Hilary of Arles (Archbishop of Arles b. 403 d. 449) - Introductory Commentary on 2 Peter Just as God stepped out of his nature to become a partaker of our humanity, so we are called to step out of our nature to become partakers of his divinity. (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture - New Testament XI, p. 133.)

John Chrysostom - Homilies on the Acts #32 ...the man can become God, and a child of God. For we read, “I have said, Ye are gods, all of you are the children of the Most High.” (Ps. lxxxii. 6) And what is greater, the power to become both God and angel and child of God is put into his own hands. (NPNF, first series, 11.205)

John Chrysostom - Homily 2 “Eutropius, and the Vanity of Riches” What kind of names hath He received from me, and what kind hath He given to me? He Himself is God, and He hath called me God; with Him is the essential nature as an actual fact, with me only the honor of the name: “I have said ye are gods, and ye are all children of the most highest.” Here are words, but in the other case there is the actual reality. He hath called me God, for by that name I have received honor. (NPNF, first series, 9.257)

John Chrysostom - Homilies on John #3 What then do they say when we assert what we have asserted? “That the words, “in the beginning was the Word,’ do not denote eternity absolutely, for that this same expression was used also concerning heaven and earth.” What enormous shamelessness and irreverence! I speak to thee concerning God, and dost thou bring the earth into the argument, and men who are of the earth? At this rate, since Christ is called Son of God, and God, Man who is called Son of God must be God also. For, “I have said, Ye are Gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.” (Psalm 82:6) Wilt thou contend with the Only-Begotten concerning Sonship, and assert that in that respect He enjoys nothing more than thou? “By no means,” is the reply. And yet thou doest this even though thou say not so in words. “How?” Because thou sayest that thou by grace art partaker of the adoption, and He in like manner. For by saying that He is not Son by nature, thou only makest him to be so by grace. (NPNF, first series, 14.11)

Mark the Ascetic - Letter to Nicolas The Logos become man, so that man might become Logos. Being rich he became poor for our sakes, so that through his poverty we might become rich. (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9) In His great love for man He became like us, that through every virtue we might become like Him. (The Philokalia 1.155)

Aphrahat - Select Demonstrations For the venerated name of Godhead has been applied also to righteous men, and they have been worthy to be called by it. (NPNF, second series, 13.387)

Aphrahat - Select Demonstrations The great and honorable name of Godhead He withheld not from His righteous ones. (NPNF, second series, 13.388)


Grace and peace,



Unknown said...

Thank you for this. And of course the doctrine of theosis continues in the Holy Orthodox Church, down through the ages. :)

David Waltz said...

Hi Jason,

It is nice to know that you appreciated the post. And yes, theosis continues to be a very important doctrine in the EOC. What few (at least from my experience) seem to realize is that deification also has been a continued teaching in the Catholic Church too. Next week, the Lord willing, I will provide a list of Catholic Fathers and theologians who continued to teach the doctrine after the Patristic period.

Grace and peace,


Anonymous said...


Thanks for the post. I'm hoping that you have some words about the differences and similarities between theosis as understood by ancient Christians and how it is understood by modern LDS. I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable when LDS apologists (such as myself) invoke ECF beliefs about theosis.



Ken said...

But what does all that mean?

You certainly amassed a lot of passages from the early church fathers; but what does it mean?

"to be made like God" is sanctification and sharing in God's holiness, and being more and more holy and loving and good in character, but it cannot mean we are partaking of the characteristics of God that make Him the Almighty creator and we the creatures.

To be "partakers in the divine nature" ( 2 Peter 1:4) and "to share in His holiness" ( Hebrews 12:10) and "to be conformed of His Son" (Romans 8:29) has to be explained and defined in such as way as not to loose the creator vs. creature distinction. The wording of the fathers is sometimes very shocking and jarring, "to be made God"; yet the Scriptures are clearer - to be sanctified or to be more like God - in goodness, character, holiness, purity, patience, love, etc. - this seems to explain it better.

Ken said...

"to be conformed to the image of His Son" (Romans 8:29)

I left out a few words.

Ken said...

Ephesians 4:24 – “and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

Colossians 3:10 – “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the one who created him.”

2 Corinthians chapter 3:16-18 (verse 18 – “we are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit”) and chapter 4 (especially verses 6-11 and 16-18 – “our inner man is being renewed day by day”) also teach that believers in Christ are being changed and transformed into new people. We were changed and are new creatures in Christ ( 2 Cor. 5:17) when we are converted on the inside by the Spirit of God, when we repent and believe in Christ; and then, we are being changed more and more to be like Him as we grow spiritually and mediate in His word and on His nature (Psalm 145:5) and walk with Him and seek Him with a pure heart and crucifying selfishness; we become conformed to the image of His Son; as we accept trials and tribulations for our character. Psalm 119:71; James 1:2-4; I Peter 1:6-7; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; Romans 8:18-39.

The Scriptures are clearer than the early church fathers / tradition in this issue.

What went wrong?

The Blogger Formerly Known As Lvka said...

Apropos Church Fathers... :-)

David Waltz said...

Hi James,

Nice to see you here at AF. You posted the following:

>>I'm hoping that you have some words about the differences and similarities between theosis as understood by ancient Christians and how it is understood by modern LDS. I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable when LDS apologists (such as myself) invoke ECF beliefs about theosis.>>

Me: I will be devoting the next few weeks (the Lord willing) to threads on deification, and hope to outline the various views that developed after the NT apostolic period. There is no question in my mind that some significant changes/developments occurred after the Church at large accepted the Nicene (325) and Constantinopolitan (381) creeds. Prior to this, it seems to me that the Church Fathers were hesitant to put limitations on the extent of deification. However, in the late 4th century, clear limitations begin to appear in the thoughts/writings of the CFs when discussing deification.

As for the pre-Nicene Fathers and Mormon thought, the primary difference has not so much to do with the language/theology of deification itself, but rather, with differing views about the nature God the Father. In other words, both the early CFs and Mormons believe that the redeemed saints can become God/Gods (by grace); however, it is who/what God IS wherein the major difference lies (IMO). I am, of course, being overly simplistic here, and hope to go into much more detail later.

Grace and peace,


David Waltz said...

Hello Ken,

It is great to see that you are taking some interest in this thread; in your opening post you asked the following:

>>But what does all that mean?

You certainly amassed a lot of passages from the early church fathers; but what does it mean?>>

Me: That is an excellent question, and next to impossible to answer without going into great detail (which I hope to do over the next few weeks, the Lord willing).

>>The Scriptures are clearer than the early church fathers / tradition in this issue.>>

In addition to exploring the different trajectories that the doctrine of deification has taken among the various traditions, I want to delve into what the Bible itself has to say, and see if it sheds some light on which trajectory/development is the better ‘fit’. I have done a considerable amount of exegetical work on the ‘deification’ passages in Bible for one of the chapters of a book I have been working on for a number years now, and will be sharing it here at AF in the near future.

I am, as always, looking forward to your thoughts and reflections as I move forward on this theme.

Grace and peace,


Ken said...

Don't you think the Bible verses on sanctification that I gave above are clearer than all the ECF's writings on "deification"??

This is one of the areas that they seemed to stray from the Scriptures.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You asked the following:

>>Don't you think the Bible verses on sanctification that I gave above are clearer than all the ECF's writings on "deification"??>>

Me: Deification entails much more than just sanctification. I was going to continue my series on deification with outlines of the various forms that are held among many of the Christian sects (both historically and now). However, I am now rethinking this, and will probably begin posts (tomorrow, the Lord willing) on what the Bible has to say on the subject.

Grace and peace,


Anonymous said...


Something I have wondered about and now pose to you:

Is it possible that the word "god" had a much different conception than it does today?

Could a "god" have been imagined differently, smaller, less massive than how we imagine God today?

Does it make sense what I'm asking?

David Waltz said...

Hello SkepticHeretic,

You posted the following:

>>Something I have wondered about and now pose to you:

Is it possible that the word "god" had a much different conception than it does today?

Could a "god" have been imagined differently, smaller, less massive than how we imagine God today?

Does it make sense what I'm asking?>>

Me: Yes, your queries make a lot of sense. In THIS PREVIOUS THREAD, I gave some examples from the OT where the term God (Heb. elohim) is clearly (IMHO) used in a diminished sense/s. Have you had a chance to read this thread yet?

If you have any further questions, please 'fire away'...

Grace and peace,


Ken said...

David wrote:
Me: Deification entails much more than just sanctification.

That proves my point - the verses in the holy, infallible Scriptures, the only infallible source of faith and practice, and the final arbiter in questions speaks of sanctification, being made more holy into the image and character of Jesus, not of any "deification".

"being conformed to the image of His Son" Romans 8:29

". . . in order that by them (the magnificent promises) you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by lust" - 2 Peter 1:4 - points to moral character(notice the context of all the moral qualities and excellencies that we are to be diligent about in verses 5-10, not to become "god" or "God".

". . . He disciplines us for our good that you may share in His holiness" Hebrews 12:10

It seems the ECFs went beyond the Scriptures on being sanctified and holy to this thing of "deification/becoming god".

It seems clear that the Scriptures provide us with the limits of how to interpret these passages. The context of all these passages are trials and moral qualities - the communicable attributes of God; not the incommunicable attributes of God.

Anonymous said...


you wrote: Yes, your queries make a lot of sense. In THIS PREVIOUS THREAD, I gave some examples from the OT where the term God (Heb. elohim) is clearly (IMHO) used in a diminished sense/s. Have you had a chance to read this thread yet?

Nope, I haven't read that thread yet. Thanks for pointing it out! (I only recently added your blog to my feed reader so I'm behind!) :)

God Bless

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

You posted:

>>That proves my point - the verses in the holy, infallible Scriptures, the only infallible source of faith and practice, and the final arbiter in questions speaks of sanctification, being made more holy into the image and character of Jesus, not of any "deification".>>

Me: But Scripture clearly DOES speak about "deification". Part 1 of my "Deification in the Bible" touches on the FACT that the primary source for the Church Fathers doctrine of deification is the Bible. In Part 2 (hope to put it up later this week), I will supply numerous Biblical texts that teach deification; but, for now, I would like to suggest that you read 2 Cor. 8:9 and 2 Peter 1:4.

Grace and peace,


Ken said...

2 Peter 1:4 is one of the texts I used above, did you even read what I wrote about it? (context of moral characteristics of holiness - verses 5-10 and idea of moral holiness, "having escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by lust." ??

Deification part 1 - is well written and focused - mostly hinging on John 5:26 and the Father's relationship to the Son.

Problem is, "given" is metaphorical, and has no time element, like the grace given to us in adopting us as sons, we are still creations, creatures, and we never gain "eternity into the past" quality, or All-mighty, all knowing, all wise, all present, aseity, immutability. We are sons by adoption and grace; the Son of God is Son by nature from all eternity and the Creator; so the creator-creature distinction must be maintained.

It was a good introduction, but it only shows that the Father and the Son are God; it does Not seem to me to show that same "becoming Deity" for humans that you and the ECF seem to be trying to communicate, despite the Genesis 5:3 connection.

Genesis 5:3 was your other main Scriptural text. Seth was begotten of Adam and was in the likeness and image of Adam. This is physical and biological and genetic yes. But in God, there is no physical sense or biological or genetic sense. Adam had a wife called Eve and Seth had a mother, Eve. (biological reproduction, sex) This is why the words "Father and Son" stir up emotions of disgust in Muslims who hear us talking this way. The Qur'an says, "How can Allah have a son, when there is no wife for Him?" 6:101

In short, it seems to me that God chose to communicate to us about Himself, in order to describe the relation of the Father and Son in the Godhead (Trinity); He uses human terms like "father" and "Son" to communicate to our limited understanding how we can conceive of two eternal persons (three with the Spirit) who are the same nature (hence the "image", "likeness" language and "Son" language.) It is the only thing we have in our languages that can adequately communicate the concept. The Spirit and eternity into the past help us fill out the remaining ideas to help us at least grasp a little of what the Trinity means.

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding; you wrote:

>>2 Peter 1:4 is one of the texts I used above, did you even read what I wrote about it? (context of moral characteristics of holiness - verses 5-10 and idea of moral holiness, "having escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by lust." ??>>

Me: Yes I did, but IMO, 2 Peter 1:4 needs to be read in a much broader context. Note the following:

==Though partially veiled in translation, the writer’s Hellenized vocabulary and thought-forms are well illustrated in this passage. They are all the more interesting since they are employed to expound a futurist eschatology and have archaic-sounding ‘promises’ embedded in them. An obvious example is the repeated divine (theios), an adjective which in the NT appears only here and in Acts xvii. 29…but was popular in classical and Hellenistic Greek and in Jewish writings influenced by Hellenism (e.g. 4 Macc.—26 times; Philo; Josephus). In particular, divine power (theia dunamis) and divine nature (theia phusis) deserve attention: both had been Greek philosophico-religious clichés as early as Plato and Aristotle, were in popular use in the early empire…and were current coin in Hellenized Jewish circles in the 1ST cent. A.D….Most striking of all is sharers of the divine nature, associated as it is with escaping from the corrupt world. The affinity of these notion with Greek mystical philosophy, with its dualist presuppositions, cannot be disguised…In Plato assimilation to God had been the goal, but here it is actual participation in His nature…In the 1ST and 2ND cents., however, union with the divine was a widely entertained aspiration, being held out as a prize in the mystery cults and in the religion both of ordinary people and the intelligentsia…Alexandrian Judaism seem to have been deeply affected by this mystical trend, and so far as language is concerned expressions analogous to ‘sharing the divine nature’ are abundant in Philo and Josephus (e.g. Dec. 104; C. Ap. I. 232). We should note, however, that as good Jews they were careful to emphasize (e.g. Philo, Leg. Alleg. I. 38) that union with God’s being was not a natural possession of man but the effect of God’s drawing him to Himself…What is interesting about the present passage is the substitution of a metaphysical terminology for earlier language of sonship and fellowship, and the postponement of the realization of the promised grace to the consummation; it is also the individual, rather than the Christian as a body, that the grace is promised…His tentative ideas, however, were destined to provide a firm scriptural foundation for the vast theology of redemption by the divinization of human nature which, beginning with Clement of Alexandria, was to dominate the patristic centuries and remains immensely influential in large sections of the Church down to the present day. [J.N.D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Epistles of Peter and Jude (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1981 reprint) pp. 302-304.]==

As for the rest of your post, I will share my reflections in the other thread ("Deification in the Bible") where you duplicated the content.

Grace and peace,


Ken said...

why go to broader context before the immediate context?

a simple hermeneutic rule is that when the immediate context informs us of the meaning, there is no need to jump to some broad context; in this case of how "partakers in the divine nature" is used in Greek philosophy. The immediate context communicates moral goodness and growth in holiness, and knowing God better and better. They are God's communicable attributes; growth in virtue, knowledge, goodness, faith, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.

"having escaped the corruption of the world caused by lust"

Christ redeemed from the world system; this present evil age. Galatians 1:4

3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

I Peter 1:14 (same author; communicating the same idea; escaping and being separate from the former lusts of ours before we were Christians.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,

2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

The promises here, that God would indwell us through the Holy Spirit and have fellowship with us (2 Cor. 6:14ff) relate to the precious promises of I Peter 1:3-4

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Thanks for responding; you posted:

>>why go to broader context before the immediate context?>>

Me: The "immediate context" is quite simple: θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, literally = sharers, participants, partners in the Divine Nature. That is the "immediate context", and it is grammatically quite clear. What follows is merely PART of the results of that sharing, participation. (BTW, Calvin agrees with me here.)

>>a simple hermeneutic rule is that when the immediate context informs us of the meaning, there is no need to jump to some broad context; in this case of how "partakers in the divine nature" is used in Greek philosophy. The immediate context communicates moral goodness and growth in holiness, and knowing God better and better. They are God's communicable attributes; growth in virtue, knowledge, goodness, faith, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.>>

Me: IHMO, you have moved from the"immediate context" into the philosophical realm by separating the attributes of God (Who is simple, and ONE) into "communicable" and incommunicable attributes.

>> The promises here, that God would indwell us through the Holy Spirit and have fellowship with us (2 Cor. 6:14ff) relate to the precious promises of I Peter 1:3-4.>>

Me: 2 Peter 1:4 moves beyond the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to actually sharing in the Divine Nature itself'; what Calvin terms, a "mystical union".

Grace and peace,

David said...

The quote from Justin - 1st Ap. 22 is actually from 1st Ap. 21, I have just noticed. See here:

You might like to correct that.

David Waltz said...

You are correct, thanks much for the heads-up. It has been corrected.

Grace and peace,


Clinton LeFort said...

Hello David,

On recently reading Fr. Nehrey's commentary on 2 Peter for Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries I also was struck with a deep and reverent fear of the passage of 2 Pt. 1:4, where he encourages the early Christians to do all that they can to cooperate with the grace bestowed upon them thru the divine power. I searched diligently on the internet for passages in the Church Fathers for the development of this passage, but unfortunately, most of the sources I found were "for a fee," but today after searching more I ran across your excellent blog. Thank you for the passages from the Fathers of the Church on Deification. Also, I found that the Eastern Orthodox, Palamas, and others, use a different term for the same process-Hesychasm, etc. I come from a monastic background of training in the Carmelite School and always feel on solid ground when reading St. John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux; unfortunately, they do not use these terms, but use "Union with God," quite often. Lastly, Fr. Nehrey has a very nice article on his website comparing Ps. 82 with Jn. 10, and I found this helpful in finding some proofs that Jesus was very clear about the only way his "sheep" hear his voice, is because they are truly his own, and not to be snatched form him; that is, adopted as children of God.

Thank you for this,

Clinton R. LeFort

David Waltz said...

Hi Clinton,

Thanks much for taking the time to comment. When you have the time, could you provide Fr. Nehrey's website address—I would like to read what he has written.

If you have not already read the following post, I recommend that you do so:

Catholics on deification

Grace and peace,


Clinton LeFort said...


Thank you for responding so soon. I will attach Fr. Neyrey's website, at Notre Dame, where his articles are located.The article which has a bearing on my post is located under the Gospel of St. John: "'I Said: You are Gods': Psalm 82 and John 10." Journal of Biblical Literature 108 (1989):647-63.

I hope this helps and thanks again.

Clinton R. LeFort

Have a Happy Holiday

Clinton LeFort said...


Here is the website address I promised in my last post; otherwise, the information is the same with this one addition:

Thank you for responding so soon. I will attach Fr. Neyrey's website, at Notre Dame, where his articles are located. The article which has a bearing on my post is located under the Gospel of St. John: "'I Said: You are Gods': Psalm 82 and John 10." Journal of Biblical Literature 108 (1989):647-63.

Clinton LeFort

David Waltz said...

Hello again Clinton,

Thanks much for the links. My day is pretty full, so it will probably be tomorrow before I can get to them, Lord willing.

Grace and peace,