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VIII

MULTI-DIMENSIONS IN REALMS OF EXISTENCE

A NEW APPROACH TO CREATOR AND CREATION

 

ESSENCE-ENERGY EXPLANATION OF THEOSIS IN EASTERN CHURCHES EXPLAINED

THEOSIS* - DEIFICATION AS THE PURPOSE OF MAN'S LIFE
By Archimandrite George
Abbott of the Holy Monastery of St. Gregorios on Mount Athos
 

DEIFICATION IS POSSIBLE THROUGH THE UNCREATED ENERGIES OF GOD

In the Orthodox Church of Christ man can achieve deification because, according to the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Fathers of the Church, the Grace of God is uncreated. God is not only essence, as the West thinks; He is also energy. If God was only essence, we could not unite with Him, could not commune with Him, because the essence of God is awesome and unapproachable for man, in accordance with: ‘Never will man see My face and live’ (Exod. 33:20).

……If we were able to unite with the essence of God, we too would become gods in essence. In other words everything would become a god, …..Pantheism.

Again, if God had only the divine essence – of which we cannot partake – and did not have His energies, He would remain a self-sufficient god, closed within himself and unable to commune with his creatures.

>> Even within the Trinity itself unless we assume that they form one organism the interpersonal communication and relations as serving, glorifying and communicating will not be possible without the energia assumption.<<<<

God, according to the Orthodox theological view, is One in a Trinity and a Trinity in One. As St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and other holy Fathers repeatedly say, God is filled with a divine love, a divine eros for His creatures. Because of this infinite and ecstatic love of His, He comes out of Himself and seeks to unite with them. This is expressed and realised by means of His energy or, better, His energies.

With these, His uncreated energies, God created the world and continues to preserve it. He gives essence and substance to our world through His essence-creating energies. He is present in nature and preserves the universe with His preserving energies; He illuminates man with His illuminating energies; He sanctifies him with His sanctifying energies. Finally, He deifies him with His deifying energies. Thus, through his uncreated energies, holy God enters nature, the world, history, and men's lives.
 

The energies of God are divine energies. They too are God, but without being His essence. They are God, and therefore they can deify man. If the energies of God were not divine and uncreated, they would not be God and so they would not be able to deify us, to unite us with God. There would be an unbridgeable distance between God and men. But by virtue of God having divine energies, and by uniting with us by these energies, we are able to commune with Him and to unite with His Grace without becoming identical with God, as would happen if we are united with His essence.

So, we unite with God through His uncreated energies, and not through His essence. This is the mystery of our Orthodox faith and life.

Subsequently, in three great Synods at Constantinople, the whole Church justified St. Gregory Palamas, declaring that life in Christ is not simply the moral edification of man, but deification (gr.
theosis), and that this means participation in God’s glory, a vision of God, of His Grace and His uncreated light.

A Christian is not a Christian simply because he is able to talk about God. He is a Christian because he is able to have experience of God. And just as, when you really love someone and converse with him, you feel his presence, and you enjoy his presence, so it happens in man's communion with God: there exists not a simply external relationship, but a mystical union of God and man in the Holy Spirit.

 

DIMENSIONAL EXPLANATION OF THEOSIS
A NEW APPROACH

The above explanation in terms of essence and energy could be better explained in terms of dimensional existence of God and Man and Nature.  I will present my interpretation along parallel lines.

Man after the fall existed within the realms and dimensions of created world which we should remember that is within God himself.  Only God has hid himself by self denial and present only as an immanent being so that the children have the freedom in all dimensions of creation by the decided will of God.  

Acts 17:27-28 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

In the Orthodox Church of Christ man can achieve deification because, according to the teachings of the Holy Bible  Adam (and hence mankind) by creation existed not only in the created realms and dimensions, but also in some of the infinite dimensions of the divine realm.  

When Adam and Eve were thrown out of the Eden (Paradise) God was taking him out of these divine dimensions so that they may not live eternally (lest they eat of the tree of life and live fore ever) like God and in their selfish egoism will live in eternal suffering and pain. Remember Adam walked with God and communicated with him as a son.  It is this Divine realm of existence of God that is identified as the essence of God.  But God also exists in the created realms and in all its dimension also immanently.  We are still moving in Him. If we can share the infine dimensions within the Divine we will then be part of the Trinity forming many Gods - That will be Polytheism

Again, if God had only the divine essence  living in only his Divine realms and dimensions– of which we cannot partake – He would remain a self-sufficient god, closed within himself and unable to commune with his creatures. Man and God will be totally the other without any contact or communication with each othe.

Even within the Trinity itself unless we assume that they form one organism all three existing in the divine realm sharing the divine dimensions, the interpersonal communication and relations as serving, glorifying and communicating will not be possible that would leave us with three independent gods - again Polytheism.

God, according to the Orthodox theological view, is One in a Trinity and a Trinity in One. As St. Maximus the Confessor, St. Dionysius the Areopagite, and other holy Fathers repeatedly say, God is filled with a divine love, a divine eros - agape - for His creatures. Because of this infinite and ecstatic love of His, He comes out of Himself and seeks to unite with them.  But this union is only possible if both the creator and the creation share at least some of their dimensions.
With these, His uncreated energies, God created the world and continues to preserve it. He gives essence and substance to our world through His essence-creating energies. He is present in nature and preserves the universe with His preserving energies; He illuminates man with His illuminating energies; He sanctifies him with His sanctifying energies. Finally, He deifies him by bringing his bride home and sharing some of his dimensions so that they form one body.. Thus, through his uncreated energies, holy God enters nature, the world, history, and men's lives.
In a sense this is an immanent presence transform them into his likeness and takes his bride home as his wife and they become one flesh.

If they are to be one flesh, they have share the flesh - a mingling of dimensions.  Christ takes part in the material dimensions and the Church takes part in the divine dimensions still remaining two indpendent persons..  

Genesis 2:22-24  The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

 

1 Corinthians 6:16  Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, "THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH."

 

Ephesians 5:28-29 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,

The husband and wife in spite of their differences share their bodies - Christ shares his divine dimensions and the Church shares her material dimensions. The paradise will be regained for the Adamic race and they will partake of the divinity - remember Jesus shares part of his dimensions with his wife.  This is deification or theosis.  
So, we unite with God through His uncreated energies, and not through His total dimensions. This is the mystery of our Orthodox faith and life.

Theosis process is thus simply the preparation of the bride for the wedding.  The traditional stages in the process of Theosis are essentially the preparation of the great responsibility in sharing the divinity of Jesus in the whole process of redemption.

The theosis of Adamic race is not the end in itself, because it is the beginning of redeeming the total creation - bringing back the whole body of God to resonance with the will of God.

Romans 8:19-22 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.

 The reason Adam’s sin affected nature is that God gave humanity dominion over nature (Genesis 1:26-28).  Adam was given the part of the patakers in the creative process as he shared the divine dimension below that of the Father and Christ and the Spirit.  Since Adam was accountable to God to rule the earth and to tend the garden as a vice-regent under God, his sin affected the natural world for which he was responsible.

 Thus, nature became frustrated in its  purposes and can no longer be all it was created to be.  Decay and death entered the created world whereby everything goes from order to disorder.  This is the curse on the ground which will be redeemed only when Adam take over his divine function over the creation.  Hence the whole creation is groaning and waiting for the appearance of the sons of God.

  

Cosmology

I have already presented the Hebrew Cosmology with four dimensions in the cosmos..   However 
practically all cultures have developed similar concepts.   One such interesting cosmology is the Jain Cosmology.  Jainism is an old Indian Science system which developed into a religion.  Jainism is an Atheistic religion.

The Universe in Jainism is defined as a conglomeration of six substances (DRAVYA).  It has a shape which resembles a man standing erect with the legs parted and the arms bent at the elbows and hands tucked at waist. This is very similar to the Hebrew concept of Cosmic Man.  It consists of the following different worlds:

1.  Nether world (ADHOLOK) The abode of the animal nature

2.  Middle world (MADHYALOK)  The abode of the Humans

3.  Upper world (Urdhava Lok or Dev Loka)  The abode of demi- gods

4.  The Supreme Abode (Sidha Slla) The abode of the liberated souls

Compare this with the Hebrew conception given below:

This multidimensional existence of man is portrayed in Indian thought as sheaths around the person that are not visible

 

Paul talks about the four dimensions as the body, and three heavens.

(2Co 12:2)  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago,   such an one caught up to the third heaven.

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

Psa 8:5  For thou hast made him but little lower than God, and crownest him with glory and honour.

The genealogy of Christ Jesus in Luke 3:23-38 ends with Jesus and starts with Adam who was the son of God.  Thus every man should have the God gene within him and Man was supposed to be in all the four floors of existence.  However the fall of man changed the arrangement whereby Man was not permitted to enter the divine realm for his own good until redemptive process is complete.

Hence After the fall man was  thrown out of paradise.  For a little while limited within the three Lower realms.

Heb 2:7  You have made him a little lower than the angels. You crowned him with glory and honor  and set him over the works of Your hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

The reinstatement involved the new birth as Jesus pointed out to Nico.

 

The division of man as individuals with their selfishness has split up the hologram of God into tiny, dim images.  The Kingdom of Heaven is reestablished with the union of the whole mankind and the sentient beings and also with the whole cosmos.  Then the fullness of creation will emerge.  This recovery is accomplished through the cross and its constant reminder through sacraments.  This process is termed as Theosis in the Eastern Churches.  Here the individual loses his identity as a separate entity and becomes part of the cosmic intelligence.  In the reformed churches this is known as Sanctification. Thus evidently Sacraments are a means of sanctification as the individuals merge into Church as an organism.

Because of who he is and of what he did for us, we have the opportunity to become by grace what he is by nature. That is, we can put on the divine, becoming partakers of the divine nature.  A life of repentance and participation in the sacraments is the means by which man cooperates with God.  This cooperation is termed synergeia (synergy).

In theosis, man becomes filled with the divine life. He takes on God's attributes, but he does not become merged with the Holy Trinity. There is union without fusion. This is simply because the whole is always greater than the parts. Thus, a classic patristic image of theosis is a sword held in a flame—the sword gradually takes on the properties of the flame (light and heat), but remains a sword. 

“But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit.”  (2Co 3:18)

“till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” (Eph 4:13 )
We are to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (4:15).
Rom 8 procedes to greater extent to say, we are “sons of God” (v. 14) who have received a “Spirit of adoption,” crying (as Jesus did) “Abba, Father” (v. 15). The Spirit bears witness “with our spirit”—union—that we are “children of God” (v. 16). We are children, “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ . . . that we may also be glorified together” (v. 17).

 

 

Man is an image of God 

The Class of Man is different from the Class of God, the former being a subset of the latter with direct communication from the latter to the former. These two classes are connected only through the twelfth dimension.

“We are constituted by the intersection of two flows—one direct, from the divine, and one indirect, from the divine via our environment and history. We can view ourselves as interference patterns, because the inflow is a wave phenomenon, and we are where the waves meet.”

Rev. Dr. George F. Dole,
Professor of theology at the Swedenborg School of Religion in Newton, Massachusetts

In Sacramental Symbols which are in our present language and forms, the brain interprets it in terms of the universal dimensions and codings.  These form part of the future person, behavior and decisions. Sacraments thus form the anchoring force of faith and beliefs. The sacraments are rituals through which the grace of Christ is communicated to persons by the power of the Holy Spirit operative in their administration. It is understood as an experience of grace, subsequent to salvation, with the effect that the Holy Spirit takes full possession of the soul, sanctifies the heart, and empowers the will so that one can love God and others blamelessly in this life.  One is justified and then sanctified-understood as communing with God with the result that the holiness of God is actually imparted, not just imputed on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross.

Even though the human brain seems to be bound to the material realm and it receives its impulses from the material world, the ultimate image formed in the brain is a complex product of the multidimensional existence of the holographic brain.  Formation of the image as seen by a man is due to the interaction of the light rays received with the neural causes and correlates of consciousness and the neural representation of the object itself.

The decoding by our brain is a complex process. The external input interferes with the reference beam to get an output.  The reference beam contains both conscious levels and the unconscious levels.  The complex interaction between external object beam and the internal reference beam produces the final image and consequent expressions.


 
  

Thus the external symbols undergo a transformation within the conscious and sunconscious mind to produce an image which depends on the God gene activity.

The Neurological Linguistic Program model

The Neurological Linguistic Program model thus produces a simpler model as follows:

  

The Values and Belief systems are beyond the material realm.  They delete, distort and generalize the input along with other experience to produce an internal representation.  The ongoing such activity produces the state of the person which determines the final current behavioral response to external inputs.

Here is how the Tangible Sacramental rites and ritual finaly result in the Fruits of the Spirit in real life leading to Sanctification.

 

 

 

 

 

Thus Sacraments are the means of communication whereby grace is conferred onto the individuals under given conditions.

How external sacraments leads to greater understanding of God and causes transformation of conduct and behaviour is represented in another form below.  The Spirit of God within transforms the Christian into the likeness of Jesus.


Transformed into His likeness

 

In the Sacraments God is reaching down in love and Man is reaching up for mercy and grace.

The Sacraments, or Sacred Mysteries are the most important means  by which the faithful may obtain
union with God, provided they are received
with faith and appropriate preparation.
 

God is present everywhere and fills all things by his Divine grace, and that all of creation is a "sacrament."   In that sense there is nothing profane. We set apart some of the ordinary and make it sacred.  It is the purpose and act of man that make the profane sacred.