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Deification/theosis/exaltation


Doctor Steuss

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A while back, Thunderfire mentioned briefly that his thoughts on exaltation didnâ??t jive with LDS views. Hopefully Thunderfire will stumble across this thread to provide the CoC view of deification/theosis/exaltation.

But, until he does, I would like to ask others (mostly non-LDS, as the LDS view is pretty well stated in D&C 84:38 ), what does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you? What does it entail? Do you believe in it at all? Do you believe it will be limited? What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become? What will they gain? What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t? Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven? -- I know, itâ??s a lot of questions; you donâ??t have to answer them all.

Iâ??m pretty sure we are all aware of the scriptures that support this Christian doctrine, as well as the many early Church fathers that taught it in one way or another. So, unless someone needs a treatise on these various scriptures/quotes, Iâ??ll leave them out of this first post for the sake of brevity.

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what does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you? What does it entail?

It means that we will become Gods (with a capital G) fully in the same sense that the Father is God.

Do you believe in it at all?

Yes, it is a key LDS doctrine and I see no point in being LDS at all if one does not believe (or is not trying to believe) this doctrine.

Do you believe it will be limited?

No. There is, however, already in existence, a "senority" (Subordinationism). For example, Christ is fully a God, just as the Father is, but he is subordinate to the Father. We too will be subordinate to the Father, but our creations will be subordinate to us.

What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become?

Gods, with all the attributes of the Father.

What will they gain?

Eternal Life, which is life with the Gods as Gods.

What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t?

The differences are vast depending on how much they activate Grace through their faith, works, and obedience. Some might not activiate Grace at all or be "anti Grace". Such will be in a miserable state.

One thing all will have in common is an immortal resurrected body.

Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven?

Only those who attain the highest degree of the Celestial Kingdom (which requires marriage according to God's word) will be Deified.

-- I know, itâ??s a lot of questions; you donâ??t have to answer them all.

Love to do it.

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I would like to ask others (mostly non-LDS, as the LDS view is pretty well stated in D&C 84:38 ), what does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you? What does it entail?

While LDS commonly refer to (what I think you are referring to) as becoming god, or God, I think of it as receiving all that our Father has, even though we receive it all from our Lord.

The idea of becoming god, or God, sounds a little strange to me.

I think we're already God, as far as "kind" is concerned. We're just not as perfect as him/them.

Do you believe in it at all?

Yes, as I tried to explain it above.

Do you believe it will be limited?

Yes, in a sense.

Those who don't receive all that our Father has will only receive some of it, or no more at all, or what they have already received may be taken from them/us.

What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become?

All that he is... without taking anything away from him or becoming the same "person" as him/them.

What will they gain?

All that he has, or some of it, or no more at all.

I think most of us think of receiving everything, though.

What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t?

One will have something the other doesn't... whatever that difference is between them.

Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven?

Yes, to some degree. Not everyone will receive the same degree, though.

-- I know, itâ??s a lot of questions; you donâ??t have to answer them all.

I like these kinds of posts. I like giving details. I think details add more to our understanding. :P

Iâ??m pretty sure we are all aware of the scriptures that support this Christian doctrine, as well as the many early Church fathers that taught it in one way or another. So, unless someone needs a treatise on these various scriptures/quotes, Iâ??ll leave them out of this first post for the sake of brevity.

Okay. Me too. <_<

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Interesting thread. I would refer you to Orson Pratt's "Celestial Marriage" discourse in the JoD Vol. 1; I read it this morning and I think it yields some interesting comments to this discussion.

Will do (if I find the time... so much reading to do, and so little time).

I'm mostly after the non-LDS Christians' views on this. I think it's pretty undeniable that Theosis is/was a doctrine of Christianity, so I'm wondering what they feel it entails or whether or not they even believe it to be a valid doctrine. I've been thinking about making a thread on this for a while (ever since Thunderfire's [a seventy in the CoC] comment).

Hopefully Rhino, CK, or CKS will happen upon this bad-boy too. Soren should be dropping by to provide a Catholic perspective.

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Will do (if I find the time... so much reading to do, and so little time).

I'm mostly after the non-LDS Christians' views on this. I think it's pretty undeniable that Theosis is/was a doctrine of Christianity, so I'm wondering what they feel it entails or whether or not they even believe it to be a valid doctrine. I've been thinking about making a thread on this for a while (ever since Thunderfire's [a seventy in the CoC] comment).

Hopefully Rhino, CK, or CKS will happen upon this bad-boy too.

Indeed, this is why I didn't really answer the questions. I didn't know TF was a 70, though, that's cool.

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What does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you?

To me, this means, the 'process' or 'pathway' that leads one to 'become' God (or reawaken to one's true nature as God) amongst the already existing company of Gods that exist within higher density/dimensional realms that are beyond, but overlap and intersect with the human, terrestrial density/dimension.

What does it entail?

This process or pathway entails inner and outer gnosis or knowledge of where one is, where one came from, how one got to be in the position one is in, and following the example of Jesus which entails awakening to to one's true nature or Self - the 'Christ' within, 'dieing to the world' in the sense that we are merely passing through this current manifestation and have the ability to choose our manifestations if we 'do right' -- or put another way -- follow the upward path to higher manifested states of being.

Do you believe in it at all?

Yes, I believe this is true.

Do you believe it will be limited?

No, we are not limited at all -- except by our own attachments and lack of Self-knowledge.

What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become?

I do not believe that achieving theosis/exaltation is solely dependent on the Father 'giving' it to anyone (a free gift that one just 'believes in' and then gets a stamp of approval to 'enter'), but is predicated on one's own awakening to the reality both within and without, itself. I believe that our potential is directly related to our being related to the Father who, like all good parents, has provided the model and 'means' through the 'outer salvific story' by which his children can 'return home' through the inner and outer 'self recognition' process, so to speak. We will 'become' whatever we wish to become in the exalted state vis-a-vis that current state and in relation to all lower and higher states. Much like we are now, we will have the ability to 'create' - but on a grander scale - and exist in either a negative or positive relationship to all we will be aware of 'there'.

What will they gain?

A more intensified and exanded state of manifested being.

What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t?

Likely, the same differences that exists between animals and humans -- and humans and the gods, presently.

Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven?

I think that there will differences in ability and manifestation just as there are individual differences now between everyone and everything. The 'gifts' people receive are based on many things -- not least of which is the ability to 'receive' them -- as well as to give from what one has to others...or so I think. :P

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A while back, Thunderfire mentioned briefly that his thoughts on exaltation didnâ??t jive with LDS views. Hopefully Thunderfire will stumble across this thread to provide the CoC view of deification/theosis/exaltation.

But, until he does, I would like to ask others (mostly non-LDS, as the LDS view is pretty well stated in D&C 84:38 ), what does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you? What does it entail? Do you believe in it at all? Do you believe it will be limited? What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become? What will they gain? What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t? Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven? -- I know, itâ??s a lot of questions; you donâ??t have to answer them all.

Iâ??m pretty sure we are all aware of the scriptures that support this Christian doctrine, as well as the many early Church fathers that taught it in one way or another. So, unless someone needs a treatise on these various scriptures/quotes, Iâ??ll leave them out of this first post for the sake of brevity.

I am sssoooooo glad that the word you used "defication" was not what i first thought

when reading your post! Whew!

:P

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Man has not seen nor heard neither has it entered into his heart the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.

To me this is not in the far off, but can be attained now. Through Charity (the pure love of Christ) not the alms givng definition.

All things are given to us now, that are expedient to immortallity and eternal life, all that the Father has is ours, today.

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Doctor Steuss

I would like to ask others (mostly non-LDS, as the LDS view is pretty well stated in D&C 84:38 ), what does deification/theosis/exaltation mean to you?

3DOP

I am non-LDS. Deification/Theosis/Exaltation means that God wants to impart His nature unto redeemed man, the sons of God. Without presumption, I hope that I might be included among the redeemed sons of God.

Doctor Steuss

What does it entail?

3DOP

I don't know and think I cannot know. I am convinced that it is unrevealed. What we may know by faith is only that it has not entered into the mind of man what God has prepared for those who love Him. (I Cor. 2:9)

Doctor Steuss

Do you believe in it at all?

3DOP

Yes.

Doctor Steuss

Do you believe it will be limited?

3DOP

Yes, for now. I cannot reconcile degrees of glory, which I believe is revealed, with unlimited divine nature. If there are degrees of glory, it would seem to be limited, but perhaps the potential is unlimited. I am open to suggestions on how all of the saved could receive all of the unlimited divine nature, yet possess differing degrees of glory/exaltation according to their condition at death and how they used their talents.

Doctor Steuss

What exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become?

3DOP

I cannot say even approximately what. I believe they will become God, but that is about as far from saying "what exactly will someone who receives this most precious gift from the Father become" as one could get.

Doctor Steuss

What will they gain?

3DOP

I don't know.

Doctor Steuss

What will be the difference between someone who receives this, and someone who doesnâ??t?

3DOP

The divine nature will be the difference.

Doctor Steuss

Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven?

3DOP

Yes. But in degrees? (see above)

I will go further, it is something that all those who make it to heaven are given on earth.

Doctor Steuss

-- I know, itâ??s a lot of questions; you donâ??t have to answer them all.

3DOP

Thanks. I don't think a Catholic could answer all the questions except with untrustworthy speculation. Maybe Mormons can because of more revelation. As a Catholic I am convinced that some of the answers are definitely unrevealed and meant to remain so until the end of time.

Doctor Steuss

Iâ??m pretty sure we are all aware of the scriptures that support this Christian doctrine, as well as the many early Church fathers that taught it in one way or another. So, unless someone needs a treatise on these various scriptures/quotes, Iâ??ll leave them out of this first post for the sake of brevity.

3DOP

Yes. Brevity is fine.

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[...]

3DOP

Thanks. I don't think a Catholic could answer all the questions except with untrustworthy speculation. Maybe Mormons can because of more revelation. As a Catholic I am convinced that some of the answers are definitely unrevealed and meant to remain so until the end of time.

[...]

Thank you 3DOP for your imput.

I was wondering if you'd mind expanding on this thought a bit (in bold):

Doctor Steuss

Is it something that will be given to all who are in heaven?

3DOP

Yes. But in degrees? (see above)

I will go further, it is something that all those who make it to heaven are given on earth.

Do you believe it will be a gift received before entering into heaven? I'm not sure I completely comprehend the bolded portion...

Thank you again,

Stu

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Thank you 3DOP for your imput.

I was wondering if you'd mind expanding on this thought a bit (in bold):

Do you believe it will be a gift received before entering into heaven? I'm not sure I completely comprehend the bolded portion...

Thank you again,

Stu

3DOP

Hi Stu.

Thanks for your interest. I am convinced that grace is not sufficently appreciated.

Since it is a ray of the Divine Nature, grace has its measure and end only in the infinity of God. It can increase daily, hourly--always growing richer, greater, nobler. It never passes its appointed limits, for it has no limits. It always remains grace; it is always a participation in the Divine Nature, it always becomes more and more what it is destined to. "What could place a limit on supernatural love," says St. Thomas (Aquinas), "since it has its origin in the infinite and eternal power of God and is itself nothing else but a participation in the infinite sanctity of God?" (Summa Theo. 2-2 q.24, art. 7)...Every degree of grace is in itself infinitely valuable; it is a treasure more precious than all created things in Heaven or on earth.
---The Glories of Divine Grace, Fr. Matthias Scheeben, p. 47

My faith teaches that one must die with "a ray of the Divine Nature", or as it is usually put, "in a state of grace" if they would go to Heaven. For this reason, I think we shouldn't speak of deification exclusively as a post-mortal event. It must begin in this life.

The change wrought by grace comes from God, not from the will or power of the creature; it is a marvel of divine omnipotence; it lifts us out of the limits of nature and so it elevates and transforms us that we are not only made other men, but more than men; we appear as beings of a Divine Nature and kind.

---p.42
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3DOP

Hi Stu.

Thanks for your interest. I am convinced that grace is not sufficently appreciated.

Indeed. I have been guilty for a long time for not recognizing that without the grace of G-d, this wouldn't be possible. I have consiglieri to thank for recently opening my eyes -- and heart and mind. (I might have to add that book by Scheeben to my â??wish list.â? Eloquence is not something he lacksâ?¦)

My faith teaches that one must die with "a ray of the Divine Nature", or as it is usually put, "in a state of grace" if they would go to Heaven. For this reason, I think we shouldn't speak of deification exclusively as a post-mortal event. It must begin in this life.

---p.42

This makes sense. I'm going to have to meditate on it for a while though, as I'm not sure how to view this from an LDS perspective (given the teaching of redemption for the dead).

I hope you donâ??t mind if I ask another question of you. I really enjoy delving into the beliefs of others as it often sparks little ambers within my own beliefs and opens doors that I previous didnâ??t know existedâ?¦

Do you believe that once we die, the process of deification that was begun in this life will be completed immediately, or do you think it will be an ongoing and gradual process?

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I do not have a denominational affiliation -- formal or informal. :P

Do you realize that "association" is a form of "affiliation"?

Are you saying you have never associated with people in religious denominations, in any way?

Unless you've never heard from anyone who has talked about religious issues before, I would say that you've had some sort of affiliation with people who are members of denominations.

And whether or not you have had, you now are having associations with people in various denominations.

<_<

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Paul -

I believe the question he asked was: "valkator,

If you don't mind me asking, what religious denomination/tradition/association do you consider yourself to be part of? (i.e. LDS, CoC, EV, RCC, etc.)"

My response was: "I do not have a denominational affiliation -- formal or informal."

I am not a formal member of a religion -- and do not consider myself to be part of one informally through 'association' or 'affiliation', either. I used the term 'affiliation' to address the question as to what religious denomination/tradition/association I consider myself to be part of.

My response wasn't about 'associating' or 'affiliating' in the way I think you are using the term: having dialogue and personal contact with religious individuals, past and present - having personal contact with religions and their belief systems. In that 'contact sense', yes, I have had - and continue to have - these types of associations/affiliations.

However...

...being a member of this forum and participating in the discussions does not make me an 'informal Mormon' by 'association' or 'affiliation'. :P

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Indeed. I have been guilty for a long time for not recognizing that without the grace of G-d, this wouldn't be possible. I have consiglieri to thank for recently opening my eyes -- and heart and mind.

...I hope you donâ??t mind if I ask another question of you. I really enjoy delving into the beliefs of others as it often sparks little ambers within my own beliefs and opens doors that I previous didnâ??t know existedâ?¦

Book 8 of the Clementine Recognitions mentions this concept, when Peter is talking to some Greek philosphers and they wish to discuss their views with him.

When Peter was about to reply to this, Niceta, anticipating him, said: "Would my lord Peter allow me to answer to this; and let it not be thought forward that I, a young man, should have an encounter with an old man, but rather let me converse as a son with a father."

Then said the old man: "Not only do I wish, my son, that you should set forth your opinions; but also if any one of your associates, if any one even of the bystanders, thinks that he knows anything, let him unhesitatingly state it: we shall gladly hear it; for it is by the contribution of many that the things that are unknown are more easily found out."

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Paul -

I believe the question he asked was: "valkator,

If you don't mind me asking, what religious denomination/tradition/association do you consider yourself to be part of? (i.e. LDS, CoC, EV, RCC, etc.)"

My response was: "I do not have a denominational affiliation -- formal or informal."

I am not a formal member of a religion -- and do not consider myself to be part of one informally through 'association' or 'affiliation', either. I used the term 'affiliation' to address the question as to what religious denomination/tradition/association I consider myself to be part of.

My response wasn't about 'associating' or 'affiliating' in the way I think you are using the term: having dialogue and personal contact with religious individuals, past and present - having personal contact with religions and their belief systems. In that 'contact sense', yes, I have had - and continue to have - these types of associations/affiliations.

However...

...being a member of this forum and participating in the discussions does not make me an 'informal Mormon' by 'association' or 'affiliation'. :P

Hey Valkator,

I think Paul Ray enjoys minutia bateing.

What is "Tripartite Tractate" I've never heard of that.

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Paul -

I believe the question he asked was: "valkator,

If you don't mind me asking, what religious denomination/tradition/association do you consider yourself to be part of? (i.e. LDS, CoC, EV, RCC, etc.)"

My response was: "I do not have a denominational affiliation -- formal or informal."

I am not a formal member of a religion -- and do not consider myself to be part of one informally through 'association' or 'affiliation', either. I used the term 'affiliation' to address the question as to what religious denomination/tradition/association I consider myself to be part of.

My response wasn't about 'associating' or 'affiliating' in the way I think you are using the term: having dialogue and personal contact with religious individuals, past and present - having personal contact with religions and their belief systems. In that 'contact sense', yes, I have had - and continue to have - these types of associations/affiliations.

Okay. I see now. I read your answer without reading his question.

I thought you were saying that you weren't associated with anybody. :P

...being a member of this forum and participating in the discussions does not make me an 'informal Mormon' by 'association' or 'affiliation'. <_<

I agree. But you are affiliated with us. I hope you feel very welcome. :unsure:

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Would early christians count as non-LDS?

Here's a blog that has a number of early christian quotes pertaining to this.

Here are the early chrisitan passages:

_____________________

"And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue"

(Justin Martyr, ca. 160, First Apology 21, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:170)

"all men are deemed worthy of becoming 'gods,' and of having power to become sons of the Highest"

(Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 124, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:262)

"Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God"

(Theophilus, ca. 180, To Autolycusv 2:27, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:105)

"And again: 'God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.' (Psalms 82:1) He (here) refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:6:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:419)

"Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. . . . And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:18:7, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:448)

"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"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:20:5-6, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:489)

"Or how shall man pass into God, unless God has (first) passed into man?"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:33:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:507)

"we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:38:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:522)

"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."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:39:2, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:523)

"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."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5: Preface, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:526)

"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"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5:1:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:527)

Irenaeus taught that "at the resurrection of the just," men will be "passing beyond the angels, and be made after the image and likeness of God"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5:36:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:567)

"Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal. 'I,' says He, 'have said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest.' (Psalms 82:6)"

(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 1:6, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:215)

"It is then, as appears, the greatest of all lessons to know one's self. For if one knows 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; he is beautiful; he does not ornament himself: his is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, 'Men are gods, and gods are men.'"

(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 3:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:271)

"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.' "

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 4:23, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:437)

"Whence at last . . . it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honours are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with purification, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. Then become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Saviour."

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 7:10, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:539)

"The (true) Gnostic is consequently divine, and already holy, God-bearing, and God-borne."

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 7:13, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:547)

"it will be impossible that another god should be admitted, when it is permitted to no other being to possess anything of God. Well, then, you say, we ourselves at that rate possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to doonly 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,' (Psalms 82:6) and, 'God standeth in the congregation of the gods.' (Psalms 82:1) But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods."

(Tertullian, ca. 200, Against Hermogenes 5, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:480)

"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 . . . these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality."

(Hippolytus, ca. 225, Refutation of All Heresies 10:30, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:153)

"I am of opinion that the expression, by which God is said to be 'all in all,' means that He is 'all' in each individual person. Now He will be 'all' in each individual in this way: when all which any rational understanding, cleansed from the dregs of every sort of vice, and with every cloud of wickedness completely swept away, can either feel, or understand, or think, will be wholly God; . . . when God will be the measure and standard of all its movements; and thus God will be 'all,' for there will no longer be any distinction of good and evil, seeing evil nowhere exists;"

(Origen, ca. 225, De Principiis 3:6:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:345)

"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."

(Origen, Commentary on John 2:2, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)

"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 . . . As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ"

(Origen, Commentary on John 2:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)

"What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man also may be what Christ is."

(Cyprian, ca. 250, Treatise VI 11, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:468)

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Would early christians count as non-LDS?

Here's a blog that has a number of early christian quotes pertaining to this.

Here are the early chrisitan passages:

_____________________

"And we have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue"

(Justin Martyr, ca. 160, First Apology 21, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:170)

"all men are deemed worthy of becoming 'gods,' and of having power to become sons of the Highest"

(Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho 124, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:262)

"Neither, then, immortal nor yet mortal did He make him, but, as we have said above, capable of both; so that if he should incline to the things of immortality, keeping the commandment of God, he should receive as reward from Him immortality, and should become God"

(Theophilus, ca. 180, To Autolycusv 2:27, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:105)

"And again: 'God stood in the congregation of the gods, He judges among the gods.' (Psalms 82:1) He (here) refers to the Father and the Son, and those who have received the adoption"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:6:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:419)

"Therefore, as I have already said, He caused man (human nature) to cleave to and to become, one with God. . . . And unless man had been joined to God, he could never have become a partaker of incorruptibility."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 3:18:7, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:448)

"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"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:20:5-6, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:489)

"Or how shall man pass into God, unless God has (first) passed into man?"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:33:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:507)

"we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:38:4, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:522)

"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."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 4:39:2, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:523)

"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."

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5: Preface, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:526)

"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"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5:1:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:527)

Irenaeus taught that "at the resurrection of the just," men will be "passing beyond the angels, and be made after the image and likeness of God"

(Irenaeus, ca. 180, Against Heresies 5:36:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:567)

"Being baptized, we are illuminated; illuminated, we become sons; being made sons, we are made perfect; being made perfect, we are made immortal. 'I,' says He, 'have said that ye are gods, and all sons of the Highest.' (Psalms 82:6)"

(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 1:6, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:215)

"It is then, as appears, the greatest of all lessons to know one's self. For if one knows 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; he is beautiful; he does not ornament himself: his is beauty, the true beauty, for it is God; and that man becomes God, since God so wills. Heraclitus, then, rightly said, 'Men are gods, and gods are men.'"

(Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor 3:1, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:271)

"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.' "

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 4:23, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:437)

"Whence at last . . . it is that knowledge is committed to those fit and selected for it. It leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honours are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with purification, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. Then become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Saviour."

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 7:10, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:539)

"The (true) Gnostic is consequently divine, and already holy, God-bearing, and God-borne."

(Clement of Alexandria, ca. 195, Stromata 7:13, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:547)

"it will be impossible that another god should be admitted, when it is permitted to no other being to possess anything of God. Well, then, you say, we ourselves at that rate possess nothing of God. But indeed we do, and shall continue to doonly 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,' (Psalms 82:6) and, 'God standeth in the congregation of the gods.' (Psalms 82:1) But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods."

(Tertullian, ca. 200, Against Hermogenes 5, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 3:480)

"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 . . . these God has promised to bestow upon thee, because thou hast been deified, and begotten unto immortality."

(Hippolytus, ca. 225, Refutation of All Heresies 10:30, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:153)

"I am of opinion that the expression, by which God is said to be 'all in all,' means that He is 'all' in each individual person. Now He will be 'all' in each individual in this way: when all which any rational understanding, cleansed from the dregs of every sort of vice, and with every cloud of wickedness completely swept away, can either feel, or understand, or think, will be wholly God; . . . when God will be the measure and standard of all its movements; and thus God will be 'all,' for there will no longer be any distinction of good and evil, seeing evil nowhere exists;"

(Origen, ca. 225, De Principiis 3:6:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 4:345)

"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."

(Origen, Commentary on John 2:2, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)

"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 . . . As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ"

(Origen, Commentary on John 2:3, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 9:323)

"What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man also may be what Christ is."

(Cyprian, ca. 250, Treatise VI 11, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 5:468)

Most excellent, thanks for this post.

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Hi Kerry,

You wrote in your blog:

>>This doctrine of mankind achieving Godhood is not singularly unique to Mormonism, but is had in many early Christian and Jewish writings.>>

Me: A few thoughts on this: first, not just â??earlyâ? Christian writings, for the doctrine of deification is present in the writings many Christians throughout the whole of Christian history; second, though certain similarities exist between non-LDS and LDS deification, one very important distinction remains, God in non-LDS thought is pure spirit while in LDS teaching He is embodied, and this distinction has certain ramifications for what deification ultimately means for both; and third, the following from Philo (I have quoted a portion of my forthcoming book which contains the Philo quote) should prove interesting to you (and I what love to hear what you think about it):

Having looked at some of the most important passages in Bible that teach the doctrine of theosis, I would now like to turn to those that as less â??clearâ? to most readers.

I would like to begin this section with John 17.3 which states: â??And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sentâ?. â??Life eternalâ? is one of Godâ??s essential attributes, and Jesus tells us in this verse that to share in this attribute of God, one must know God. But what does in mean to â??know Godâ?? The first century Jewish philosopher, Philo, had some interesting thoughts on this very question. In an important fragment, he stated, â??it is necessary that one must first become Godâ??which very thing is not possibleâ??in order for anyone to be able to comprehend (attain) God.â? We shall later see that many Church Fathers (and the Eastern Orthodox Churches as a whole) accepted, in its entirety, the above Philonic dictum; however, for our current purposes, we shall only discuss what it means to truly â??comprehendâ?, or â??knowâ? God. (Greek text from Loeb Classical Library â?? Philo Supplement II Questions And Answers On Exodus ed. Ralph Marcus (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1953) p. 258; translation of Greek text mine.)

Grace and peace,

David

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