Thursday, November 19, 2009

Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life

The short pamphlet, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human life, which you can read here is a wonderful, short, easily read, understandable guide to the Orthodox doctrine of Theosis. For many Orthodox, they hear the word Theosis but do not have much of an idea of what it is, let alone how to achieve it. Those Orthodox who are willing to answer the question about Theosis will often say that it is "becoming like Christ." That's a good start. How does one do that? That's when they start to stutter and vainly search for an answer. Now they struggle not because they are uneducated or illiterate Orthodox, which many Protestants accuse Orthodox of being because we don't categorize everything under the sun as they do, but because it is a very hard question to answer. I'm sure all of us, once or twice, has asked: What is the meaning of life? And we struggle to find an answer, find ourselves to be incoherent, contradictory and otherwise adrift, bombarded by a number of different thoughts that don't make sense. If Theosis is to become like God, who, in essence is ineffable and incomprehensible, then we should naturally struggle to answer since we cannot fully known the essence of God as He is uncreate and we are creation.

But you don't need a long scholastic book on this like Norman Russell's book, Fellow Workers with God: Orthodox Thinking on Theosis which is available from SVS press. You can read reviews of that book at Unmercenary Readers, a blog by my fellow Orthodox Blogger, Chris Orr (Orrologion). Suffice it to say, I think that if any Orthodox or non-Orthodox wants to gain added perspective to what Theosis is AND how to incorporate it into your spiritual life, you should read Archimandrite George's pamphlet, Theosis: The True Purpose of Human Life. In case you are hesitant, I'd encourage you to read this review of Archimandrite George's work.

Scholarly investigation of various aspects of the faith such as salvation, creation, mercy, prayer are all well and good, but without examining them within the context of the spiritual life (i.e. prayer), then it is just a book and you become more knowledgeable without any transformation of the self. Thus, I wholheartedly recommend Archimandrite George's book for that very reason. I'd be happy to hear your reviews of it as well.

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