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Origen, for his part, placed divinization within the vast framework in which he explained the relationship between God and the world through the mystery of the Logos. To a greater extent than his predecessors, he sought to base himself on the biblical data Comm. in Jo., and insisted on the human freedom that is the consequence of growing union with the Logos, God’s image. Above all he stressed the incarnation, as the supreme mystery of the Word. China Map Tourist Attractions For him, the union of the Word with the everfaithful soul of Jesus, likened to the interpenetration of iron and fire, is the model of all divinization Princ. 11,6. On the other hand, Jesus’ kenosis in death was not just the highest expression of his love for God Comm. in Jo. V, 284, but also the prelude of the glorious resurrection which, begun in Christ, would be fulfilled for the whole church Comm. in Jo. X, 228f.. This doctrine of divinization, while distinguished by its synthetic strength, like all of Origen’s theology, is defective in two points: the preexistence of Jesus’ soul and the excessively spiritualistic tendency.
The enormous progress made by theology in the 4th c., however, made itself felt in the question of divinization. Athanasius, the great defender of Nicene faith, managed to reduce Irenaeus’s heritage to an impressive simplicity, asserting that the incarnation of the Word has definitively restored the human being’s primordial resemblance to God on two levels: that of the incorruptibility of the body and that, impossible without the first, of gnosis Incarn. 9. He also used the doctrine of human divinization, by now a firmly established theological doctrine, to demonstrate, against the Arians, the divinity both of Christ Ar. II, 70; III, 33 and of the Holy Spirit Ep. Serap. 1,24. Gregory of Nyssa, expounding his ideas on divinization esp. in his Oratio catechetica magna, dedicated to teachers who need system in their instruction Or. catech. prol., considers this doctrine an essential part of Christian teaching. Aware of the risks of pantheism inherent in the ideas he and his predecessors had taken over from Platonism, he stressed the distance that exists between God’s image in human beings and its eternal model Or. catech. 5,6, i.e., the mutability of the former and the immutability of the latter ibid., 21,1f.. To overcome the mutability, the cause of the loss of Adam’s likeness to God, the immutable Word was made man ibid., 32,3, a saving work that is fulfilled, however, for each person in baptism ibid., 33-36 and the Eucharist ibid.
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