Monday, March 24, 2014

Προσδοκώ ανάστασιν νεκρών

Our integration into the Divine Nature is no accident. Neither is it our due. It is not something that will inevitably happen, but it is where our being will lead us if we do not resist it, if we do not resist God.

Yes, God made man for immortality. We are not speaking of some kind of purely spiritual existence, eternal but bodiless. No, man was made, body and soul, for immortality, for deathlessness.

The entire culture, even Christianity, is infected with this idea—that any trans-mortal existence must be purely spiritual, as if we are going to be changed into angels—and it instantly recoils.

The religious recoil subconsciously by fantasizing about it. The irreligious recoil knowingly by rejecting it. Still, it is a fact of human nature: our bodies are made for immortality, and hence, our souls.

But what can it mean, our integration into the Divine Nature? Aren’t we spirits already? Some do indeed teach and believe, ‘I am a spirit, I have a soul, I live in a body.’

Simplistic thinking comforts for a while, but not for long. Although by nature God made us immortal, body and soul, that does not make us spiritual. Only One is Spirit: that is God.

Though we lost our natural immortality through our transgressions, by resisting our human nature as created, God, in becoming a man, Jesus Christ, accomplished more for us than immortality.

He, being One of the Holy Triad and pure Spirit, integrated with the body and soul of a man that He created. God became man, that man might become God, except for our free will, must become God.

St Gregory Nazianzen says in his Funeral oration for St Basil, ‘Man has been commanded to become God.’ He is also the first Church father to use the term ‘théosis’ for that God-charged deification.

So man who, body and soul, was created for immortality in the first Adam but forfeited that life by separation from the Divine Nature, that is, by suicide, in the second Adam is recreated for divinity.

Christ, in defeating death by death, bringing life to those in the tombs, Himself rose from the dead, body and soul, as first-fruits of all who have ever died. Not as a Spirit only, but as a complete man.

Yes, the God-man, who, though standing before His Father who is in heaven interceding for sinners, walks with His disciples on earth, even shares food with them, proving the resurrection of the dead.

Though in this present life our souls are the life of our bodies, in the world to come, the Spirit is the life of both our souls and bodies, our human nature fully integrated with the Divine Nature.

Through Jesus Christ the human race has gained more than it lost. Human nature has been raised to the Divine Nature. Respect your body as much as your soul, and expect the resurrection of the dead.

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