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HTS Theological Studies

versión On-line ISSN 2072-8050
versión impresa ISSN 0259-9422


VAN WYK, Barend J.. Theosis in the Eastern-Orthodox and Western-Protestant theological debate. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2019, vol.75, n.4, pp.1-10. ISSN 2072-8050.

All major religions agree on one theme, namely they strive to provide an answer regarding the relation with their God. A good relation to God is the way of salvation, because the question about God is an acknowledgement that a human being needs to be in union with God. Some questions and answers are only possible in the relation between God and humankind. The well-known saying from the letter to the Romans (1:17), is typical of such a relation formulated in the Western Protestant debate in forensic style. From the Eastern orthodox theological debate, theosis is used in accordance to what the church father Irenaeus meant: 'God became human that we might become divine'. This article gives a definition of theosis, sketch the historic background of the concept, discuss salvation in the Western theological tradition, and pays attention to a theosis scriptural basis. Furthermore, attention is also given to Martin Luther and theosis as an indication that his view of salvation was much closer to theosis as was readily accepted in the Western theological debate since the Reformation of the 16th century.

Palabras clave : Theosis; Eastern-Orthodox; Western-Protestant; Theological debate; Luther.

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