He is Transfused in Us

That Deity should be born in our nature ought not reasonably to present any strangeness to the minds of those who do not take too narrow a view of things. For who, when he takes a survey of the universe, is so simple as not to believe that there is Deity in everything, penetrating it, embracing it and seated in it? For all things depend on Him Who is (Ex 3.14), nor can there be anything that does not have its being in Him Who is. If, therefore, all things are in Him and he in all things, why are they scandalized at the plan of revelation when it teaches that God was born among human beings-that same God whom we are convince is even now not outside humankind? For although this last form of God’s presence among us is not the same as that former presence, still his existence among us equally both then and now is evidenced; only now he who holds together nature in existence is transfused in us, while at that other time he was transfused throughout our nature, in order that our nature might by this transfusion of the Divine become itself divine, rescued as it was from death and put beyond the reach of the caprice of the antagonist. For his return from death becomes to our mortal race the commencement of our return to the immortal life.” St. Gregory of Nyssa, Address on Religious Instruction, 25.

We see here that, for St. Gregory of Nyssa, our being rescued from death is synonymous with our becoming Divine. This too is tied with Christ resurrection from the dead where He enters into the most basic facet of human life, death, and resurrects showing our humanity stronger than death by its contact with the Divine. We should not confuse St. Gregory or the Orthodox tradition as saying that somehow we become autonomous little gods. St. Gregory has actually just said that every particle and everything in existence is utterly dependent on God for its place in existence (for God is existence, hence “I am”). When The Logos enters humanity though, He is ‘transfused’ into our nature so that humanity is united to Divinity. By this union, through God’s condescension, we can participate in His Life ever more. We must remember though that this participation is always from the top-down, it is always because God is lending His hand to elevate us, so to speak. The Greek fathers, surrounded by pagans, were very clear to steer clear of any notion of demi-gods and our somehow being elevated as gods (as though we were all going to be as Hercules). Rather, we are transfused with God and thereby partake of His Life and immortality. This comes about both through the Incarnation but also the sacramental life of The Church where we come to Union with Him.

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