Obtaining The Divine Life

From Death to Life: the Process of Salvation

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No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

If we die with the supernatural life within us, we are justified to enter into the presence of God. Before Christ's work on the cross, man could not survive the presence of God. As God told Moses, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Exodus 33:20). God's holiness is like a fire that would destroy someone who did not possess the supernatural life. However, those who have died justified have been transformed into a new creation that can see God and live.

However, it is possible to die with the supernatural life within us, but still have selfish desires. Since God is Love (cf. 1 John 4:8), and love is the opposite of selfishness, if we still have selfish desires in us, we cannot yet be in communion with total, infinite Love. We must be purged of our attachments to sin before entering heaven. This purging had begun in this life by choosing the good,
"God became man so that man might become God" - St. Athanasius
receiving the sacraments, and denying oneself of things of this world, but if not completed at death, then we will be completely purged in purgatory. Scripture says, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. " (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). This purging is necessary so that we experience complete union with God; nothing of our old nature will remain.

We will then spend all eternity as a new creation- completely free from any attachment to self, completely remade in the image of Christ, and living in the divine Love that is God. For all eternity, we will be in the presence of the almighty God- the purpose for which we were created. In a divine paradox, Christ actually transform us into a new creation whose nature is greater than that of Adam before the Fall; we are not only in God's presence, but are united to the divine life of God! "O happy fault! O necessary sin of Adam! That won for us so great a salvation!" (Easter Sequence). God's divine life will live within us forever. The Church Fathers called this theosis, or deification: "For the God became man so that man might become God" (St. Athanasius). Not that we become equal to God, but in an ineffable mystery, God allows us to share His divine nature. "He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires" (2 Peter 1:4)





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