The Divinity of Man
Partakers of the Divine Nature
(excerpted from Cosmos Reborn by John Crowder, available HERE)
By John Crowder
Our origin existed from the foundation of the world. Through faith, we see that the worlds were framed by the word of God, “so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:3, KJV).
… what we now see did not come from visible things (BER).
… what is seen does not owe its existence to that which is visible (WEY).
… the world which we behold springs not from things that can be seen (CON).
Despite the common phrase that God “created something out of nothing,” the truth is simply that we “did not evolve out of existing matter” (NOR). In fact, we pre-existed invisibly in the heart and imagination of God. We were associated with Christ from the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4).
Your true origin goes much further back than your parents’ choice in the back seat of a ‘77 Chevy Nova. Mankind is not simply a temporal being who began at a point in time by a human decision.
The truth is that like Jeremiah, the Lord says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart …” (Jer. 1:14). We were with Him, in Him, as Him in the beginning. Predestined in Christ. Pre-existing in the heart of God.
Adam was breathed from the very divine substance, the pneuma breath of God. In the same way, it is His very living Presence that animates you. He is the Life. Dogs produce dogs, trees produce trees … what does God produce? You are very sons of the eternal Most High God.
As my friend Dave Vaughan often says, “It will be very hard for you to avoid your divinity in the coming days.”
We are a mirror image of God Himself. In this, 1 John 4:17 tells us, “As He is, so are we in this world.” He is returning us to the truth of our divine origin. We have simply forgotten the Rock from which we were cut (Isa. 51:1). Humanity has been in an identity crisis. Living completely under par to our original design and destiny.
You are Gods
I am well aware that various movements have taken “Ye are gods” theology to bizarre conclusions. But the fact remains, as we are told in Psalm 82:6, “I said, ‘You are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High.’” Some have tried to mitigate this verse to suggest we are simply “judges” or “mighty ones.” But the literal word here is Elohim – gods. And to further bolster the point, Jesus quotes this passage – the New Testament Greek using the word Theoi – which is clearly translated as “gods.”
“It is a serious thing,” says C.S. Lewis, “to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.”[i]
We see that His Spirit is enjoined with our human spirit echoing the clarion call of sonship: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16, KJV). And through this miraculous union, we become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4).
The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). We are all recipients of divine glory of the Father and Christ:
Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2, ESV).
And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Pet. 5:10, NIV).
We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy. For He called you to share in His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2:12, NLT).
He called you to this through our Gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:14, NIV).
For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing His glory (Col. 1:27, NLT).
The disastrous lie of religion chains us to a morbid identity as sinful dogs. But you are the bride of Christ, purified by His blood – consummated as one on the Tree where the two bled into one. You are flesh of His flesh. Bone of His bone. He who is in Christ is one spirit with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). There is no separation. As coinheritors with Christ, we like Him have dominion over all things, over the vast cosmos – and one day we shall fully manifest the reality of this dominion.
A Dependent Divinity
Such magnitude is far beyond human ability. Your divine nature is a God-given and Christ-dependent reality. Nothing has been independently vested upon you, but rather you are intrinsically dependent upon the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The glory you experience is no result of a two-dimensional transaction between you and God based on your faith. This is Trinitarian. You are effortlessly graced to participate in the Spirit because of Jesus’ relationship with the Father. He prayed, “Now, Father, bring Me into the glory we shared before the world began” and then just after added, “I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one” (John 17:5, 22). You have been infused with the same glory that the Father and the Son shared from the dawn of time.
Know what God has lavished upon you! He couldn’t give you anything more; you would be a threat to the Trinity! He’s poured His own beauty, His own worth, His own power upon you. It is no independent divinity apart from Him, but a very unction that flows because of your union with Him. By your union with Christ you are full of the Godhead (Col. 2:10).
It is His very Spirit of Sonship that infuses you: “God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!” (Gal. 4:6, RSV)
Augustine said, “If we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.”[ii]
Consider even the Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Irenaeus, which states, “The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’ (2 Pet. 1:4): ‘For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.’”[iii]
The early Church fathers clearly saw this exchange of the divine nature, as Athanasius boldly writes, “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God … He endured shame from men that we might inherit immortality.”[iv]
And again we see Thomas Aquinas write, “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us share in His divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”[v]
This concept is highly prevalent in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, where it is known by the Greek term theosis, meaning “divinization” or “deification.” Of course, religious processes are quick to creep in – with a certain quota of prayer, fasting and asceticism folks think they are climbing into godhood. This is not proper theosis, but in fact idolatrous divination.
There is no process to climb into this divinity. The only process is one of remembering as we hear the Word. We’re discovering the new creation reality of grace given us in the saving act of Jesus Christ. We are waking up to our infinite, immortal selves.
Ours is a dependent divinity. No separate, individual godhood. There is no life apart from Mr. Life. It is all about relationship – being in Christ. Family. Union. Love. “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). In no way does this relate to the self-realization movements of new age. It relates solely to looking at Jesus Christ, and when we see Him, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). We were not created with immortality, but we were created from immortality and for immortality. All our fountains are in Him.
In the Family of the Trinity
The Gospel “celebrates our pre-creation innocence and now declares our redeemed union with God in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:9, MB). Far from intangible or obscure, it is the declaration of our existence in the family life of the Trinity. C. Baxter Kruger writes:
When Christianity says God, it says Father, Son, and Spirit, existing in a beautiful, intimate relationship of other-centered love expressing itself in boundless fellowship and unutterable oneness. It does not speak of a being that is isolated or unapproachable, detached or indifferent. It does not speak of a legalist, or a self-centered potentate, or an unmoved mover. God, for the Christian Church – at its best, anyway – is a relational being: three Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit, sharing life and all things in other-centered love and incomparable togetherness.
But we dare not stop there. The minute we mention the eternal relationship of the Father, Son, and Spirit, we have spoken volumes about the entire cosmos and the destiny of the human race. For this Trinitarian relationship, this abounding and joyous communion, this unspeakable oneness of love, is the very womb of the universe and of the humanity within it.[vi]
Tertullian, around 200 A.D. wrote the following, “Only it is from Him that we receive it, and not from ourselves. For we will be even gods, if we deserve to be among those of whom He declared, ‘I have said, “You are gods,”’ and ‘God stands in the congregation of the gods.’ But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us. For it is He alone who can make gods.”[vii]
Religion throws you back upon yourself for salvation, continually navel-gazing in an endless attempt to climb the mountain. But Jesus blew the professional religious elite out of the water by saying, “No one knows the Father except the Son.” In one line, He invalidated all our human attempts at “knowing God.” Jesus came to know the Father for us, and to plug us into that eternal relationship.
Whatever you think you know about God is wrong if it doesn’t look like Jesus. To see Him is to see the Father. Yes, God interacts with all men indirectly - even apart from their faith - by sustaining, protecting, guiding and wooing mankind to Himself. But we can never know God outside of Christ because He is the only clear and express image of the invisible God. He is the ultimate revelation by which the Father has chosen to show Himself. Our possession of the divine nature flows not alongside the Lord’s, but completely from His “who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).
And yet to see Him is to manifest His very likeness. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made Him known” (John 1:18, NIV). So the crazy thing is, Christ is the revealed image of the invisible God. And now there will be a people whose eyes are fixed on Him, who can rightly say that to see us is to see the Father!
Some wrongly believe the forbidden fruit tapped us into divine power. The Lord did not caution Adam against partaking of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil because He feared our participation in the divine nature. That tree of law brought no such positive enlightenment. The fact is that Adam was already made in the divine image prior to the fall, and from God’s eternal perspective Adam was already restored in Christ before he ever fell. Tertullian writes:
Now, although Adam was by reason of his condition under law subject to death, yet was hope preserved to him by the Lord’s saying, “Behold, Adam is become as one of us;” that is, in consequence of the future taking of the man into the divine nature.[viii]
You go much further back than your parent’s decision. The brothers of Jesus – including James – rejected Him during His earthly ministry, familiar with Him only as a man of natural birth. But Jesus appeared to him after the resurrection enabling James to see that we did not begin in our mother’s womb.
It was God’s delightful resolve to give birth to us; we were conceived by the word of truth (James 1:18, MB).
Peter also recognizes this divine birth from above saying, “we were born anew by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3, MB).
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead – the firstborn of many brothers. But His sonship is unique in that our own sonship is dependent upon His. He did not merely come as one of many brothers – as one who ran His own course, showing you how to do the same. His death was of a special class as the Father’s Only Begotten. Fully God and fully man. In this One Man’s death, an entire new humanity sprang forth in union with Him. Fully adopted in the family of God.
Our Western concept of adoption is far different from the Hebrew use of the word. Though it is one of the most cherished aspects of our faith, the true nature of adoption has been utterly misunderstood today.
We thought that somehow we originated outside of God and were brought into the family. Our modern notion of adoption is a legal exchange when the child of one biological parent becomes the son of another biological parent. But you did not originate in satan. The devil created nothing.
The accurate scriptural essence of adoption is simply realizing our true origin as He has seen it all along. A child begins as a teknon (a little child). But the word huiothesia (adoption) speaks of being openly recognized as a son and heir. It is connected with the idea of the bar mitzvah ceremony – where a boy is legally and openly recognized as a legitimate son, with all the rights of sonship.
It’s not switching parents … it’s about realizing who you belonged to all along. The devil never owned you except in your fallen mind.
For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent] (Eph 1:5 AMP).
The thief never authentically possessed anything or anyone. You were sourced in God. We must realize that our origin pre-dated our natural parents. You are of a divine DNA. Immortal spermata. A celestial, indestructible, incorruptible seed. “These are they who discover their genesis in God beyond their natural conception! Man began in God. We are not the invention of our parents!” (John 1:13, MB) Consider the preceding verse, John 1:12, as we return to a more thorough explanation offered in Francois du Toit’s Mirror Bible:
John 1:12 Everyone who 1realizes their association in Him, 6convinced that He is their 2original life and that 7His name defines them, 5in them He 3endorses the fact that they are indeed His 4offspring, 2begotten of Him; He 3sanctions the legitimacy of their sonship. (The word often translated, to receive, 1lambano, means to comprehend, grasp, to identify with. This word suggests that even though He came to His own, there are those who do not 1grasp their true 2origin revealed in Him, and like the many Pharisees they behave like children of a foreign father, the father of lies [Jn 8: 44]. Neither God’s legitimate fatherhood of man nor His ownership is in question; man’s indifference to His true 2origin is the problem. This is what the Gospel addresses with utmost clarity in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus has come to introduce man to himself again; humanity has forgotten what manner of man he is by design! [Jas 1:24, Deut 32:18, Ps 22:27].
Faith is not some intangible essence that you drum up to climb into this family. You do not self-spawn the new man. You had nothing to do with your natural birth; you have nothing to do with your spiritual birth. You were born from above. Faith is merely the lens to see this reality. That faith comes by hearing. Hearing the facts: that you have been woven into the life of God before you were even born.
We are awakening to our True Selves. The false self – under a false fatherhood of the adversary – has no substance. A lie only holds power to the degree to which you believe it has any power.
We are awaking to our origin – breathed from His very substance, re-created and born anew in Him – the Lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world. Who recreated the cosmos and entrusted us with this ministry of reconciliation – to let the world know God does not hold their sins against them. To proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound in their hellish self-destruction.
Humanity has been in an identity crisis. But He came to awaken humanity to the truth – that we are a divine race. Heirs of an immortality that cannot be gained by human endeavor. Eternity is stamped on our souls and is “brought to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). We look just like our elder Brother. He has empowered us to be who we really are. There is a massive difference between becoming something and realizing who you were all along.
The entire Adamic race met its end in the Last Adam, and we have been raised to new life through Him who is the Firstborn over all creation. Now, that creation “waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19). The created order awaits the full revealing of our identity. We do not await our new birth. We are already sons. We await the full disclosure of our sonship – the manifestation of our inheritance. We don’t become sons … rather we are awakening to that sonship!
Inheritance spills out through the revelation of what is already ours. The Weymouth translation says, “We wait and long for open recognition as sons through the deliverance of our bodies.” Visibly, outwardly seen in full force the reality of an adoption that has already taken place in Christ.
And yet, we are not wasting away in a frustrated longing. “The joyful anticipation deepens. All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy” (Rom. 8:18-25, MSG).
[i] C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, p. 45.
[ii] Augustine (c. 354 – c. 430) “Psalm 50.” Exposition on the Book of Psalms.
[iii] Irenaeus (2nd century – c. 202) Against Heresies (Book III, Ch. 19) taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1995 ed.).
[iv] Athanasius (c. 269 – c. 373) On the Incarnation (Ch. 8).
[v] Thomas Aquinas, Opuscula Theologica (57:1-4).
[vi] C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There is More Going on Here Than You Ever Dared to Dream (New York: FaithWords, 2012), 115.
[vii] Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220) Adversus Hermogenem (Ch. 5).
[viii] Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220) Adversus Marcionem (Book II, Ch. 26).
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