I love words. I just adore them. They can transport you to whole new realities, pin down this one, express things that no one else has seen. And there are some words that you can look at, and get at least a vague idea of what they mean. Deification, should be one of them.
'dei', 'deus' - god - deification - the act of making something into a god - Ancient civilizations deified everything. The weather, animals, their dead rulers. Everything became a god. Deified. So, I think I know what the word 'deification' means. And then I run into it in my readings in The Orthodox Church and in Genesis, in the notes of my Orthodox Study Bible. Hmm...and not in the...'don't do that, for it is idolatry!' sort of way you'd expect...
Deification, according to the glossary at the back of the Bible - "The GRACE of God through which believers grow to become like Him and enjoy intimate COMMUNION with the FATHER through the Son in the HOLY SPIRIT."
There's an article about it on pg. 1692 in the Bible, and it's covered in both The Orthodox Church and The Orthodox Way, but I haven't read all of the pertinent articles, so I'm really not confident on getting into it too much.
So, I'm just going to quote the last two paragraphs of the article, and go back to pondering a new (to me) definition of an old word:
"Historically, deification has often been illustrated by the example of a sword in the fire. A steel sword is thrust into a hot fire until the sword takes on a red glow. The energy of the fire interpenetrates the sword. The sword never becomes fire, but it picks up the properties of the fire.
By application, the divine energies interpenetrate the human nature of Christ. When we are joined to Christ, our humanity is interpenetrated with the energies of God through Christ's glorified flesh. Nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ, we partake of the grace of God - His strength His righteousness, His love - and are enabled to serve Him and glorify Him. Thus we, being human, are being deified."
I'm still not certain exactly what it means...but I find it occupies my thoughts.