The perennial questions surrounding human identity and meaning have never before been so acute. How we define ourselves is crucial since it determines our conception of society, ethics, sexuality--in short, our very notion of the "good." The traditional Christian teaching of "deification" powerfully addresses this theme by revealing the sacred dignity and purpose of all created life, and providing a comprehensive vision of reality that extends from the individual to the cosmos.
Hans Urs von Balthasar is a valuable guide in elucidating the church's teaching on this vital subject. Following the patristic tradition, he focuses his attention on Jesus Christ, whose kenotic descent in his incarnation and passion reveals both the loving character of God and the perfection of humanity. Christ is the "concrete analogy of being" who in his two natures as God and man unites heaven and earth. It is the Trinity, however, that brings to fruition the fullness of the meaning of theosis in Balthasar's theology. The community of divine persons eternally deifies the cosmos by embracing and transforming it into the paradigm of all reality--the imago trinitatis--overcoming the distance between the created and uncreated while maintaining and honoring their difference.