What is the meaning of the words “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4) and “the communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 13:14)? Do we partake of God’s divine nature? Did the human nature unite with the divine nature in the disciples when the Holy Spir
Who partakes of or unites with God in His nature, becomes God! This is against sound faith. Only those who believe in deifying man (in nature not mere title) say this and it is part of the heresy “unity of existence” by which man thinks of himself more highly than he ought to think (Rom 12:3).
The right interpretation of the words “partakers of the divine nature” is the following:
We partake of the divine nature in work, not in essence.
It means that we do not be partakers of the divine nature in the attributes belonging to God alone such as eternity and limitlessness. It is communion in work for the edification of the kingdom whether through our own salvation or winning the others for salvation.
The same may apply to “the communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 13:14).
We can never succeed in any work unless God works with us: for, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” (Ps 127:1). And in the Travellers Litany we say, “Take part in the work with Your servants.”
If God’s Spirit takes part in the work with us, we take from Him power and grace and our works be successful and in accordance with God’s will, thus we become in “communion with the Holy Spirit” in work.
On the Day of Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured on the disciples.
This realised the prophecy of Joel the prophet, “I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh: your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17, Joe 2:28). It was also a realisation of the Lord’s promise to His disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to Me.” (Acts 1:8). Speaking in tongues was among the gifts God granted them (Acts 2:6). This gift of speaking languages helped spread faith.
The unity of the divine nature and the human nature happened only in the Incarnation of the Lord Christ alone.
Can it be believed, then, that all the disciples became like Christ on the Day of Pentecost?
Here we face a question: What distinguishes Christ from others?
The divinity of Christ is attacked in two ways:
a) Either lowering Christ to the level of ordinary humans as the Arians did; or
b) Raising humans to the level of Christ as those who believe in the philosophy of deification of man proclaim on the ground that the nature of humans united with the nature of God!
If we say that man united with the divine nature, it means that he became God and became infallible. In this case he does not sin, he is not mere human.
But the action of God’s Spirit in man is one thing and the unity between God’s nature and man’s nature is something different. We do not unite with God’s nature. Let’s be humble and behave as humans as our father Abraham said about himself that he is dust and ashes (Gen 18:7) and as Job the Righteous also said (Job 42:6).