It says ‘we are partakers in the Divine nature’, yet, in practical terms, how is this so? Adam did not participate in the Divine nature. He became a living soul in his newly created body. His nature was human. At that time, human nature was not corrupted.
Adam was peacefully connected in all of his human relationships. He was in good relation with God and could work with him in tasks such as naming the animals. He was in good relationship with his wife, Eve, whom he called ‘flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone’. He was at peace with nature in a beautiful garden where no fear separated him from the animals. But, he was all human and exhibited all the characteristics of human nature. In no way divine, he and his wife were to choose what human nature would become.
This was a choice of Life or Death. Life is shown as the Tree of Life. Death is not quite so clear so God warned them that Death would be a result from choosing the other named tree. This tree had the awkward name of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Choosing it would allow them the ability to make choices independent of God.
This would also disconnect them from the harmonious relationships they enjoyed. This would be a death that would end in physical death or ‘dying, you will die’. The warning is clear but they are tempted with lies and make a choice that begins the corruption of human nature.
So, people are not involved in participation in the Divine Nature at the beginning. But as we come to the New Testament, things are different. We have the opportunity to receive the Spirit of God. How, then, do we partake of the Divine nature in a practical way? By leaving off our method of decision making based on our own judgment. And who is our model? Enter Jesus! To partake of the Divine nature , we follow The Method. Jesus said, “I AM The Method (or The Way).
We become like the Son of God. We conform joyfully to his role as the Son of The Father. We say, we have free will. This is the use of it. To freely choose the same position of Jesus toward The Father: Sonship. We must look closer at Jesus and his relationship with His Father. He always freely chooses the will of The Father over his own. Always. And he always has because this is his nature which is so much different than our own self-interest based choosing.
Do you think Jesus only did this on earth, in the flesh? Then it was a sham, a temporary role, an acting done in the worst sense as one acting out of character. He would have been pretending. But, no, he was no fake. He was just doing it all in the context of a life like ours, in the flesh. He accepted the limitations of humanity. Yet, nothing changed in his essential being. The Word became flesh but did not change into something different. He did not change his Divine nature. And this is the Divine nature we can take part in: the Divine nature of the Son of God.
He is the Only Begotten Son but he wants to ‘bring many sons to glory’. Now, we may have missed something important. The relation between Father and Son is Love. Their actions are all In Love. Their motivation to act is Love. In fact, it is the only relationship. No wonder the first commandment was, “Love the Lord, your God, with all…” To love God is enter into the relationship of God. There is no other relationship to God, only Love.
This is what John, the apostle, means by ‘God is Love’. But our human nature has been corrupted. It is selfish. It is full of self-love. It is not even fixable since we have made it worse with our own choices. But it is replaceable. It can be put aside and a new nature brought in to be our life energy. It comes with the instruction of Jesus and the possibility of real change within us.
Let us take one practical example: Jesus said, “Judge not, lest you be judged”. Not only a command, but with an explanation, too. You are probably going to be judged if you judge others. You like being judged? Keep judging. Judge everyone by your standards. You know good and evil. This is good. That is evil.
Or do we rather choose to be like him who did not judge. He refused to judge many times. “Who made me judge over your family affairs?” Did he judge Zacchaeus the tax collector? No, he went to his house. Did he judge the woman caught in adultery? He did not.
So, to practically participate in the Divine nature, we do as the Son says and does. We chose not to judge. Do it! If you have difficulty, God will help you. His Spirit will help you. The Spirit of Christ. You act like Jesus. Jesus acts like the Father. By this means, you actually become a son of God. You’re not a child anymore, but growing up to a son or daughter of God.