The Spirit is Salvation: Part 2, Divine Radiation in the Superhero Movie of Salvation

The key insight we need to understand salvation is that salvation is ontological.

We tend to think that salvation is relational and moral. Specifically, to be saved is to have our relationship with God restored. Once, we stood condemned before God, now we stand justified. Salvation is a change in relationship.

And standing now justified, we also think of salvation as a moral status. Once, I was dirty and unclean, now I am washed and pure.

No doubt, salvation is both of these things. But what tends to get missed when we understand salvation in relational and moral terms is the ontological aspect of salvation. Salvation changes our being, the substance of our very selves and existences. We are, quite literally, a "new creation." Once, we were one type of being, and now we are a new type of being. A new creature. A qualitatively different type of human being.

It takes a lot of work to even imagine this, how salvation isn't just about a change in relationship or moral status, how salvation changes the very substance of your being.

To recount a lesson from Theology 101, Western visions of salvation have tended to be forensic in nature, focusing on legal status. Saved vs. Lost. This status highlights the relational and moral aspects of salvation, our legal situation before the Judgment Seat of God. By contrast, the Eastern vision of salvation is ontological. Salvation is union and participation in the Divine Nature. Salvation is theosis, ontologically becoming God. The saints are literally becoming divine.

To make the contrast clear, the saints are not being declared divine (holy, justified, righteous) by a judge in a forensic, legal sense. The saints are becoming divine, at the atomic level, if I can use those words. Metaphysically, mystically, and supernaturally the physical components of your being--the atoms and molecules, muscles and tendons, organs and blood--are being modified and changed, becoming something different. You are becoming, quite literally, a new kind of creature.

This is may be a crude way to describe it, but imagine every atom of your being being changed by exposure to Divine radiation. Sort of like what happens in a superhero movie, like how Peter Parker is changed into Spider Man.

Becoming like a superhero, a new type of human being, a new creature. That is the Eastern vision of salvation. That's what it means to say salvation is ontological.

This is why the Spirit is salvation, because it's the Spirit that is creating and re-creating your being, fusing your DNA with the divine in the process of theosis. The Spirit is the Divine radiation in the superhero movie of salvation. The Spirit is the means of new creation. Without the Spirit new creation cannot happen. And outside of new creation there is no salvation.

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