ABSTRACT

In Col 2:9–10, Paul makes a striking statement about Christ and those who believe in him: "in him all the fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you are filled in him." With the parallel use of πλήρωμα and πληρόω, Paul wants readers to see a connection between Christ's fullness and believers' filling. By providing a close reading of chaps. 2–3, I demonstrate that Colossians gives one of the clearest accounts in the NT of what was later termed "theosis," or deification. This deifying transformation is Christologically shaped, such that the repeated emphasis of Paul's letter is embodying Christ's death and life. After demonstrating the argument exegetically, I then explore how this reading coheres with patristic views of deification and whether it nullifies the Creator-created distinction.

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