Peter's distinctive teaching that believers partake of the divine nature is closely related to what he says about their ultimate glorification. (See part 1). While other New Testament writers do not speak of the divinisation of believers, they do teach that Christians will share in the glory of God, which ammounts to the same thing. Jesus prayed,
And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one (John 17:22).
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Rom 8:17)
We suffer with Christ and will be glorified together with him, because we are united to him. We are in Christ (8:1) and he is in us (8:10). In terms of 2 Peter 1:3 & 4, it is through Jesus' divine power that we are made partakers of the divine nature. This makes divinisation a Christological category.
God's ultimate purpose is that we will be conformed to the image of his Son,
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom 8:29)
Human beings were created in the image of God. That image was tarnished by sin. In Christ, the divine image is renewed and perfected,
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him(Col 3: 9 & 10).
The divinisation or glorification of believers is tightly linked to their resurrection from the dead. Christ's resurrected humanity has not been absorbed into his deity. He remains fully God and fully man. His humanity has been lovingly renewed by the Spirit, and is resplendent with the glory of God. The Father has poured all his creative genius into beautifying the once crucified body of his Son. We shall fully partake of the divine nature when we are made like him in resurrection life. The glory of God that shines in the face of Jesus Christ will then be reflected in our faces too.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20 & 21).
And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15:49.)
We will not only be made like Christ, we will participate in his lordship. Jesus made this remarkable promise to the church at Laodicea,
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21).
Paul also says.
If we endure, we shall also reign with him. (2 Timothy 1:12).
The first Adam was made lord over the old creation Genesis 1:26-28 His lordship was radically undermined by the fall Genesis 3:17-19. In Christ, human lordship over creation is restored - Hebrews 2:6-9. Partaking of the divine nature is fulfilled when believers enjoy an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:11). Made like our glorious Lord, we will reign with him in the new heavens and the new earth.
In Part 3, I will conclude this series by looking at some theological reflection on partaking of the divine nature.