All of the Lights: Theosis, Moses’ Shining Face, and the Implications in Evangelicalism

In his 2020 article “Baptizing Theosis: Sketching an Evangelical Account,” Lucas Stamps explored how the doctrine of theosis might fit into a “distinctively evangelical” framework. Using Stamps’ article as a launching point, this essay will continue sketching out an evangelical account of theosis by briefly defining and summarizing what it is and is not. The paper’s main section will then examine Moses’ shining face in Exodus 34:29-35 within the cultic framework of the Torah by concluding that if Sinai echoes Eden, the cosmic mountain, then Moses resembles a renewed Adam-like figure as a radiant “temple image” of Yhwh. Compared to Ancient Near Eastern literature, Exodus 34:29-35 shows the reader an example of theosis. For cross-examination, the next section will ask how Moses’ transformation fits within the matrix of Bebbington’s evangelical quadrilateral (biblicism, crucicentrism, conversionism, and activism). From there, the paper will ask how Moses’ theosis contributes to biblical anthropology, the Torah’s rhetorical function, and the entire canon of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Scriptures. To conclude, the final section of this paper will offer some pastoral implications by offering suggestions as to how the doctrine of theosis would further manifest itself in the life of the church.

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