John 1:1-18 as a Deification Text: The Ecclesial Vision of Filiation and Divine-Human Exchange in the Fourth Gospel's Prologue

John's Prologue is a deification text. When patristic theologians wrote about theosis, they were drawing on biblical themes that appear not only in Paul and in the Catholic Epistles, but also in the opening lines of the Fourth Gospel. Though biblical scholars have often dismissed ecclesiology as a major theme in John, this paper will argue that the Prologue inseparably weds Christology to an ecclesial vision of corporate deification. This Johannine theosis entails the re-origination of "children of God" who are born "from above" and into the divine family of the Father and Son. The process of supernatural filiation that unfolds in the narrative proper is adumbrated in the Prologue as "God", the "Word", and general references to humanity disambiguate from such abstract categorizations into "Father," "Son," and "children." Moreover, the Prologue's account of the Word's Incarnation establishes the pattern of divine-human exchange, one of the primary Christological grounds for later discourse on theosis. Anticipating later exchange formulas, John 1:11-14 implies that humans become divine because the divine became human. Though John's Gospel is rarely understood as bearing ecclesiological interests, and though Pauline texts have received the most attention in the renewed interest in theosis, this paper will show that the Johannine Prologue is as ecclesial as it is Christological and establishes a robust vision for the church's corporate deification.