A book on relational theology requires at least a brief reflection on the concept of “participation in God.” Relationality begins and ends with God. God exists in relationship – the Trinity. Through the act of creation, God extended relationality to all God made. And in the coming age, redeemed humanity will share in Christ’s glory – a glory that includes the creation “liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (see Rom 8:17-21).
There are at least two ways to conceive of relational participation in God. Stated in theological shorthand, they are (1) panentheism and (2) theosis. Allow me to unpack these concepts.
Conniry, Charles J., ""Participation in God" - Chapter from Relational Theology" (2012). Faculty Publications - Portland Seminary. 26.