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Bulgakov. Absolute Subject Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Creator
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

God is the Creator of the world

God is the Creator of the world, and the world is God's creation.

God is not the cause of the world, just as the world is not His effect, is not connected with Him in a causal connection.

It is first necessary to point out that the idea of creation, in contradiction to causality, is personal and presupposes a personal God. The idea of causality or the prime mover does not include creation and in a certain sense even excludes it, insofar as the latter is personal whereas causality, or motion, is mechanical and impersonal. … Causality can be included in creativity but only as subordinate to its goals and plans. For, in itself, mechanical causality is blind and empty, in the sense that creative novelty is absent from it. Creativity is guided by a task, a goal; it is exemplary (causa exemplaris according to the ill-chosen expression of scholastic theology), entelechic.

Of course, one can also consider creativity as a particular form of causality and thereby annul its originality. But this would be a completely arbitrary and forced identification. Creativity does not stop being itself, does not lose its originality, just because one applies to it a logical Procrustean bed, that is, a category that does not capture its nature, that is not appropriate to it.

Thus, God is not the cause of the world, just as the world is not His effect, is not connected with Him in a causal connection. God is the Creator of the world, and the world is God's creation. The relation of the Creator to creation is essentially different from that of cause to effect. It must be understood as such in both of its terms, in relation to both the creativity of the Creator and the createdness of creation.

The world is created by God out of nothing. That is the dogmatic formula that must now be analyzed in all its terms.

1. Creation.

The world is created by God. It is a creation, and in the Trinity it has the beginning of its being: Your hands created and fashioned me, I am yours (Psa 119:73,94), says the consciousness of the creation through the lips of the psalmist. Before the face of the unfathomable things of the world, in the limitlessness of the world's expanses and the boundlessness of the world's times, in the immeasurability of the world's depths and the immensity of the world's masses it sounds, this wonderful voice, imperiously whispering: in all of its immeasurableness the world's being does not belong to it, it is given to the world. And in the heart of the human being is heard the same unceasing whisper: You do not have the root of your being in yourself; you are created. This voice can be unheard or imperiously and angrily stifled, for belief is free and knows no compulsion. And then inevitably a different, opposing consciousness will be suggested by the voices of the worldcoming out of the deep: the world is not created, it has its foundation in itself, it is its own creation; there is no higher being than the world's and there is nothing that would be higher than being.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Unfading Light:
Contemplations and Speculations
II. I. 1. Creation

The world is real in its divine foundation insofar as its being is being in the Absolute.

Between the Absolute and the relative runs the border of the creative “let there be.”

The world is a creatively, initiatively directed and realized emanation – relativity as such.

But if the relative is only an illusion, then the question arises again: Whose illusion? Who is dreaming? About what? What is the nature of these dreams? Is it possible to think it completely outside of and apart from the Absolute? But then the Absolute is not absolute. Or it remains to admit that the relative is permitted, posited by the Absolute itself, and then we arrive at the idea of creation. The world is real in its divine foundation insofar as its being is being in the Absolute – in this, ideas of both creation and emanation agree. But in the idea of creation the world is posited at the same time outside the Absolute, as the self-existent relative. Between the Absolute and the relative runs the border of the creative “let there be,” and therefore the world does not represent a passive outflow, an emanation of the Absolute, like foam in an overfilled cup; rather it is a creatively, initiatively directed and realized emanation – relativity as such.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Unfading Light:
Contemplations and Speculations
ΙΙ. II. 2. What is Matter?

Self-revelationis of the trihypostatic God

The Life The trihypostatic God is a pre-eternally realizing Fulness. By trihypostaseity the solitude of the Absolute subject, his aloneness, is overcome. The Trihypostatic God is one in His triunity, but not alone…

The world is entirely a creation of the generous magnanimous love of God. The world is not necessary for God, but its possibility is given in Him.

… With the victory of Orthodoxy, homoousianism, faith in the trihypostatic God, over the doctrine of the monoadic monohypostaciety of the Godhead, the whole formulation of the question about the relations of God anf the world is changed. It is now impossible to say about the trihypostatic God that which inescapably has to be said about the monohypostatic monad that needs the world: the life of the trihypostatic Godhead as Love, as preeternal mutuality and self-revelation is absolutely self-sufficient and complete, it needs no one and nothing and cannot have any supplementing. The trihypostatic God lives in Himself, i.e., in the Holy Trinity, and this Life is a pre-eternally realizing Fulness. Hence the world is not necessary for God himself and it is powerless to add any supplementing to the Fullness. The world is entirely a creation of the generous magnanimous love of God, a love which gives and which receives nothing. God is necessary for the world as its foundation and goal, but not the reverse. By trihypostaseity the solitude of the Absolute subject, his aloneness, is overcome, and thanks to this victory the monohypostatic God is compelled as it were to create the world. The Trihypostatic God is one in His triunity, but not alone…

The creation of the world for the sake of humankind, which is made according to the image of God, is only by the generosity of love, a set repetition, to be sure, in the creaturely life of the Prototype, His self-repetition as it were, which for Him does not contain and is not able to contain anything new. If it can be expressed this way, the divine necessity of self-revelationis is fully satisfied by trihypostaseity, and the creation of the world is only an outpouring from the fullness of the divine ocean of love. Love is unsatiable by nature and that is why divine trihypostatic love thirsts to extend itself in creation, by empltying itself into non-being, by creating the world, in this insatiableness of love is contained the babis of world creation. It is divine life, however, this love is completely satisfied, for God has in Himself by Himself the One He loves and to Whom He is revealed. He is absolutely self-loved and self-revealed and this eternity does not know any change or increase. God possesses His Very Self in an adsolute manner as Person, owing to His trihypostaseity, as being, owing to His divine essence, and as consubstantial Trinity — in the indivisibility of His Personhood and essence. The life of God is a pre-eternal self-revelation, unconditional according to the trihypostatic image — as the World of the Father being sealed by the Holy Spirit, and according to content — as the one eternal Wisdom of the Father being proved by the Holy Spirit, as the one life of the Holy Trinity, as the Glory of God.

Such is the relation of God to the world: it is not necessary for God, but its possibility is given in Him.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrine of the Wisdom of God
in St. Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers

The world is created with the participation of all Three Hypostases of the Holy Trinity.

In fact what grounds are there for thinking that Yahweh of the book of Genesis or Exodus is the Logos and not the consubstantial Trinity which has a common Wisdom and operates and speaks by her to humans? In any case in dogmatics it is held firmly and indisputably that the world is created not by one Person of the Holy Trinity but with the participation of all Three Hypostases: the Father spoke by His Word and accompished by the Holy Spirit.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Old Testament Doctrine of the Wisdom of God

Hopelessness of the monohypostatic absolute Subject

The monohypostatic Absolute with the absence of a proper inner life.
The relative, exhausted in the embraces of the Absolute.

The Absolute, losing its absoluteness due to the absence of a proper inner life, and the relative, exhausted in the embraces of the Absolute. A monohypostatic absolute subject is a power that in itself has no manifestation and needs to create a world. It is the open embraces that are empty and in need of creation, and the world is a victim of the hunger of the Absolute, doomed to burning in His fire. Until the point is not yet about a personal God, not an absolute Subject, the impersonal deity, like the divine aggregate of the forces of the world, simply dissolves into the world at dusk pantheism (or, what is the same, atheism). But once an absolute Subject is thought, a living God, pre-worldly and transcendent, within the limits of mono-hypostaseity, the situation becomes hopeless, and the cosmological problem is not solvable. Hence follows the natural desire to seek mediation, an attempt to place between God and the world a kind of super-creature, obscuring the world from God and burning in scorching fire. This super-creature, which is neither God nor the world but something in between — μεταξύ — is the demiurge through which God created the world. From here completely logically Arius develops the doctrine of the mediator between God and the world which, in conjunction with the church doctrine of Jesus Christ, develops into a peculiar heretical Christology.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrin of the Wisdom of God
in St. Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers

Mediation between God and the world

Творение имеет в себе божественную основу — Софию.

Христианство исповедует веру в единого триипостасного премирного Бога, Абсолютного Духа, живущего Своей абсолютной жизнью в единой природе и самооткровении (София). Мир есть творение Божие, которое вызвано из небытия творческим актом Божиим. Между Богом и миром постольку существует непреходимая бездна, как между Творцом и творением, но в то же время мир имеет в себе и божественную основу (София).

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Христианство и Штейнерианство

God is also the Creator, who creates life outide Himself and lives in this life outide Himself.

In the world and with the world, God Himself lives in time, even though He is timeless and eternal in Himself.

In Himself, God is eternal with Divine eternity, which is the Divine Sophia, the fullness of His life, unchangeability and all-blessedness. In Himself, God is eternal with Divine eternity in His trihypostatizedness, which is the eternal act of the love of the Three in reciprocity. But God is also the Creator, who creates life outide Himself and lives in this life outide Himself. … The world is real with God's reality, and it is thus real not only for itself but also for God, for whom it exists as an object of His love.

As a result one must also acknowledge that the time of this world, without which there is no beginning, is real for God. It follows that, in the world and with the world, God Himself lives in time, even though He is timeless and eternal in Himself. This unity and thus identity of time and eternity are an eternal riddle for human thought, for it is a mistery of God that is just as unfathomable for creatures as their creation.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
II. 2. Eternity and Time

The creature originates in nothing and abides in nothing, in the face of God's absoluteness.

The creature's prayer to God derives, first of all, from its consciousness of its creatureliness, of the fact that it originates in nothing and abides in nothing, in the face of God's absoluteness. This prayer is therefore the creature's praise and thanksgiving addressed co the Creator, as well as a supplication for its needs; and both aspects of this prayer are marked by the consciousness of creaturely limitedness. One can, in a certain sense, say that the very character of this prayer derives from creatureliness.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
EPILOGUE: The Father

Mediation between God and the world as some sort of middle position is unthinkable and impossible.

Mediation between God and the world as some sort of middle position is unthinkable and impossible. The mediator himself requires for himself a new mediator and so on ad infinitum; no matter by how much we increase the number of steps on the ladder it is all the same incapable of reaching heaven, of leading the creature into immediate contact with the Godhead. The thought of a mediator is impossible; it is to some extent the square root of negative one or a circular square. But the problem is sensed correctly and the disclosure of true Christian doctrine concerning this question was made unavoidable.

The question arises here about Wisdom as the pre-eternal foundation of the world in God, as the pre-eternal world, the creaturely image of which, its projection in time, is the created world.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrin of the Wisdom of God
in St. Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers

A direct answer to the question about the true nature of the relations between God and the world, between the Cteator and the creation, was not given.

All the same, a direct response to the question about the true nature of the relations between God and the world, between the Cteator and the creation, was not given this way. At the council of Nicaea this question evidently was not discussed from this aspect; at least there are no traces of such a discussion in its decisions. All energy was concentrated arround the decisive question about the Holy Trinity whose correct resolution decided in advance this question too.

… One must still recall that St. Athanasius absorbed by Christological themes, leaves outside his attention the participation of the Holy Spirit in the world's creation which, according to the general patristic doctrine, was accomplished by the whole Holy Trinity with the corresponding participation of all three Persons.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
The Doctrin of the Wisdom of God
in St. Athanasius the Great and Other Church Fathers

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