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Fatima. Historical dates Category: History Bulgakov. End of history

History. Time. Fulness
According to Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Determinate completeness of the creation

The divine fullness is combined not with an infinity that is genuinely bad, but with a determinate completeness, which is nevertheless characterized by an inexhaustible depth of eternity.

Every atom of being, however small it might be, potentially contains its entire actual infinity, which is manifested not only in the static profile of its being but also in its dynamic, energetic realization.

Such a positive, finite infinitude is, in general, revealed to us through the creation of the world, in which the divine all is implanted. But this all is realized in a definite, limited period of time ("the six days of creation"), and is implanted in definite, limited forms, or modes, of being. Otherwise, the world could not have been fully created, fully finished. And the divine sabbath could not have come, just as it would not have been said: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made" (Gen. 2:1-2). The divine fullness is therefore combined not with an infinity that is powerless to exhaust itself and in this sense is genuinely bad, but with a determinate completeness, which is nevertheless characterized by an inexhaustible depth of eternity, by an eternal life realized in creaturely temporality. By virtue of this combination, every atom of being, however small it might be, potentially contains its entire actual infinity, which is manifested not only in the static profile of its being but also in its dynamic, energetic realization.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
5. The Eternity and Temporality of Man

History has a bounds and in particular necessarily presupposes both a beginning and an end. It is connected with "times and seasons," having their foundation in the spiritual organization of humanity. History represents an eon, a certain completion that is disclosed in time sequentially.

Objective time contains sufficient foundation for the order of generations and the succession of historical nations, by which the skeleton of history is determined. If history in general is the birth of humanity, then it is realized with an internally defined plan and consistency. History is connected with "times and seasons," having their foundation in the spiritual organization of humanity. Therefore it is not "bad infinity" naturally inherent in formal time, but has a bounds and in particular necessarily presupposes both a beginning and an end, which abstract time does not do at all. … concrete time, which history is, has both beginning and end; in other words, it represents an eon, a certain completion that is disclosed in time sequentially.

The Pentecost has begun but it has not been completed. It leads to the eschatological culmination and to a new aeon.

continuing Pentecost of our aeon is not a bad infinity, which has neither completion nor fullness. On the contrary, it strives to accomplish itself to the end, to the point where "God will be all in all." And in this sense the Pentecost leads to the eschatological culmination and to a new aeon; it merges with the parousia. At the same time, the life of grace in the Holy Spirit leads us beyond the limits of earthly, empirical [page 285] life, insofar as it unites us with the world on the other side, with the kingdom of saints and angels, with the glorified church.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
V. The Revelation of the Holy Spirit

Christian idea of the end of history

The idea of the millennium can be the soul of Christian progress, the inspiration of Christian creative activity.

All that has been said in no wise diminishes the guiding significance of the idea of the thousand-year kingdom, which for us is the guiding star of history. This idea is an expression of the Christian notion of progress, where the latter is liberated from its limited naturalistic conception. This idea is proper to Christian humanism, in contradistinction to pagan or anti-Christian humanism. This idea grounds the validity of history with its supreme achievements in this world; moreover, it presupposes and commands these achievements. The end of history is not due to an arbitrary deus ex machina, to a divine act of violence that interrupts the contentless bad infinity of human history. On the contrary, a positive goal is set for history: its inner ripening to a good end, although this end comes convulsively and catastrophically. This inwardly overcomes the Manichaean cosmomachy, for which life and history are a void: "Vanity of vanities: all is vanity. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun" (Eccles. 1:2, 9).

The idea of the millennium can be the soul of Christian progress, the motive force of Christian humanism, the inspiration of Christian creative activity. There can be and therefore there must be a historical creativity in the name of Christ and with Christ, in the battle against destructive, theomachic and anti-Christian forces in history. This grounds and strengthens our faith in history and our sense of responsibility for it. History is included in the common task of the sophianization of the world in and through man. Thus, historiosophy is a necessary element of sophiology.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec. II. Ch. VI: History

The beginning of the world's deification

One can say that Christ left the world in His ascension to heaven also because the creaturely world was incapable of receiving and encompassing His presence in glory.
But His departure was temporary, and the world had yet to ripen to receive Him anew.

Before undertaking a special examination of these changes, let us try to express dogmatically the basis of this transfiguration. How is the "glory" of the world possible? How can it enter the world? And what does this signify? This can be understood only sophiologically. The world, with man at its head, is the creaturely Sophia. This means that the ontological foundation of the world's being is sophianic. It is a divine energy submerged in creaturely being, in the world created out of nothing but on the foundation of creaturely freedom. This foundation includes the "all" to which is imparted the power of reality and which is "good" (see Gen. 1). This foundation is indestructible in creation. But it is still in a state of becoming, of self-actualization on the basis of creaturely freedom. The creaturely Sophia is, in this sense, also the becoming Sophia. Creation follows a path toward the fullness of its sophianization, toward glory. On this path, man is the leader as the living image of God, as the hypostatic bearer of the creaturely Sophia.

Sophianization had to occur in man. It was his role to lead creation from extradivine being to God, "into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21), together with our own "adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (v. 23). But man fell on the paths of creaturely freedom, seduced by the devil, and, with him, creation also fell, "was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope" (8:20). In this fall, "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (3:23), which was proper to creation at the beginning in a preliminary way. The restoration of the sophianicity of creation refers not to its foundation, which is indestructible, but to its state, to the return of glory and, in this sense, salvation. This was the work of the Second Adam, God made man, in union with the Holy Spirit, by virtue of Divine-humanity.

This restoration contains the fullness of the salvation or sophianization of the world, its raising to glory, not only the glory lost by man but also a glory greater than that — the divine glory: "the glory which thou gavest me I have given them" (John 17:22). In Divine-humanity, through the incarnation of the Son and the descent of the Holy Spirit, the world and man have received the fullness of sophianization. The Divine Sophia has united with the creaturely Sophia; creation has been completely deified in the union of the two natures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.

This event takes place in two directions. The first is the kenotic direction: God descends from heaven to adopt the "form of a servant." The second is in the opposite direction: through glorification. The latter is accomplished in a series of events: the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Pentecost, and the Second Coming of the Lord, this time in glory, in which He brings glory to the world and deifies it by the energy of the Holy Spirit. We know how the glorification of Christ was accomplished until the point when He received anew, in the sitting at the right hand of the Father, the glory that He had before the foundation of the world, in order to glorify His human nature as well. But this glorification of Christ, potentially containing the glorification of all creation, had to be realized in the latter as well.

One can say that Christ left the world in His ascension to heaven also because the creaturely world was incapable of receiving and encompassing His presence in glory. But His departure was temporary, and the world had yet to ripen to receive Him anew. But, of course, such ripening could not be achieved solely by the power of the world that had subjected itself to vanity. It could not be achieved solely by the power of man who had fallen away from God. In order to save the world and man, "the Word was made flesh" (John 1:14). Christ "went to look for the sheep that had strayed and, carrying it on his shoulders, he brought it back to the Father," as the liturgical hymn says. He laid the foundation of a new humanity and a new world. In order that this principle could grow, the Holy Spirit was sent into the world by Christ from the Father. The world had always contained the power of the Holy Spirit by virtue of its (albeit creaturely) sophianicity, but, by itself, it would certainly have been incapable of receiving and encompassing the descent of the Holy Spirit. However, the path for the Spirit was opened by the Incarnation. The Holy Spirit comes into the world this time as the "other" Comforter, bringing with Him Christ the Comforter. "He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:17-18). The Holy Spirit accomplishes the sanctification of the world, the work of Christ, upon whom He reposes. In this sense, by its fruits, the Pentecost is the continuing Incarnation.

The Incarnation is accomplished in the Church and through the Church, the body of Christ in the world and the temple of the Holy Spirit. However, prior to the parousia this sanctification and deification remain incomplete and preliminary, for the action of the Holy Spirit is as yet kenotically limited. But this kenosis of the Holy Spirit ends with the parousia; the whole power of the Pentecost is revealed to the world. The world is sanctified, deified, and glorified by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the parousia arrives by virtue of this action of the Pentecost. It is impossible to say what comes before and what after, for this is a single act that occurs both in heaven and on earth, signifying the end of God's kenosis and the beginning of the world's deification.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Sec. III. Ch. VIII. 3. The Parousia

Integral humanity in God and for God

For God, humankind appears not as an aggregate, or sum, of human individuals, who first appear in time, but as an integral multi-unity, the all-human organism in all its fullness. There exists an integral humanity with a definite, finite number of individuals, analogous to that of the angels. There is a "human number," and it is finite, like the angelic number.

The question consists not in this but in whether the divine fullness that is proper to humanity is capable of being reflected in a definite, finite number of human hypostases.

Fullness belongs to the nature of the hypostatic spirit, and this fullness is experienced as infinite, inexhaustible depth, creaturely eternity, aeviternitas. In its hypostatic multi-unity, this fullness presupposes the diversity and therefore the multiplicity of individual modes. Exhaustive fullness is realized in a definite number of hypostatic centers. This number must be definite and therefore finite. We do not yet know this number, or its justification, but there is such a number. This is the "human number," human fullness. The governing Proto-image here is the Holy Trinity, where precisely three hypostases express, hypostatize the divine fullness.

Returning to the question of the creation of man within the framework of general creation, we must distinguish two aspects of this question: the aspect of directedness at eternity, at the Creator, and the aspect of directedness at creation itself. God is the Creator, and His entire creation, having its focus in man, exists, first of all, not for and in itself, but in God and for God, in a manner, of course, that is appropriate to God's eternity. Although God creates for time, so that creation is an image of the being of the divine principles in becoming, or temporality, God does not thereby become subordinate to and limited by time. For God, creation has a supratemporal aspect and exists above time. This supratemporal existence is not characterized by succession in time and thus by partialness and alternation. This means that God knows and has His creation by a single all-embracing act, which for creatures is disclosed only in temporal succession. In this sense, one must accept with necessity that the creative act by which God establishes being contains all humanity, the integral Adam in the present, past, and future: integral humanity supratemporally is in God and for God. Therefore, its appearance in time is possible only in individual persons and generations.

In this creative act, we necessarily distinguish a supramundane aspect directed at God, and an aspect directed at creation: the Divine and the creaturely Sophia. All created things have a supra-eternal, uncreated proto-image in the Divine Sophia. In particular, such a proto-image of the creaturely Adam and of the whole human multi-unity is "the heavenly man," humanity in God, which is precisely the Divine Sophia, the Father's self-revelation in the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the absolute heavenly humanity, which is not created and does not belong to the creaturely world except as its proto-image. This proto-image in the Divine Sophia is the foundation for creaturely being, which is becoming in time — as the creaturely Sophia. However, though she receives creaturely being, she does not thereby become separated from God. To allow this is to allow the possibility of a second principle of being alongside God; it is to fall into dualism with all its contradictions. Although she actualizes herself in time, the power of time, which extends to this mode of her revelation, does not extend to God Himself, as a limitation.

Even though, in creation, God is directed at time, so that by the creative act he establishes temporality, giving a place, alongside Himself, also to independent temporal being, yet, He Himself, as the Creator, has a supratemporal, or extratemporal, relation to the creature. All times and seasons are joined together in this all-temporal supratemporality. God knows the entire being of the world at all its moments, but He Himself does not belong to time. He does, however, give time a place in the creative act, and, in this sense, He creates time. Creaturely, becoming being therefore has a supratemporal root. It is affirmed by the Creator in the act of His creation. With reference to man this signifies that all of humanity, the integral Adam, exists in and for God; but for itself and for creation in general, this all-humanity is actualized in time.

Consequently, in every human being and in all of humankind, that which exists above or beyond time, as its deep basis, is distinguished from creation's temporal life, which is composed of a succession of current moments. Thus, we have two modes of human self-determination: (1) before time or on the eve of time (this does not mean in eternity, for eternity belongs only to uncreated, i.e., divine being) and (2) in temporal becoming. The two modes are connected, inasmuch as they belong to one becoming being in its original ("noumenal") and empirical self-determination. They are the prologue before time (which, however, already takes place in creaturely temporality) and temporal being itself. In the creaturely Sophia, ontology must therefore be distinguished from history, and supratemporality from time. But the history remains ontological, and the ontology is directed at and presupposes the history.

Thus, although the Creator posits temporality and, with it, time in the life of creation, He is not limited by time. Temporal succession in creation therefore exists only for man, not for God. In particular, this is also applicable to the creation of man, who, although he is born in history, originates in the one creative act of God, through the creation of the integral humankind. For God, humankind appears not as an aggregate, or sum, of human individuals, who first appear in time, but as an integral multi-unity, the all-human organism in all its fullness. Only by belonging to and being originally included in this organism do human individuals and generations acquire being in time. There is as yet no integral humankind in time, for it is still only appearing, but it does exist in supratemporality, which is whence this appearance comes. In relation to this original existence, humankind does not differ from the assembly of angels, though, empirically, this assembly was fully created by a single act and is therefore not subject to multiplication. The two worlds are correlative: "What is above is also below." In "heaven," in the angelic world, the fullness of earthly being is already sketched out and given.

That the origination of the hypostases of the angelic world differs from that of the hypostases of the human world does not change the fact of their correlation. There is an aspect in which the unity of the creative act is manifested even more strongly and fully in relation to humanity than in relation to the angelic world. The angels are a choir. They realize the fullness of angelhood in the assemblage of angelic orders and individual angels. Although an angelic "nature" does not exist, yet, along with individual and hierarchical distinctions, the particularity of the existence of angels is real. They can resemble one another, and in this sense one angel repeats another as it were; however, this establishes between them neither a generic unity nor, thus, an identity, the latter being proper to humanity. About each individual man as a generic being, it can be said that he is not only an individual but also a man in general, a universal man, that all-humanity exists in him, although in an individual form. But this cannot be said about angels, for an all-angelhood that would be analogous to all-humanity does not exist. In this sense, angels are a choir, a harmonious multiplicity, not a multi-unity. Thus, what is ontologically necessary for the realization of the fullness of the angelic assembly is their creation in exhaustive fullness, the creation of the entire choir by an integral act rather than by successive and partial origination, as in the case of humanity, where through the succession of births, however, neither all-humanity nor all-unity is destroyed. As in other respects too, humanity thus more fully expresses the image of the Divine Sophia in the creaturely Sophia, for Sophia is ontological integrity, the wisdom of the whole, where each part is ontologically connected with and, in this sense, equal to the whole, whereas in the angelic choir, integrity is realized in the form of fragmented rays, interconnected but not interpenetrating. Even though it exists in angels, the image of God is revealed in its fullness only in man.

Keeping in mind this pre-createdness of all of humanity in the fullness of its multi-unity "prior to" its birth in time, we must necessarily conclude that there exists an integral humanity with a definite, finite number of individuals, analogous to that of the angels. The bad infinity of successive generations and the unfinished and indefinite character of humanity resulting from this bad infinity are thereby overcome. There is a "human number," and it is finite, like the angelic number.

Here we again encounter the general aporia that we previously encountered with regard to both the angelic and the human world: Can the number of human beings, as well as the number of angels, be finite? In general, does not finitude belong to that relative and limited being which does not correspond to the divine fullness or pleroma, the pleroma of the Church? This question has a paradoxical character, which consists in the fact that, if the human number were infinite, God could never have finished the world, and the life of the future age, after the universal resurrection, could never begin. We are brought to this paralysis of thought by the idea of bad infinity as applied to the divine fullness.

We find an original application of this idea in connection with the problem of the eternity or non-eternity of the world in scholastic theology: Against the eternity of the world it is argued [Such an argument against the Averroists, the Arabic Aristoteleans, is presented by Bonaventura: Sent. 11 bis, p. 1, art. 1, qu. 2, ad Sed. oppositum, 5.] that, if the world is admitted to be eternal, the number of human souls born would turn out to be infinite, and that this is impossible. To be sure, the doctrines of the eternity of the world and of the infinite number of creaturely souls do not coincide, since even in the case of the infinite duration of the world it is possible that only a finite number of souls would be born. The question consists not in this but in whether the divine fullness that is proper to humanity is capable of being reflected in a definite, finite number of human hypostases. We have already posed this question with reference to the number of angels, a number already definite and finite at their creation, according to revelation.

The guiding consideration for deciding this question is the fact that fullness belongs to the nature of the hypostatic spirit, and this fullness is experienced as infinite, inexhaustible depth, creaturely eternity, aeviternitas. In its hypostatic multi-unity, this fullness presupposes the diversity and therefore the multiplicity of individual modes, but by no means is this multiplicity a bad infinity, incapable of ending, of exhausting itself. Such a bad infinity would be precisely lack of fullness. Bad infinity is by no means synonymous with self-enclosed, self-sufficient eternity, with which it is sometimes equated (e.g., in eschatological discussions of "eternal" bliss and "eternal" torments, although it is obvious that two different modes of "eternity" are distinguished and opposed here; see below). Bad infinity would indicate only that creaturely being cannot encompass fullness. On the contrary, exhaustive fullness is realized not in bad infinity, in which it cannot be realized, but in a definite number of hypostatic centers. The governing Proto-image here is the Holy Trinity, where precisely three hypostases, not one or two, and not four or more, express, hypostatize the divine fullness. The same thing holds in the angelic world, although the number of angels and the inner justification of this number in relation to the fullness of angelic life are not revealed to us and remain unknown.

It is likewise with multiple human hypostases in relation to human fullness. This number too must be definite and therefore finite. We do not yet know this number, or its justification, but there is such a number. This is the "human number," human fullness. It is not important at what moment it will be realized in time, in empirical reality, but that moment of realization will come. Moreover, in nature, there are no repetitions of what bears the stamp of individuality and is a person. Only generic beings of the animal world, which are deprived of personality, are infinite with bad infinity. Being different specimens of their species and genus they, although empirically distinct, ontologically repeat one another. Individual immortality, personal eternity, is unnecessary and impossible for them, since there is no personality here. The fullness of the life of the genus and species is only a natural fullness; the multiplicity of individuals does not belong to it. In contrast, human fullness is a nature that is qualified in persons, who, being connected among one another, manifest human fullness in the image of the heavenly humanity of the Divine Sophia. If humanity were really subject to bad infinity, incapable of exhausting itself, it would even be incapable of setting such a task before itself. Humanity would then turn out to be completely subordinate to time; it would belong completely to creatureliness. But humanity has its own fullness, as a spiritual body, as an organism, as "Adam-Kadmon." Therefore, it belongs to eternity, though to creaturely eternity, which is realized in time.

These considerations lend support to the proposition that humanity is supratemporally created as a whole, by a single creative act, with the participation of creaturely self-positing. It is to this supratemporal being that the personal self-determination of every human being belongs, both in relation to himself, that is, to his own theme, and in relation to original sin, in relation to humanity and to the whole world. This self-determination is hidden in silence. It manifests itself only in the case of the empirical appearance of every man as a certain "predetermination" of him in this sense. Therefore, meta-empirically, the one integral humanity, Adam, exists; and it is possible for this integral humanity to determine itself in relation to the world and in relation to God. Its self-determination in relation to the world is original sin; its self-determination in relation to God is realized in the Incarnation and the redemption. This is the uncreated-created, divinecosmic being that is the true intermediary — metaxu — between God and creation: Divine-humanity. All of creation has in God a supratemporal foundation and through this foundation participates in eternity, for the creaturely Sophia is the image of the Divine Sophia. And, in this sense, humanity too, as the center of the world, originates from God's eternity, though in its creatureliness it is subject to becoming or creaturely temporality, which knows before and after. This dynamic unity is present in man, for every person is not only an individual but also an all-man in his supratemporality. But, in the world, this unity is actualized only in the succession of time, whose focus is, of course, the birth of the new Adam, the true God-man: "When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son" (Gal. 4:4), for time is the moving image of eternity (Plato), eternity in becoming.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
5. The Eternity and Temporality of Man

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