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Bulgakov. Absolute Subject Category: Society Ordering of society

Society. Hypostases
Love trihypostatic
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

To become love according to the image of the Holy Trinity

To lose its own soul in order to save it — such is the law of love as it is shown by the Word who established this law.

God-Love created human beings for love. The human heart wants to love and thirsts to be loved. It suffers when it does not love and when it is deprived of love. It wants to expand, to make room in itself, in its own life, for other lives, for many lives, for all lives; going out of itself it seeks to melt, to lose itself in the other, to become the other for its own self, to drown in the ocean of universal love. To lose its own soul in order to save it — such is the law of love as it is shown by the Word who established this law. To discover abundant wealth in spiritual poverty, to live not for oneself but with all and for all, to become in all of one's life the other for one's own self, to become in oneself the not-self, in one's own, the not-own, in emptying oneself to become filled, in humbling oneself to be exalted, to live in love, to become love according to the image of the Holy Trihypostatic and Consubstantial Undivided Trinity — such is the frontier for human nature. Being-closed-in-on-oneself, limitedness, self-love, self-desire, and self-worship are unnatural for a human being. That is the lot of sinful, fallen, perverted human nature, and not that of nature's law in its power and glory. For both as the generic being — Adam and Eve — that received a blessing from the Creator to go out of itself for the increase of descendants, and as the sovereign lord of all creation, capable of loving it in its own nature and comprehending it in love, the human being was created by God — a microcosm in a macrocosm, a small world "propertied" with the ability of turning not to itself but to the other, to humanity and to the whole world, and above all and in all — to the Lord God. A human being lives only to the degree and by how much it loves, and it dies to the extent and by how much it does not love. The one who loves is rich, for one becomes rich in God-Love. Created after the image of God, who created everything by love and who embraced everything by love, the human being is called to make room in its own love for everyone and everything. It only begins the first lessons of love; before it lies the life of the future age, all of eternity, which can be filled only by love, for there is no life and there is no eternity in non-love.

Нельзя любить только себя, жить только в себе и только для себя, замкнувшись в себе, не выходя из себя. Любя себя и свое, нужно любить не себя.

Нельзя любить только себя, жить только в себе и только для себя, замкнувшись в себе, не выходя из себя. Любя себя и свое, нужно любить не себя. …

Только такая любовь есть любовь свободная, не знающая границ. Как я не существует в единственности своей, но есть член некоего мы, так и любовь абсолютная не дается абсолютному, моноипостасному одинокому субъекту, но требует преодоления границ метафизического эгоизма. Как я есть функция многоединства, соборности, так и абсолютное отношение к миру требует освобождения от метафизической единственности. Бог-деспот, самовластник, себялюбец, изнемогающий в самозамкнутости Своей и имеющий мир лишь для удовлетворения эгоизма, не знающий себе в себе равного, не есть Бог. Таким образом, возникает постулат Божества, которое, будучи единым, насколько это проистекает из его абсолютности, было бы в то же время и не-единым, но в себе соборным. Понятие абсолютного, как миродержца, поэтому также ведет к апории, ибо противоречиво. Оно должно одновременно удовлетворять требованиям единства и многоединства; первое отвечает абсолютности существа, второе — абсолютности образа обладания. Таковы постулаты.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Главы о Троичности
1.C. Субъект в отношении ко всему или к миру

The burning in hell is the torment of love

Love cannot be monohypostatic, egocentric, self-directed. This is a contradictio in adjecto.

St. Isaac the Syrian once expressed the thought that the burning in hell is the torment of love.

Thus saith the Lord GOD: “will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.(Eze 28:11-18).

… extinguishing of love for God leads to the awakening of spiritual self-love, egocentrism, isolation and self-blinding, self-immersion, the seeing only of self, excessive pride in oneself. Satanical pride is a manifestation of the extinguishing of love for God; it obscures the image of God, the image of sacrificial and self-renouncing trihypostatic love, in which each of the hypostases acquires its own personal center not in itself but outside of itself, in other hypostases. Opposed to this humility and altruism of divine love is the pride of satanical unlove, which is incorrectly called "self-love," for this is a contradiction in terms: Love cannot be monohypostatic, egocentric, self-directed. A self-lover has no one and nothing to love in the case of this identity of the subject and object of love. Such an egocentric self-godhood inevitably contains the ineradicable, insurmountable consciousness of all the falsity of these pretensions, of this self-deification. Creatures know their creatureliness and, in this sense, their nondivinity or "nothing"-ness. Creatures are conscious of their createdness or givenness for themselves. To attribute one's own to oneself is a plundering, which is expressed in a cold fire of envy and a hatred of God to which this envy gives rise. It is expressed in a devouring rivalry with Him, in a madness of despair, in writhings and convulsions of envy. Here, creatures must continuously convince themselves that they are the equals of the Creator and even superior to Him. This is the fatal chain of satanical inflamement: unlove, pride, envy, hatred, despair, the dark flame. St. Isaac the Syrian once expressed the thought that the burning in hell is the torment of love: extinguishing love in themselves, beings created by love, in love, and for love do not stop being tormented precisely by what constitutes the inner law of their being. From the radiant flame of love, they become submerged in the dark, freezing, hellish fire of envy, hatred, malice. Hatred is the negative energy of love, love with a minus sign. But it preserves its "absolute" value, that power of love by which these beings are defeated in their spiritual suicide, which does not know death. The spirit that is in the image of God is a loving being; this spirit is created for love, which determines this spirit's entire life even in a fallen state. Satanical wickedness is the dark infernal face of inextinguishable love, love that has turned into its opposite.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
I.3.2. Creaturely Freedom as the Possibility of Good and of Evil


Во грехе рождается человеческая личность, не только как ипостась, творимая Богом, по образу Своему, но и как индивидуальность, обособляющаяся и отличающаяся от других.

После грехопадения всякая ипостась стала жить за свой собственный счет, как индивидуальность, и вместе с тем все оказались порабощены оброку греха, стали чадами гнева — τέκνα όργῆς (Еф. 2, 3).

Индивидуальность есть отсвет Денницы на человеке, которого он захотел извратить по образу своего метафизического эгоизма — моноипостасности без любви.

One ought to note particularly the consequence of natural sin indicated above: human personality is born in it not only as a hypostasis created by God in His image, but also as an individuality, which keeps aloof and separates itself from others. Through this the natural, ontological equality of people as multiple centres not only of a similar but also of a common single life becomes obscured and perverted. The wholeness of the human race collapses and comes unravelled together with the loss of chastity, and in place of multi-unity multi-difference appears, bad plurality, in place of concentricism there is eccentricism. This plural number contains the satanic lie, namely the like gods, which knows not only good but also evil, i.e., its own limitedness, and which is always carrying with itself its own shadow. Individuality is the reflected light of the Morning Star on a human being whom he desired to pervert according to the image of his metaphysical egotism — a multi-hypostaseity without love. It is in this sense the consequence of original sin: fallen humankind knows hypostasis only in the form of individuality, and the whole of humanity decomposes into individualities which logic considers possible to unite only in the abstract, by mentally inferring in brackets universal signs.

The loss of one's soul for the sake of Christ, that is, liberation from the captivity of individuality, is the condition of Christian salvation. But in the fallen world individuality is the sole form for the life of the soul, just as a sinful body is for the life of the flesh, and only life in Christ liberates the hypostasis from individuality, leading it into the multi-unity in love that is necessary for it, into the Church. Thus, we repeat once again, quite out of place is the question of whether the individuality of Adam has no decisive meaning for original sin: before the fall into sin there was no individuality, separating him from others, and Adam really was the representative of the entire human multi-hypostatic race. In him and his person every human hypostasis lived and acted harmoniously. So it was before the fall into sin, but after the fall it became otherwise: every hypostasis began to live after its own reckoning, as an individuality, and together all proved to be enslaved to the debt of sin, and became children of wrath — tekna orges (Eph 2:3).

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Burning Bush
II. The Power of Original Sin for the Mother of God

… The fullness of the human race, as well as of the angelic assembly, exists from all eternity in Divinity, and this fullness is revealed in the simultaneous creation of the angels and in the gradual creation of human beings in the course of time. The entire fullness of humanity, however, which is actualized in reproduction, is already precontained and precreated in Adam. But this pre-eternal eternal existence in God does not signify some other, preexistent life of the creaturely spirits, a life that is replaced by earthly life and represents a segment of it, as it were. The human world does not preexist «in heaven» as in another world, but it does find there a sufficient basis for itself: as far as its nature is concerned, the human world is based on the Proto-Images of the Divine world, and its hypostases are rooted in divine life. The creaturely hypostases are images of the noncreaturely Divine hypostases. These multihypostatic images, in their singularity, do not reflect God's trihypostatizedness; they can only reflect its individual hypostases. But can the Paternal Hypostasis be the Proto-Image for the creaturely hypostases when it itself is revealed in Sophia, the Divine world, not in its own countenance, but through the Son and the Holy Spirit? Even if one can admit the existence of holy angels corresponding to the Paternal Hypostasis, angels who are always submerged in Divinity as in Mystery and Silence, the image of the human hypostasis can only come from the hypostases that reveal the Father, both in His proper divine world and in the creaturely world.

The first of these hypostases is the hypostasis of the Logos; He is the Proto-Image of the creaturely human hypostases, and they are His rays: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). The human spiritual countenances are images of the Logos, the Man from Heaven. Insofar as the Logos as Christ gathers them into His body, into the Church, it is said about them that “there is neither male nor female” (Gal. 3:28).

Together with the Logos, the Third hypostasis is also the Proto-Image for the human hypostases, because the Third hypostasis reposes upon the Son and, together with Him, reveals the Father in the heavenly humanity. (In the Incarnation this hypostasis corresponds to the divine maternity, manifested by the Virgin Mary, the Spirit-bearer.) In other words, the human hypostases have a double Proto-Image, which belongs to the heavenly humanity in its two countenances: the Logos and the Holy Spirit. This also corresponds to the fact that man, created in the image of God, was created as both male and female, and the context of Genesis 1:26-27 compels one to see the fullness of the image of God precisely in this bi-unity. In man, a clear distinction is established between male and female, expressed in the fact that the female was made out of one of the male's ribs (not directly out of the dust of the earth) and, in general, in the fact that the male plays the dominant role, since he bears the image of the demiurgic hypostasis, the Logos. Male and female, differing as two distinct images of man, bear, in their unity, the fullness of humanity and, in this humanity, the fullness of the image of God: they bear the imprint of the dyad of the Son and the Holy Spirit, who reveal the Father. In their ability to reproduce, they contain the image of multi-unity that is inscribed in the human race as a whole. Thus, man is an uncreated-created, divine-cosmic being, divine-human in his structure by his very origin. He is the living image of the trihypostatic God in His Wisdom.

Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
The Creaturely Sophia

Триипостасная любовь vs моноипостасной

Моноипостасная любовь к себе есть порождение себялюбивой ограниченности и гордости, но не такова любовь к себе триипостасного субъекта, ибо она есть откровение своего как не-своего, раскрытие природы себя как другого, не гордость самоутверждающейся ограниченности, но смирение самоотвергающейся, безграничной любви. Эта любовь Божия есть не только предвечный акт жизни, но и содержание его, неразрывно соединенные между собою, и в этом соединении и заключается основание откровения Божия твари, перехода от трансцендентного к имманентному.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Ипостась и ипостасность
4. Бог в Себе и в откровении Своем.

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 pre-eternal 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 Fullness. 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 and 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…

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

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