Kenosis of love
In the works of
Fr. Sergei Bulgakov
The connection of all-unity is the connection of
One must understand that the sophianic
belongs to God's life, enters into and participates in God's life, divinely lives. And if that is the case, then the connection of all-unity that is known by us as ideal-real is, in divine reality, the connection of
The logic and beauty of creation are God's
love's power of the cross of the mutual sacrificial self-renunciation of the hypostases, as well as the kenosis of
through which this
finds itself in its fullness and glory. God is love. This refers not only to the mutual personal love of the hypostases of the Trinity but also to divine life, to the self-revelation of God, the Divine Sophia. She is also love, first because she is the
of the love of the divine hypostases, to which she responds in her own way, although
hypostatically. In this nonhypostatic love, she unites herself, surrenders herself, and reveals herself in the proper life of the divine hypostases. But, in herself as well, she is love, as the ideal-real connection of the
In this divine
there is nothing that is not permeated with the power of love:
"And there is nothing in nature that is not full of love,"
as the poet said. Logic and aesthetics are also full of love, for a mutual connection of love between Truth and Beauty exists in the Divine Sophia. Love is all-unity, integral wisdom, cosmic altruism. The divine world in itself is an organism of love, a ladder of descending and ascending love.
Love is the bliss of self-identity, which completely overcomes altero-being.
There exists one absolute divine world,
Divine Sophia as the
in God, his life and self-revelation.
For, truly, love contains both the greatest necessity and the greatest freedom. Love is free, self-originating volition, which has in itself its own indestructible and inalienable foundation. Love is the bliss of self-identity, which completely overcomes altero-being, whether in enslavement to necessity or in the self-willfulness of freedom. Divine love is absolute;
it does not have anything
itself but includes everything in the totality of God's life. Therefore, divine love unites in itself unconditional groundedness or necessity with unconditional creative freedom. Unfreedom in love would be a contradiction. And this fullness of love in the divine world has no place for greater or lesser, for the inevitable or the merely possible. All is included in it by the power of fullness and is made equal by the power of love. Therefore, there is also no place here for the distinction of many or different worlds, merely possible or real, necessary or unnecessary, perfect or defective. There exists one absolute divine world,
Divine Sophia as the
in God, his life and self-revelation.
Hypostatic and nonhypostatic love
And since God is love, which has different modes, both hypostatic and nonhypostatic, the hypostases and the nature in God are united. But they are also distinguished and are realized as different realities of love. On this basis, the nature, Sophia, in God, being connected with the hypostases or hypostatized by them, has at the same time its own being.
God's self-determination as the Creator enters into the inmost depths of the divine being.
This is the foundation that, unique and freely necessary, determines the entire life of God, and outside of it nothing can be conceived in God. This foundation is love. God is love, and the creation of the world is the action of God's love, its self-revelation. God is love, and love is God's ontological self-determination, a self-determination that is not monotonously impoverished but multifariously diverse. Different in its mode is the love of each of the hypostases for the other hypostases: the love of the Holy Trinity for its nature, Sophia;
the love of Sophia for the Holy Trinity;
and the love of God for His creation and the love of creation for God. But all of it is love. God is love, and the creation of the world is love. And the world's being is thereby included in God's love. And if that is the case, if it is included in God's love by God Himself, then who can exclude it from God's love, impiously thinking that God does not have to love in
way and can do without
kind of love, thinking that, for God,
kind of love is superfluous and accidental?
Who will be so audacious and impious as to limit God's love, to differentiate in it what is necessary from what is not necessary, what is essential from what is not essential, what is ontological from what is accidental?
Is not the very idea of
a differentiation wrongly conceived and impious?
We are given and directed to differentiate the
of love, but not love itself, which is equally necessary and equally free (but not capriciously arbitrary)
its aspects. It is equally
for the God who is Love to love in Himself, in the Holy Trinity, in His nature, and in creation.
God is the Creator and the Creator is God.
That is the axiom of revelation. And this is the case not in the sense that God,
in addition to
being God, is also the Creator, though he did not have to be such. Rather, God is the Creator by virtue of the inner necessity of His nature, divine love, because God is love, which is exhaustive and includes all its modes, and in particular love for creation. One can say that God is the Creator just as essentially as He is the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that He is God having His nature, having his creation. God's self-determination as the Creator enters into the inmost depths of the divine being.
God, having His divinity as God in His Sophia, is also the Creator in His creation.
The foundation for this being consists in God's goodness.
In what way can non-divine and extra-divine being, creation, find a place for itself in God and in the divinity of His life?
The foundation for this being consists in God's goodness, in the power of love as God's very being:
"Only God is good."
This love is realized in God in all its fullness and possibilities. Among these realized possibilities is the kenotic sacrifice of God's love that is expressed in the positing, alongside divine being, of creaturely, non-divine being, given to itself. God loves himself with divine love not only in His own life in the Divine Sophia but also in the life of the world, that is, in the life of the same Sophia but freed, as it were, from the hypostatized being in God, in her non-hypostatic being. This, once again, is what
is: by virtue of it God, having His divinity as God in His Sophia, is also the Creator in His creation. The first definition is inseparably connected with the second.
The Holy Trinity in Unity, or the Unity in Trinity, renounces, as it were, in its sacrificially kenotic love the possession of the divine world for itself and allows this world to have its own being.
This trihypostatic kenosis of love is manifested in yet
way in the relation of God to the divine world in the act of creation. Here, the Holy Trinity in Unity, or the Unity in Trinity, renounces, as it were, in its sacrificially kenotic love the possession of the divine world for itself and allows this world to have its own being. The Trinity in Unity has, or posits, this world outside itself, in separateness from itself, precisely as the world, as nonhypostatic self-being. To be sure, ontologically, there can be no such separation of the world from God,
"for in him we live, and move, and have our being"
and, from all eternity, the divine world belongs to God, existent in the Holy Trinity, as His self-revelation. But
"in creating the world,"
in giving it self-being, God does not take away from it the divine force of its being. Rather, he posits the world outside Himself, as it were, releases it from Himself into divinely extra-divine and even non-divine being. This precisely means that God
creates the world.
This creation is, first of all, God's own self-determination in His own being.