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Bulgakov. God. Creator Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Creator. Self-determination of creation
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Creator's love for His creation.
Independence and self-determination of the creation

Creator respects the creaturely freedom, which is connected with creaturely limitedness.

God must suffer the world with its imperfection, without destroying its proper self-determination. He must suffer and … wait.

… for creaturely freedom, which is connected with creaturely limitedness, is the Creator's love for His creation. The sacrifice of this love consists in the fact that God must suffer the world with its imperfection,[81] without destroying its proper self-determination. He must suffer and … wait. And this restraint, this moderation, this kenosis of the Holy Spirit, is Love's self-sacrificing love.


[81] Chrisr says, “O fairhless and perverse generarion, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17).

The kenosis of the Holy Spirit in creation is compatible even with theomachic self-determination of this creation.

The Holy Spirit is bestowed upon creation not only in gifts of sacrament and divine descent but also in the very being of man according to natural grace. If the power of the Holy Spirit gives life and being to creation, it follows that this power abides in creation independently, to a certain degree, of creation's self-determination or fall. The kenosis of the Holy Spirit in creation, which possesses freedom of self-determination, is manifested not only in the fact that He voluntarily limits his power to the measure of creation but also in the fact that His power is compatible with the sinful, illegitimate, and even theomachic self-determination of this creation. Nevertheless, creation's life and being, which exist by virtue of the Holy Spirit, will not be taken away from it, and the power of the Spirit abides even in the enemies of the Spirit. Insofar as they live and have being (and it will not be taken away from them), Satan and his angels ontically remain in contact with this grace of creacion, this life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. This power acts even in hell, in hellish satanization, for hell too is a particular form — not of non being and absolute death — but of life and being.

The world has to pass through the gates of a kind of death to find the strength to cry out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24),

God created the world by His omnipotence and by His wisdom; and the creation is therefore perfect and "good" (cf. Gen. I), adequate to the thought of the Creator. But the plan for the creation includes its autonomous being and self-determination, and God's will as the interaction between the Creator and creation has therefore not been fully accomplished owing to this autonomy and freedom of the world, which was contaminated by nonbeing and evil in that metaphysical event which we call original sin. That is why we pray to God: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” God interacts with the world by His Providence, but in so doing He restrains His omnipotence in order to allow the world its freedom of action. There is no adequacy between God's will and the ways of the world, although in the final analysis God's wisdom overcomes these ways, for the world is powerless, in the end, to resist God's plan for it, and God's will is being accomplished and will be accomplished in it (otherwise vain would be the Son's prayer, which He has taught us, His brothers, the sons of God: “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”). And it is for this reason that the divinely inspired cry of amazement and prayer before the ways of God's wisdom issues from the lips of the Apostle, dumbfounded before one of the most unfathomable events, the fate of Israel, its election and rejection, its embitterment and final salvation: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out” (Rom. 11:33).

But until now the ways of Providence have been determined by the kenosis of God the Father, Who has restrained His omnipotence, which, of course, has lost none of its force; and that is why, for us, these ways are indicated by a series of antinomic oppositions. God provides for the world in such a way that nothing happens in it without the will of the Heavenly Father: He “knowerh what things ye have need of” (Matt. 6:8); “one of them [sparrows) shall not fall on the ground without (the will of) your Father, but the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (10:29-30); “your heavenly Father feedeth” the fowls of the air (6:26), as He does all creatures. There is in the world another will, however, another providence, an evil one, which opposes the Divine Providence actively or passively; and this is permitted by the Divine Providence. This idea is expressed with a divinely inspired clarity in the Book of Job.

God is love, but the world contains malice, struggle, and hatred. The world is full of the immeasurable suffering of creatures. Groans and wails are borne to heaven, but heaven remains mute and without answer. Such is the kenosis of the Father's Love.

God is goodness, but «the world lierh in wickedness»; and this wickedness is the law of the world, subjugated by the prince of this world. The world is suffocating in evil and malice; goodness appears to be impotent in the world — but heaven is silent. Such is the kenosis of the Father's love.

God is the source of Truth and Essential Truth itself; but the world does not desire truth. The children of the world are sons of their father, who is falsehood and the father of falsehood (John 8:44); but no limit for this falsehood is established from above, and heaven is silent. Such is the kenosis of the Father's love.

God is the King. But there is no place in the world for the Kingdom of God. It has crucified the King of kings and the Son of God; and it blasphemes against the Holy Spirit. But heaven is silent. Such is the kenosis of the Father's love.

God is Spirit and the source of inspiration, but the life of the world is foreign to spirit and inspiration. It is enmired in the service of the flesh, crawls in the lowlands of sensuality and spiritual sleep, exalts itself in frenzied atheism and blasphemous delirium, cursing all that is holy or remaining indifferent to it — and heaven is silent. Such is the kenosis of the Father's Love.

And this kenosis is so deep that the world has to pass through the gates of a kind of death to find the strength to cry out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24), «Credo quia absurdum», in order to see — contrary to all empirical evidence or in virtue of another, higher evidence — God and the Father, Who has reconciled the world with Himself in Christ (2 Cor. 5:19).

Such is the kenosis of the Father. It consists not only in the sacrifice of love, where the Father sends into the world His Son that He redeem it with His Blood, as well as the Holy Spirit that He actualize this redemption in the struggle with the sinfulness of this world. It also consists in the sacrifice of patience: it consists in suffering the being of the fallen world before the face of the God of Truth, the Judge of the world, the Omnipotent God.

Creative self-determination

Word is the what of creacion and spirit is its how.

Insofar as God Himself has included in creation the self-creative activity of creatures, this activity is new even before the face of God Himself as the Creator, although not in His eternity.

Pretension of a creature to be become the creator of the world is either a self-deception or a metaphysical thievery. Just consider Lucifer, «the prince of this world», thief and liar, and luciferianism in its different forms.

… the content of creaturely inspiration, as well as of creaturely life and being itself, is the words of the Word, the ontic all, the seeds of being. Word is the what of creacion and spirit is its how. Creacurely inspiration enables creatures to surpass themselves in each of their given states and thereby to grow in themselves. But it is always an inspiration with an object, with a theme; and by itself it is incapable of bringing anything new into that which exists, of enriching being with new themes. This does not mean that it is constrained or limited by a given theme of being, for potentially it contains «all», is so unlimited in this sense that it cannot be a limit. This all, which is without measure for creation, is, for all practical purposes, always new for creative activity. This novelty is a sign of creative activity, which cannot be a mere repetition of what is already given. The domain of creative activity lies not in the sphere of the given and already attained, but in the sphere of the proposed, with its possibilities. These possibilities, unactualized but being actualized, constitute the source of the new in creation, although this novelty is, so to speak, modal in character. Creaturely creative activity cannot, of course, produce anything new in theme and being; and thus it cannot enrich God Himself in His creative activity.

But God Himself has left man his share — precisely the human share — of participation in the creation of the world, for He has created the world only in its potential fullness. Man is given the power to creatively realize in himself and in creation his own theme and his own given, to realize it as his task, creating himself in a creaturely as well as creative manner, and thus in a new manner for himself. And this novelty, although it is modal in character, forms an inexhaustible source for the creative activity of creatures, with its eternal novelty. This eternity is not divine eternity, aeternitas, in which there is no becoming or time, and no place for novelty, for all things exist there supra-eternally in the fullness of one self-determining act. The new can occur only in creation, where, in infinite becoming, eternity is realized, but only a creaturely eternity, aeviternitas. Concerning creation, God says, in the language of creaturely becoming, “I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5; cf. 2 Cor. 5:17), for creation is always renewed. Insofar as God Himself has included in creation the self-creative activity of creatures, this activity is new even before the face of God Himself as the Creator, although not in His eternity. The ontological bounds of creaturely being with its self-creative activity are preestablished from the beginning. These bounds are given by the sophianic Dyad of Son and Holy Spirit, which, without separation and without confusion, establishes the sophianic foundations of creaturely being as its theme, fate, and supreme goal, never attained but always in the process of being attained. But man is not God and he can never become his own creator or the creator of the world. And if he pretends to be such, he is guilty either of gross self-deception or of metaphysical thievery. Just consider Lucifer, «the prince of this world», thief and liar, and luciferianism in its different forms.

In its creative self-determination, human personality has its autonomy, accepts responsibility for itself, is creatively audacious.

Creative inspiration represents a manifestation of the prophetic spirit.

The same Spirit bestows upon the Christian both the power of repentance and the energy of creative activity.

Creative self-determination is always new, individual, and original; and, in this sense, it is atypical and does not conform to any law. … If one would like to have a spiritual map of this path, it is universal history, which is not repeated and, most importantly, does not end with and is not exhausted by any one epoch. That is why, in its creative self-determination, human personality has its autonomy, accepts responsibility for itself, is creatively audacious; and there is no other way for it to exist. Moreover, one cannot evade this self-determination, by encapsulating oneself in obedience.

… Insofar as creative inspiration represents a manifestation of the prophetic spirit, the absence of rules and the newness of the path correspond to the very spirit of prophecy, which is directed toward the new and the unknown. There cannot be a «Philokalia» for creative activity, for the latter is outside of law and regularity. But at the same time there is no Christian creative activity that does not, in its heart, contain infinite humility and repentance before God for the sins of its creaturely and fallen being. The same Spirit bestows upon the Christian both the power of repentance and the energy of creative activity.

Humility and prophetic audacity, belong equally to spiritual life, to the concrete unity of the self-definition of the spirit, opening up to receive divine life.

One can say that, if humility is our love for God, then audacity and responsibility are our love for the world and for man.

The opposite of humility is pride, and the opposite of audacity is slavery and legalism; these truly are incompatible.

Antinomy is not contradiction, and antinomism is even inevitable and fruitful in the spiritual life. Both aspects, humility and prophetic audacity, belong equally to spiritual life, to the concrete unity of the self-definition of the spirit, opening up to receive divine life.

The fact is that man, the bearer of the image of God, is a creature, and a fallen one to boot: having been redeemed by Christ and having received the grace of the Holy Spirit, he can stand in the presence of God only in repentance and humility, which makes him open to divine life. But man is also a creaturely god by narure, who becomes such by grace. He feels himself called to live in the human race with its history, in this world, where the Kingdom of God is being realized. He feels himself to be a worker and creator, «a king, high priest, and prophet»; … The idea of the «militant Church», which is called to preach the Gospel to all nations, teaching them to accomplish all that is commanded by Jesus, this idea presupposes an active, responsible, creative attitude toward life. And the correct relation between humility and audacity is one in which the former nourishes the latter, while the latter actualizes the former. Torn away from humility, audacity is vulnerable to the temptation of demonism, of self-assertion, which seeks its own and therefore does not know Christian love, is not moderated by this love. One can say that, if humility is our love for God, then audacity and responsibility are our love for the world and for man. Audacity represents the second commandment, equal to the first. These are the two wings on which the human spirit soars upward.

… There must be audacity in humility and humility in audacity, which is inseparable from the acceptance of responsibility, for these two paths are not opposed and therefore can be combined. The opposite of humility is pride, and the opposite of audacity is slavery and legalism; these truly are incompatible.

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