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Bulgakov. God. Trinity Category: Theosis Bulgakov. God. Creator

God. Trinity. Incarnation of God
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Life in Christ is also a life in the Holy Trinity

Christ's life is inseparable from that of the Holy Trinity.

The body of Christ lives in Christ, and by that very fact in the Holy Trinity.

… Christ is not only a Divine Person. Since His own life is inseparable from that of the Holy Trinity, His life is consubstantial with that of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus it is that, although a life in Christ, the Church is also a life in the Holy Trinity. The body of Christ lives in Christ, and by that very fact in the Holy Trinity.

Fr. Sergeĭ Bulgakov
Православие
Церковь

The development of the soteriological doctrine is possible, evidently, only on the basis of homoousianism, i.e., the acknowledgement of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father.

St. Athanasius' doctrine opens with a polemic against Arianism; and its theological emphasis is christological and logological. The central element ment of his doctrine is in part soteriological, inasmuch as only the incarnation nation of the true God is capable of accomplishing the full restitution and deification of man. The development of this soteriological and christological doctrine is possible, evidently, only on the basis of homoousianism, i.e., the acknowledgement of the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father; …

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
INTRODUCTION: V. Homoousianism
in the Trinitarian Doctrine of St. Athanasius of Alexandria

The Mystery of the Incarnation in the Light of the Trinity

The Father sends the Son, and this sending is an act of the Father's sacrificial love, the Father's kenosis, which dooms the beloved Son to the cross, who takes upon himself the feat of the cross.

The Holy Spirit rests on the Son as the abiding principle of the incarnation. It cannot be that when the Son dies, the Spirit resting on him does not co-die with Him and in Him by the very fact that He “leaves” Him in this dying.

The guiding principle in comprehending the mystery of the Incarnation still remains that it must be comprehended in the light of the trinity. Although it is the Son, the Second Hypostasis, who incarnates, yet in His incarnation He does not separate from the Holy Trinity, but abides in divine union with the Father and the Holy Spirit. This unity, indestructible in eternity, in "heavens", is in its own way also indestructible in God's incarnation, on "earth". And in it there is the participation of all three hypostases, each in its own way: the Father sends the Son, and this sending is an act of the Father's sacrificial love, the Father's kenosis, which dooms the beloved Son to the cross, who takes upon himself the feat of the cross. The feat of the Son is also the self-denying love of the Father, who, "sending" the Son, dooms himself to compassion and co-crucifixion, although in a different way than the Son. Due to the fact that there is the passion of the cross of the God-man, there is also the passion of the cross of the Father, the passion of compassionate love, why self-crucifixion. It is necessary to understand the “sending” of the Son by the Father not as an act of power and command, but as consent, initiative, beginning, hypostatically characteristic of the Father. It includes the fullness of the acceptance of the passion of the God-man through Divine fatherhood. Even human fatherhood indicates the image of this unity of the life of father and son in their destinies, despite all the limitations of paternal and filial love in man. The Father and the Son still have one life, one joy and suffering, although in different ways. One cannot even say that the Son suffers and the Father does not suffer, or that the First suffers more and the Second less, both suffer together. The salvation of the world and redemption, the deification of man is a single act of the Father and the Son. The Son does the will of the Father, and this is the unity of will and mutual knowledge (“no one knows the Son, only the Father, nor the Father, who knows only the Son”) testify to the unity of life and the unity of suffering in the general, though different for each, kenosis of love.

But the same participation in the atoning sacrifice of the Son is characteristic of the Holy Spirit, who is sent by the Father into the world to the Most Pure Mother of God, for the Mother of God to be conceived, and for the Divine Son in His service. The Holy Spirit rests on the Son as the abiding principle of the incarnation. But to this extent kenosis also extends to Him. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me…" (Luk 4, 18). The ministry of the Son is at the same time the ministry of the Holy Spirit, more precisely, His co-service. This co-service is the love of the Father for the Son, uniting them into dual unity, just as this unity itself is hypostatic Love, the Holy Spirit. But we must also understand this hypostatic love of the Holy Spirit as participation in self-belittling, dying, death, although not on the cross. It cannot be that when the Son dies, the Spirit resting on him does not co-die with Him and in Him by the very fact that He “leaves” Him in this dying. The dying of the God-man is therefore not only the co-dying of the Father, but also of the Holy Spirit, the Trinity consubstantial and indivisible.

The implementation of the "economic" trinity

The "economic" trinity in relation to the creation of the world and redemption in its implementation is accompanied by a changing relationship of hypostases.

The eternal (ontological) triunity of the Holy Trinity is not accessible to either belittlement or division. But the "economic" trinity in relation to the creation of the world and redemption, although it is expressed in the difference in the action of individual hypostases, remains unshakable and only in its implementation is accompanied by a changing relationship of hypostases. Such a change is the descent from heaven and the incarnation of the Son sent from the Father, together with the sending of the Holy Spirit into the world on the incarnating Son, and the abandonment of the Son by the Father is a similar change. Such a change, of course, must be understood economically, and not ontologically in relation to each of the hypostases. And above all to the hypostasis of the Father. What does it mean for the Father to "forsake" the Son? Is it the end of the love of the Father for the Son? But this is impossible and completely out of the question. However, it is not impossible, and, on the contrary, there is a cessation of the tangibility, the manifestation of this love. The Love of the Father, as it were, closes in itself, becomes unprofitable to the Son. The Son feels, as it were, a separation or distance from the Father, a kenotic-sacrificial loneliness on the cross. The cup did not pass, it had to be drunk by the Son, such was the will of the Father. But this will is not only an imperious and powerful, authoritarian commanding will. It is a tearing act in the Holy Trinity: Fatherly love is closed for the Son in His highest suffering, and this is the greatest sacrifice of the Father's love. The Father “leaves” the Son not by ceasing to love Him, but by ceasing to show this love to Him, making it imperceptible, hiding in heaven, the veil of which becomes impenetrable: darkness has fallen over the world, in which the Son of God alone tastes death on the cross. “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour (when the darkness of God-forsakenness was completely outlived) Jesus cried with a loud voice (as if on behalf of this whole God-forsaken world), saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat 27, 45-46). And that was already death: “Jesus, again crying out with a loud voice, gave up his spirit.” The Father's command to drink the cup of death was fulfilled. But the verdict also extended to the Father who commands: of course, not in the divine-human, but in the divine acceptance of the partaking of the death of the Son by the love of the Father. In temple painting, the Father is usually depicted in grief over the death of the Son on the cross, but the Son was alone in His abandonment, the Father's love and His sorrow were hidden from Him. The Son remains alone in his dying, just as the Father, as it were, is deprived of the Son in His sacrificial “it is finished.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,… that the world through him might be saved.” (Jhn 3, 16-17). Until recently, He taught His disciples: “I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (Jhn 16, 27-28). But this procession from the Father into the world was not yet an abandonment. On the contrary, although “you leave me alone, but I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” But the hour came when the Father hid himself, and God forsook Him: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”

Unity in death

And by the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father to the Son, the Father loves the Son, just as the Son, who receives upon Himself the rest of the Holy Spirit, loves the Father in Him. The abandonment of the Son by the Father signifies the removal of the Holy Spirit from the resting Son.

And about the ninth hour (when the darkness of God-forsakenness was completely outlived) Jesus cried with a loud voice (as if on behalf of this whole God-forsaken world), saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mat 27, 45-46).

… how exactly can the very connection of the Father and the Son be understood in Their co-existence, union until the separation and abandonment of the Son by the Father. This bond of love is Their hypostatic unity in the Holy Spirit. He is the hypostasis of love and hypostatic love itself. And by the Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the Father to the Son, the Father loves the Son, just as the Son, who receives upon Himself the rest of the Holy Spirit, loves the Father in Him. The abandonment of the Son by the Father signifies the removal of the Holy Spirit from the resting Son. The Father, as it were, ceases to send His Spirit to the Son, again, one must remember that ontologically, in "heaven", in the life of the Holy Trinity, the mutual connection of hypostases is indestructible, and there can be no place for any kind of mutual abandonment. But “economically”, in relation to God to the world, as the Creator to creation, a separation of hypostases takes place, as it were, because the very hypostasis of unity, the Holy Spirit, “leaving” the Son, as it were, ceases to unite the Son with the Father, but remains with the Father.

The Father dies with the dying Son, and the Holy Spirit also dies, each according to his own hypostatic character, and only in this threefold co-dying does the Son's dying take place.

Love, as it were, does not love for the sake of love, a perfecting effect, remaining inactive — such is the incomprehensible contradiction to the hypostatic property of the Holy Spirit.

The image of the Holy Trinity in this sorrow of co-dying, although it retains its triplicity, but as if in an eclipsed luminary.

If the Holy Spirit is a hypostasis of the Father's and Son's love in the Holy Trinity, then what can mean for Her, as it were, the cessation of this love in "the abandonment of the Son by the Father"? We can comprehend this only in the analogy of the mutual separation of the Father and the Son. The abandonment of the Son by the Father can only be understood as the Father's participation in the dying of the Son, in the suffering of self-denying, sacrificial love. But what can one think about the hypostasis of love, which has become impossible to love, because for the cause of this love there has come "abandonment", as if involuntary inaction. Love, as it were, does not love for the sake of love, a perfecting effect, remaining inactive — such is the incomprehensible contradiction to the hypostatic property of the Holy Spirit. In human language there are not even words to express this impossibility to love for Love itself, and there is no thought to comprehend it. “The Spirit breathes where it wants” (Jhn 3, 8), but now the Spirit ceases to breathe on the Son as if His breath stops. Perhaps it is most natural to express this impossibility, which makes Love imperceptible, as if not existing for the Beloved, as death, more precisely, as the same common dying together with the Son. The Father dies with the dying Son, and the Holy Spirit also dies, each according to his own hypostatic character, and only in this threefold co-dying does the Son's dying take place. It is precisely this that is the death of the Son, its precondition. And the co-dying of the hypostasis of Love does not refer only to this one hypostasis in Its coming separation from others, the Father and the Holy Spirit co-die in their mutual unity, together with the dying of the Son, one together with the other, the Father with the Holy Spirit. For unity in love also unites in mortal sorrow of co-dying. … the image of the Holy Trinity in this sorrow, although it retains its triplicity, but as if in an eclipsed luminary. This is not separation, but unity in dying for each hypostasis in its own way, separately and for all in the aggregate.

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