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Bulgakov. Absolute Subject Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Trinity. Love trihypostatic
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Self-revelation of Love

There is, however, a common feature that characterizes love as such and thus all the forms of love. This is sacrificial self-renunciation, for the axiom of personal love is that there is no love without sacrifice.

And if the first axiom of love is that there is no love without sacrifice, the second — and supreme, because final — axiom is that there is no love without joy and bliss; and in general there is no bliss other than love.

In St. Augustine we find the following schema of love: the loving one — the loved one — love itself.

If God Who is in the Holy Trinity is love, the Holy Spirit is then the Love of love.

The self-revelation of the nature of Ousia-Sophia, which is realized through trihypostatic self-revelation and interrelation, is also the self-revelation of Love, for if God is Love, this means that the Holy Trinity is trihypostatic love. In other words, Divine Love is revealed in trihypostatizedness.

The intimate connection of the Holy Trinity is the connection of love. And this love is trihypostatic love: it has three aspects, which are «τρόποι τῆς ὑπαρξεως» (the essential modes) of the three hypostases. There is, however, a common feature that characterizes love as such and thus all the forms of love. This is sacrificial self-renunciation, for the axiom of personal love is that there is no love without sacrifice. But this sacrificialness is realized in a triple manner in the life of the Holy Trinity [These ideas have already been expounded in The Lamb of God]. The Father and the Son are in a relation of mutual self-renunciation. The interrelation of the Father and the Son, in its immediate aspect, is the tragic side of love, the Divine dissonance of sacrificial suffering, without which there can be no reality of sacrifice and no all-reality of love.

The question may arise: Is it possible to speak of suffering in the life of the All-blessful, Absolute God? The answer is that one cannot speak only of suffering in the life of God, for that clearly would be incompatible with the fullness and absoluteness of this life, and would signify limitation. However, it is impossible not to speak of sacrificial suffering precisely in the Absolute God, as an aspect of the intratrinitarian divine life, an aspect that is overcome and resolved in the same manner that dissonance is resolved in harmony. The latter should not be impoverished in Divinity by reducing it to boring, monotonous unison. The invincible power and fullness of Divine Life are defined by this resolution of dissonance. Love in the Holy Trinity needs to love in a maximally active and exhaustive manner, in the reciprocity of a sacrifice without limit.

But love is not only sacrificial suffering, dying, self-renunciation. It is also joy, bliss, triumph. And if the first axiom of love is that there is no love without sacrifice, the second — and supreme, because final — axiom is that there is no love without joy and bliss; and in general there is no bliss other than love. Being tragic, love is also the overcoming of tragedy; and the power of love consists precisely in this overcoming. Love is a concrete antinomy: sacrifice and the finding of oneself through sacrifice. And this bliss of love in the Holy Trinity, the comfort of the Comforter, is the Holy Spirit. In the whole of the patristic literature only in St. Augustine do we find this schema of love: the loving one/the loved one/love itself, although he says nothing about sacrifice and comfort as the overcoming of tragedy. But he understood the Third hypostasis as hypostatic Love, and this constitutes the undying value of his trinitarian theology.

The Holy Spirit, as the Third hypostasis, represents the intratrinitarian completion of the sacrificial love of the Father and the Son, as the joy of this sacrifice, as its bliss, as love triumphant. In this lies His significance as the Comforter, not only with regard to the world but also in intratrinitarian life. If God Who is in the Holy Trinity is love, the Holy Spirit is then the Love of love. He is the hypostatic Joy of the Father in the Son and of the Son in the Father; He is Their Joy in Him Himself and His joy in Him Himself and in Them. For both the Father and the Son love not only one another with hypostatic Love, with the Holy Spirit, but They also love hypostaric Love itself, hypostatic Joy itself, the Comforter; and are comforted by Him. He is Their common love, in relation to which even the Filioque comes into play in a certain sense (but not in the Catholic sense): in the sense of the love of the Father and of the Son, although in this «and» chey do noc merge co che poinc of indifferentiacion, to the point of losing their hypostatizedness (as in the Latin schema of the Filioque), but love in conformicy with their hypostatic nature.

The Father in His going out to the Son through generation acquires love in the Holy Spirit through His procession. These two moments of the dialectics of love, sacrifice and bliss, are united in the generation of the Son and the procession of the Holy Spirit, which are conjoined. The Son in His sacrificial self-humiliation also «simultaneously» receives the Holy Spirit, who proceeds upon Him from the Father and reposes upon Him, who passes «through» (διὰ) Him as the reciprocity of love, as answering love, as the ring of love. But the Holy Spirit Himself is hypostatic love. It is not only by Him and in Him that the other hypostases love, but He Himself loves. He Himself is love, comprising the whole path of love: sacrificial self-renunciacion, the sacrificialness of love, and its bliss. His sacrificial self-renunciation consiscs in hyposcatic self-annulment: unlike the Father and the Son, He Himself by His hypostasis does not reveal and is not revealed. He is only Their revelation, the Holy Spirit, who “searcheth … the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). The Holy Spirit announces not His own, but the Son of the Father. He is a transparent medium, imperceptible in His transparence. He does not exist for Himself, because He is entirely in the others, in the Father and the Son; and His own being is a nonbeing, as it were. But in this sacrificial self-dying is realized the bliss of love, the self-comforting of the Comforter, Self-joy, Self-beauty, Self-loving, the peak of love. Thus, in the Love that is the Holy Trinity the Third hyposcasis is Love itself, hypostatically accualizing in itself the entire fullness of love.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Trinitarity and the Third Hypostasis

Hypostatically, the Holy Spirit is the Paternal Love, by which the Father loves the Son and His (the Father's) creation.

Hypostatically, the Holy Spirit is the Paternal Love, by which the Father loves the Son and His (the Father's) creation. The identity of the Loving One and Love, the unity of the Father and the Holy Spirit, is self-evident, but just as obvious is their hypostatic difference, their hetero-hypostatizedness. The Father is the God Who is in heaven, whereas the Spirit is sent into the world. The Spirit is God's Love for the world, the living hypostatic connection between heaven and earth, inasmuch as He, descending into the world, also abides in heaven. The Loving One, the Father, abides in heaven, although He loves the earth. Herein lies the mystery of heavenly fatherhood for us: "Our Father which art in heaven." This invocation appears to contain a contradiction: How can the Father be one who abides in heaven and who therefore is transcendent for us? But there is a mysterious "art" here, which indicates the path of the Father's love for the world: the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the Lord's mysterious words about the unity of the Heavenly Father and the Son Who is on earth, the words "I and my Father are one," tacitly indicate this hypostatic bridge of love, this Third thing, which unites heaven and earth, as does the further unfolding of these words: "that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee" (John 17:21). This "in" as well as this "one" in God the Father and the Son, and, further, the "in them" (17:23), i.e., in the world, this is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father's love, revealing the Father's heart, afire with love for the Son.

According to this relation, the Father, the transcendent God, becomes known to us through the hypostases sent by Him, for all that we know about God in Them and through Them refers to the Father as well: "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me" (John 14:9,11); and this "in" is the Holy Spirit, searching the depths of God. Through this mutual transparence of the trinitarian hypostases we know the Unknowable, see the Unseeable. The hypostases who are sent do not wish to veil and do not veil the hypostasis who sends. They themselves testify about Him that He is the Father and God. The Father is the Principle; the one who sends reveals Himself, as it were, in the ones who are sent. Such is the Father's love, Love-Humility, Self-renunciation. As the Father is, so is the Son, Who in Himself also shows not Himself but the Father: "he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." So also is the Holy Spirit, Who in His transparence does not exist for Himself, as it were, but shows the Son in the Father and the Father in the Son. The Holy Spirit closes the eternal ring of trihypostatic love, which, however, has an eternal Principle in the Father and God.

This concealment of the One Who is revealed behind Those Who reveal is the supramundane kenosis of the Father's love in humility; and this kenosis is accomplished also with reference to the world, which recognizes the Father not face to face but only in the Son and through the Son by the Holy Spirit. This general kenosis of the Father's love further includes the kenosis of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The creation of the world is already in a certain sense the kenosis of the Creator, Who establishes alongside Himself the relative, creaturely, autonomous being of the world. But this world, damaged at its very foundation, is restored and "saved" by the kenosis of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, by the Divine Incarnation of the Son and the descent into the world of the Spirit, through Whom the Father is revealed and acts in the world. This action of the Father is doubly kenotic, as it were. God patiently adapts Himself to the infirmity of the world and awaits its salvation, His own enthronement in it, which will be accomplished after a long and tragic process: "Then cometh the end, when he [the Son] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father… for he [Christ] must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet" (1 Cor. 15:24–25). "And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God [ho Theos = the Father] may be all in all" (15:28), that the revelation of the Father by the Son and the Holy Spirit may be fulfilled in all things. But until this happens, God is not all in all, however He may dominate His own creation. What does this mean?

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
EPILOGUE: The Father

In the self-revelation of the Absolute, Divine Spirit there is no place here for self-loving monohypostatic limitedness, because the Divine Spirit is the Holy Trinity, because He is not a monohypostatic subject, but a trihypostatic Spirit, Who abolishes in Himself the limits of self-love. In a word, He is not self-love, but Love.

The self-revelation of the Holy Trinity is realized in such a way that God the Father, Who is the initial hypostasis and contains the entire fullness of the divine nature or Sophia as Love, renounces, in His self-revelation, this fullness for or in Himself, and goes out of Himself by the «generation» of the Son.

The self-revelation of the Father in the Word, Truth, is dyadically united with self-revelation in the Spirit of the Truth, the hypostatic Life of Divinity, which properly is the Love of God for Himself in His ousia as Sophia, or for His own being.

… in the self-revelation of the Absolute, Divine Spirit there is no place for any givenness or extrapositing of untransparent nature: The Divine ousia is thoroughly transparent for the Spirit and in this sense is Sophia [Cf. The Lamb of God, ch. 1], entirely hypostatized and not leaving a place in itself for anything that is not hypostatically clarified (for any Urgrund or bottomless abyss). Second, there is no place here for self-loving monohypostatic limitedness, because the Divine Spirit is the Holy Trinity, because He is not a monohypostatic subject, but a trihypostatic Spirit, Who abolishes in Himself the limits of self-love. In a word, He is not self-love, but Love.

The self-revelation of the Holy Trinity is realized in such a way that God the Father, Who is the initial hypostasis and contains the entire fullness of the divine nature or Sophia as Love, renounces, in His self-revelation, this fullness for or in Himself, and goes out of Himself by the «generation» of the Son [Cf. the deduction of triniry in The Lamb of God, ch. 1-2]. The Son then is the hypostatic self-revelation of the nature of the Father, or the hypostatic Sophia, the self-consciousness or hypostatization of the Divine ousia of the Father; the Son is present before the Father as His Truth and Word, His knowledge of Himself in the Son: “no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; and neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son” (Matt. 11:27). Not being, of course, the causal origination of the Son from the Father, the «generation» is a living interrelation of two hypostases, in which one is revealed and the other reveals. These hypostases do not arise in this self-revelation, but are mutually self-defined through Their relation in the divine ousia.

This dyadic interrelation of the Father and the Son is concrete and irreversible: the Father engenders, the Son is engendered, not vice versa. Just as all the hypostases are equivalent in their hypostaric I-ness, so they are concrete and therefore distinct in their ousia-ness. The relation of «generation» precisely expresses — from the side of the Father — the self-revelation of the Father not in and through Himself, but in and through the Son; whereas from the side of the Son it expresses His self-revelation through but not for Himself and thus not in Himself, but in the Father: the Father engenders, the Son is engendered. The Father out of Himself goes into the Son, while the Son out of Himself goes into the Father, but this movement of going out of oneself starts with the Father, proceeds to the Son, and returns from the Son to the Father. The Father is the subject, the Principle; the Son is the predicate, the Word.

This dyadic relation of the Father and the Son can in no wise exhaust the self-definition of the Absolute Spirit, however, for it is characterized not only by self-revelation as self-consciousness, as being in truth, but also by self-revelation as self-life, as being in beauty, as the living-out of its proper content. The self-revelation of the Father in the Word, Truth, is dyadically united with self-revelation in the Spirit of the Truth, the hypostatic Life of Divinity, which properly is the Love of God for Himself in His ousia as Sophia, or for His own being. This third aspect of the self-revelation, not only in knowledge (ideally) but also in life (really), is the living connection (the copula between the subject and the predicate), the life of Divinity in Its Own and in Itself. The Father, as the initial hypostasis, is not only revealed in His Ousia-Sophia through the Son, but also lives in her by the Holy Spirit. And the Son not only reveals the Father through Himself in His Ousia-Sophia, but also lives in her by the Holy Spirit. And this life in reality, Ousia, as the divine reality of the Truth, or Beauty, actualizes in itself the mutual being of the Father for the Son and of the Son for the Father, not only in the statics of ideal self-definition but also in the dynamics of the life of the one hypostasis through the other. But this dynamics of life is, once again, not only a state and in this sense a given of external self-definition, for which there is in general no place in the absolute subject. It is also a hypostasis.

This Life of the Father and of the Son has as its source, naturally, the Initial hypostasis of the Father, Who reveals Himself in the Son. This life exists for the Father hyposcatically as the Holy Spirit, Who is not generated but «proceeds» from the Father. This distinction between generation and procession is, according to the general testimony of the Church Fathers, a mystery of the Divine life inaccessible to human comprehension. «Procession» expresses a mode of relation co che Father chat is different from the Son's relation to Him. The starting point here too is the self-revelation of the Father, which is realized in the Son, but is not exhausted by this. Rather, it is completed by the procession of the Holy Spirit from the very same Father, from the Father of the Son, and therefore with the Son, in the Son, through the Son.

In other words, the relation of the Holy Spirit to the Father is not only a dyadic one. If it were, the Holy Trinity would then be divided into two parallel dyads: Father-Son and Father-Spirit, which would not be connected and would be united in the Father only by the unity of «origination». One can therefore say that the Father has two different functions: He engenders the Son and He is the Spirator of the Spirit, Who proceeds from Him. There may even arise the question: Is the First hypostasis the Father only in relation co the Son, while being the Spirator in relation to the Spirit, the one from whom the Spirit proceeds? In reality, this relation is a triadic one, because the Holy Spirit is the Life of the Father and of the Son, of the Father in the Son and of the Son in the Father; while for Himself the Holy Spirir is this And (or Is, the copula of the subject and the predicate).

In other words, in His very being, as the ontologically Third hypostasis, not in a dyad but in the Holy Trinity, consubstantial and without separation, the Holy Spirit already presupposes fatherhood and sonhood. This hypostasis completes the self-revelation of the Divine Spirit by definitively overcoming in Him all givenness; not only the content of His self-revelation but also His life acquires a hypostatically transparent character, is a hypostasis. Therefore, a complete adequacy between hypostasis and ousia is achieved; all of God's being is personal as well as natural; there is no extrahypostatic nature and no extranatural hypostatizedness. The subject is exhaustively defined by the predicate; and between them there exists just as exhaustive a connection. Natural being is hypostatized in all these elements. There exist three hypostases, not more and not less; and these are not three abstract hypostases, but the First, Second, and Third, the trihypostatic interrelationship, the Holy Trinity, the Absolute Spirit.

The Third Hypostasis completes the self-revelation of the Divine, Holy Spirit. This hypostasis is in fact the Holy Spirit in the Spirit of God. Among other meanings, this name attests precisely to such a completing significance of the Holy Spirit in the self-revelation of the Divine Spirit. And although, of course, both the Father and the Son are Spirit, inasmuch as God is, in general, Spirit, the Third hypostasis is the Holy Spirit par excellence, as the self-revealing spirituality of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit in the Divine Spirit is the Third hypostasis because, in a certain sense, He is also the Final hyposcasis.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Trinitarity and the Third Hypostasis

Триипостасный акт любви

Бог есть любовь, и Св. Троица есть Триипостасный акт любви, как единая жизнь.

Три Ипостаси совершают единый акт любви, в нем открывая свою собственную сущность.

Божественная жизнь осуществляется как единый акт триипостасного взаимооткровения. Это взаимооткровение есть ипостасный акт любви самоотвергающейся и себя осуществляющей в другом и чрез другое.

Бог есть любовь, и Св. Троица есть Триипостасный акт любви, как единая жизнь. Эта единая жизнь, природа, существо, осуществляется в триедином ипостасном акте. Любя взаимно Друг друга, Три Ипостаси совершают единый акт любви, в нем открывая свою собственную сущность. Пресвятая Троица должна быть понята как триединый акт взаимности, в котором силою ипостасной любви открывается единая жизнь, и не как «система происхождений», каковой является она в католической доктрине, но как единое взаимоотношение во взаимооткрывающейся ипостасной любви. «Происхождение» в Св. Троице является лишь одним из образов этой взаимности, отнюдь не единственным. Божественная жизнь осуществляется как единый акт триипостасного взаимооткровения. Это взаимооткровение есть ипостасный акт любви самоотвергающейся и себя осуществляющей в другом и чрез другое. Есть Открывающийся и Открываемый, но это взаимооткровение не есть простое рефлективное взаимоположение одного чрез другое, но есть акт взаимной любви. Рождение и исхождение суть акты внутренней любви, в котором Отец рождает сына, а Сын рождается от Отца, причем это рождение в обоих смыслах одинаково — есть акт взаимной любви. Рождение и исхождение суть акты внутренней любви, в которой выражается единая жизнь Божества, т. е. Любовь. Одна и та же жизнь, или природа, или сущность, существует, трояким образом в личном откровении. Три Ипостаси суть здесь уже не просто три ипостасных центра, взаимноравные и неразличающиеся, но в едином слитном акте получающие свои ипостасные определения: Отец, Сын и Дух Святый. «Происхождение» не исчерпывает этого триединого взаимоотношения: Сын рождается от Отца, но Он существует как Сын и для Духа Святого; Дух Святой исходит от Отца, но как исходящий Дух он существует и для Сына; Отец есть не только Отец для рождаемого Сына, но и для исходящего Духа Святаго. Вопрос о «происхождениях» получил совершенно несоответственное место единственного ипостасеобразующего начала, между тем как происхождение есть лишь один из моментов ипостасных взаимоотношений, предполагающих рядом с собой и другие моменты.

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.

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