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Bulgakov. Divine Motherhood Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Trinity. Monarchy of the Father
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Revelation instead of «origination»

The First hypostasis is the One that is Revealed, while in relation to this hypostasis the other two are its bihypostatic Revelation.

In this trinitarian mode of love, according to its meaning, there is only one subject, the center of revelation, and this constitutes the «monarchy» of the Father; and He is the center in relation to the hypostases of revelation, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

This trinitarian definition is not a relation of «origination», however, but the complex and concrete interrelation of the Revealed hypostasis and the Revealing hypostases.

The idea of the monarchy of the Father, which constitutes the very foundation of the trinitarian doctrine, was understood erroneously, that is, it was understood with reference to origination or production, an imaginary concept. Its true meaning, protecting this idea from the otherwise inevitable admixture of ontological subordinacionism, is that the First hypostasis is the One that is Revealed, while in relation to this hypostasis the other two are its bihypostatic Revelation. This implies, of course, a certain hierarchism, a voluntary hierarchism of the self-renouncing love proper to each of the hypostases of the Holy Trinity; each has its proper mode of concrete hypostatic love, ho tropos tis huparxeos.

In this trinitarian mode of love, according to its meaning, there is only one subject, the center of revelation, and this constitutes the «monarchy» of the Father; and He is the center in relation to the hypostases of revelation, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These two hypostases not only differ as different modes of this revelation, Word and Spirit (the predicate and the copula, so to speak), but they are also united as the bi-une mode of this Paternal self-revelation; and in relation to the monarchy of the Father they represent a certain dyad, in which one cannot think of one of the hypostases without thinking of the other.

This dyadism expresses a truth that is formulated differently by the Filioque and by the Greek dia. The Son cannot be separated in hypostatic self-definition from the Spirit, or vice versa. And neither can He be separated — hypostatically or dyadically — from the Father. This dyadic character of the relations of the Son and the Holy Spirit to the Father as the «Principle» is falsely expressed by the doctrine of two originations or productions from the Father: through generation and through procession. The two revealing hypostases, in their dyadic union as well as each separately, are correlated with the Father as their Principle as far as His self-revelation is concerned; and here the two are united as the unique but bihypostatic revelation of the Father.

Thus, one can say that the "being" of each of these two hypostases, in all the originality of their tropos huparxeos [mode of being], depends not only on the Father but also on the other co-revealing hypostasis. Therefore, with regard to the Son, one must say that, in being generated from the Father, He receives upon Himself from the Father the reposing of the Holy Spirit; and consequently in His "being" He is inseparable (although personally distinct) from the Holy Spirit. The being of the Son in all the originality of the Second hypostasis depends a Patre Spirituque [on the Father and the Spirit]. Likewise, concerning the Spirit one can say that He proceeds from the Father not in a general and abstract manner, but precisely upon the Son; consequently, we get dia tou Huiou or Filioque. This "que" ("and"), which Latin theology introduces in only one place, actually occurs in all places where the trinitarian definition of each of the trinitarian hypostases must be expressed. This trinitarian definition is not a relation of "origination," however, but the complex and concrete interrelation of the Revealed hypostasis and the Revealing hypostases.

It is this bi-unity of the Second and Third hypostases that is indicated by scriptural texts in which the Spirit is called Christ's: "the Spirit of truth" (John 16:13), "the Spirit of the Son" (Gal. 4:6), "the Spirit of Christ" (Rom. 8:9). These texts attest the dyadic connection of the Son and the Spirit, the fact that They are inseparable, although personally distinct. This is also attested in cases of a reverse character, which involve the reposing of the Holy Spirit upon the Son and Their inseparability in this sense. One should not forget that the God-Man received the name "Christ," and that this name tacitly includes the name of the Third hypostasis: "Anointed by the Holy Spirit." We find this in the narrative concerning the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus at the Epiphany, as well as in Jesus' direct application to Himself of Isaiah's messianic prophecy: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me" (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18). Also pertinent here is the whole series of texts where the Lord says that He expels demons by the Holy Spirit.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Ch. 2. The Procession of the Holy Spirit

Kenosis of the Son

In the kenosis of the Son, as it is manifested in relation to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, the inner hierarchy and, in particular, the monarchy of the Father are realized.

The Father is the determining principle in the entire ministry of the Son.

The Holy Spirit is the accomplishing principle, which proceeds from the Father.

Even in the kenosis of the Son, however, insofar as it is manifested in relation to the Father and to the Holy Spirit, the inner hierarchy and, in particular, the monarchy of the Father are realized. The Father sends the Son into the world, reveals to the Son His will, gives Him power, and finally sends the Holy Spirit down upon Him (as well as upon the Virgin Mary). In a word, the Father is the determining principle in the entire ministry of the Son. The Holy Spirit, in contrast, is the accomplishing principle, which proceeds from the Father. By the Holy Spirit, Christ works miracles and preaches the good news, does the will of the Father, and is thereby Himself sanctified and deified in His humanity. In the Holy Spirit, the hypostatic love of the Father for the Son is accomplished not only pre-eternally but also in the Incarnation. In the descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven, one hears the voice of the Father saying: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; also at the Transfiguration: Matt. 17:5; Mark 9:7). In His turn, the Son too speaks of the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father; by praying to the Father, the Son will send the Holy Spirit down upon His disciples.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
4. III. Christ's Divine-Human Consciousness of Self

Appearance of three angels

First of all one ought to dwell on the appearance of the Lord to Abraham in which the Church sees a mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity. The three angels, obviously, belong to the realm of the three divine hypostases, where the First naturally stands out, who speaks in the person of all and is called Lord (Genesis 18:13, 17, 20, 22, 33), while the remaining two angels (Michael and Gabriel?) are not defined in their hypostatic attributes. Perhaps this corresponds to the content of the theophany in which only a general and preliminary revelation of the Holy Trinity is given. Only the "monarchy of the Father" is deliberately disclosed here, the sense of which is that the entire Holy Trinity is the self-revelation of the Father in the Son and Holy Spirit. "Personal properties of the separate hypostases are generally speaking not disclosed." The appearance of God to Abraham in the guise of three angels is the only one in which a theophany has the externally manifested features of trihypostaseity; in all other cases we have the appearance of only one angel.

With very good reason it is possible to see the revelation of the First hypostasis, and hence of an angel that refers precisely to Its domain, in the theophany to Moses on Mount Horeb, "in the flame of fire out of the midst of the thorn bush" (Exodus 3:2). One can think this on the basis of the revelation of God's name, Jehovah-Yahweh, i.e., the One who is ("I am who I am" – Exodus 3:14). This Name of God in which the hypostatic character of Divinity is revealed as the absolute I corresponds most of all to the First hypostasis which out of itself begins the Holy Trinity. There is a basis too for seeing in the angel who appeared to Abraham at the sacrifice of Isaac the envoy of the First hypostasis, for here we have a prototype of the sacrificial sending of the Son by the Father, and the testing of Abraham's faith, which God sends him, consists precisely in the sacrifice of the son. "God said to him: 'Take your son, your only one, whom you love, Isaac and … offer him as a holocaust'" (Genesis 22:2). When Abraham had already raised the knife to stab his son, "the angel of the Lord said to him, now I know that you fear God and did not spare your son, your only one, for Me" (22:12). This sacrifice is pre-eternally predetermined by the Father who so loved the world that He gave up His only-begotten Son for its salvation (John 3:16). He does not require it of a human being to whom however it is given to complete its human prototype after having shown obedience to God. It is far more complicated to say in the person of which of the hypostases the angel speaks and acts, who at first appeared to Hagar alone and then with Ishmael (Genesis 16:7-13; 21:17-19); however, according to the character of his words ("multiplying I shall multiply your offspring" – 16:10, "I shall raise up from him a great nation" – 21:18), it is possible to see here as well a manifestation of the First hypostasis, "the Almighty."

Sergius Bulgakov
Jacob's Ladder: On Angels
Chapter 6

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