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Bulgakov. Sacred number Category: Theosis Self-definition of Hypostases

God. Trinity. Sacred number
In the works of St. Basil of Caesarea

One God not in number but in nature

We confess one God not in number but in nature.

Everything which is called one in number is not one absolutely, nor yet simple in nature. If we call God one in nature we utterly exclude number from that blessed and spiritual nature.

Number relates to quantity; and quantity is conjoined with bodily nature, for number is of bodily nature. Monad and Unity on the other hand signify the nature which is simple and incomprehensible.

2. … Against those who cast it in our teeth that we are Tritheists, let it be answered that we confess one God not in number but in nature. For everything which is called one in number is not one absolutely, nor yet simple in nature; but God is universally confessed to be simple and not composite. God therefore is not one in number. What I mean is this. We say that the world is one in number, but not one by nature nor yet simple; for we divide it into its constituent elements, fire, water, air, and earth. Again, man is called one in number. We frequently speak of one man, but man who is composed of body and soul is not simple. Similarly we say one angel in number, but not one by nature nor yet simple, for we conceive of the hypostasis of the angel as essence with sanctification. If therefore everything which is one in number is not one in nature, and that which is one and simple in nature is not one in number; and if we call God one in nature how can number be charged against us, when we utterly exclude it from that blessed and spiritual nature? Number relates to quantity; and quantity is conjoined with bodily nature, for number is of bodily nature. We believe our Lord to be Creator of bodies. Wherefore every number indicates those things which have received a material and circumscribed nature. Monad and Unity on the other hand signify the nature which is simple and incomprehensible. Whoever therefore confesses either the Son of God or the Holy Ghost to be number or creature introduces unawares a material and circumscribed nature. And by circumscribed I mean not only locally limited, but a nature which is comprehended in foreknowledge by Him who is about to educe it from the non-existent into the existent and which can be comprehended by science. Every holy thing then of which the nature is circumscribed and of which the holiness is acquired is not insusceptible of evil. But the Son and the Holy Ghost are the source of sanctification by which every reasonable creature is hallowed in proportion to its virtue.

Everything that is one in number is not simple. But who is mad enough to describe the Holy Spirit as composite, and not simple, and consubstantial with the Father and the Son?

10. … Furthermore if he calls the Holy Ghost a creature he describes His nature as limited. How then can the two following passages stand? "The Spirit of the Lord fills the world;" Wisdom 1:7 and "Whither shall I go from your Spirit?" But he does not, it would seem, confess Him to be simple in nature; for he describes Him as one in number. And, as I have already said, everything that is one in number is not simple. And if the Holy Spirit is not simple, He consists of essence and sanctification, and is therefore composite. But who is mad enough to describe the Holy Spirit as composite, and not simple, and consubstantial with the Father and the Son?

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