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

Sophia
The Divine Sophia
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

The Divine world

Sophia is the Divine world, existing in God «before» the ctreation.

Sophia is the Wisdom of God; she is the Glory of God; she is the humanity in God; she is the Divine-Humanity; she is the body of God (or the «garment» of Divinity); she is the Divine world, existing in God «before» the ctreation. All this contains «sufficient grounds» for creation in accordance with the principle «that which is above is also below». In other words, it contains «sufficient grounds» for the sophianicity of creation.

Fr. Sergeĭ Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
I. 4. The Divine Sophia

Sophia contains life, although it is not for herself, for she is hypostatized in God.

…Sophia, or the Divine world, is the pan-organism of ideas, the organism of the ideas of all, about all, and in all; she is Integral Wisdon. In herself, Sophia contains life, although it is not for herself, for she is hypostatized in God. How should one understand this divine organism, or this spiritual body, which is the revelation of the Glory of God? This organism is a certain living essence, a living, spiritual, although nonhypostatic entity, the Divinity of God, living by an integral but also differentiated and qualified life.

Fr. Sergeĭ Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
I. 4. The Divine Sophia

Consubstantiality of God's nature is eternally revealed in God as the Divine Sophia, Truth in Beauty, the ideal-real life of God, the divine world.

She exists in herself, but not for herself. She exists for the hypostatic God.

She belongs to the divine trihypostatic Person as this Person's life and self-revelation.

God is self-subsistent and self-sufficient, the consubstantial and indivisible Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity. This consubstantiality of God's nature is eternally revealed in God as the Divine Sophia, Truth in Beauty, the ideal-real life of God, the divine world. This world possesses divine noncreaturely suprabeing, for it is the being in and for itself of the divine trihypostatizedness itself. … it is God's own life, inseparable from personal divinity, as His self-revelation. … As divinity, Sophia is nonhypostatic (is not a «fourth hypostasis»), but she is eternally hypostatized in the Holy Trinity and never exists nonhypostatically or extrahypostatically. She belongs to the divine trihypostatic Person as this Person's life and self-revelation. She exists in herself, but not for herself. She exists for the hypostatic God. The Divine Sophia contains the entire fullness of divine being, but she does not exist in isolation from the divine trihypostatic Person. Divinity belongs to the personal God.

Fr. Sergeĭ Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
I. 1. 3. The Sophianicity of the World

The Divine Spirit

The Holy Trinity is equally real in one hypostasis and in tree hypostases.

The Divine Person is the pre-eternally realized reciprocity of love that totally vanquishes personal isolation and identifies three in one.

In relation to the hypostasis of God as the Absolute Subject, there is the trihypostatic personality, which in one personal consiousness of self unites all the modes of the personal principle: I, thou, he, we, and you:…
Fully manifested and actualized, the personal principle, the hypostasis, is a trihypostatic personality, in which the personal unity is revealed in the reality of three hypostattic centers, or hypostases, in triunity. Triunity is the divine number, not three and not one, but preciesely triunity. Such hypostatic being is realized not statically,… rather it is realized dynamically, as the eternal act of trinitarian self-positing in another. … Dynamically, the personality actualizes itself as the initial principle of self-renouncing love, as the going out into another I. The Holy Trinity as a prsonality is precisely such a dynamic personal principle. … Therefore, the first thing one must say about the Divine Person is that, as trihypostatic, this Person is equally real in one hypostasis and in tree hypostases, that this Person is the pre-eternally realized reciprocity of love that totally vanquishes personal isolation and identifies three in one, while itself existing by the real being of these personal centers [1].


[1] On this subject, as well as on the further considerations in the present chapters, see my work «Chapters on Trinity». I will not repeat the discussion in that work here.

Fr. Sergeĭ Bulgakov
The Lamb of God
I. 2. The Divine Spirit

Revelation of the Absolute

There is religion as the knowledge of God and His revelation, and it not only reveals God in the world, but at the same time gives knowledge about God Himself, about the mystery of the Holy Trinity: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him(Jhn 1, 18).

We have, on the one hand, complete transcendence of the Deity in its essence (οὐσία), but at the same time the Absolute opens up, becomes God for the world in His action (ἐνέργεια).

The Absolute as Transcendent and as God. The Divine in Itself is an unknown mystery, inaccessible to any consciousness. God “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see(I Tim 6, 16). Everything that can be said about Him only expresses what He is not, it is pure NOT of “negative theology”. And yet there is religion as the knowledge of God and His revelation, and it not only reveals God in the world, but at the same time gives knowledge about God Himself, about the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and thus the barriers of “negative theology” seem to be weakened and fall down. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him(Jhn 1, 18). So, we have, on the one hand, complete ignorance (transcendence) of the Deity in its essence (οὐσία), but at the same time the Absolute opens up, becomes God for the world in His action (ἐνέργεια).

The trinitarian life of the Holy Trinity is all-blessed, or absolute; it admits neither amplification nor increment.

The love for oneself of a trihypostatic subject is the revelation of one's own as not one's own, the disclosure of the nature of oneself as another, not the pride of self-affirming limitation, but the humility of self-denying, boundless love.

God in Himself and in His revelation. The trinitarian life of the Holy Trinity is all-blessed, or absolute; it admits neither amplification nor increment. How is self-revelation possible, which becomes available to the creature? Trinitarianism is not only the love of the Three Ones for each other, but also the love of God for Himself as a trinitarian subject to His self-disclosure. Monohypostatic love for oneself is a product of selfish limitations and pride, but such is not the love for oneself of a trihypostatic subject, for it is the revelation of one's own as not one's own, the disclosure of the nature of oneself as another, not the pride of self-affirming limitation, but the humility of self-denying, boundless love. This love of God is not only the pre-eternal act of life, but also its content, inseparably connected with each other, and in this connection lies the foundation of the revelation of God's creation, the transition from the transcendent to the immanent. God, living in unapproachable light, is also God who reveals himself. There is a self-revelation of God, the Glory of God, and it is this that becomes available to creation.

The Father is eternally revealed in the Son as in the radiance of glory and the image of His hypostasis (Heb 1, 3) and in the Holy Spirit, who searches the depths of God (1 Cor 2, 10).

The Most Holy Trinity is just as consubstantial and indivisible in Its Glory, or in Its self-revelation, as well as in His Being.

In relation to all Holy Trinity the Wisdom of God is the Kingdom and Power and Glory of God.

Self-revelation of God. The Father is eternally revealed in the Son as in the radiance of glory and the image of His hypostasis (Heb 1, 3) and in the Holy Spirit, who searches the depths of God (1 Cor 2, 10). The birth of a word from the bowels of the spirit is, on the one hand, an utterance, an utterance of a thought, an act of a word, but at the same time, the birth of a thought itself in its content, a word as not only an act, but also a meaning, or a fact (which corresponds to the double meaning of the word, λόγος, word as word-speech and word-meaning). In the birth of the Son, the Father expresses Himself in Him, but in the same birth the content of the Divine word, the Wisdom of the Father in the Son, is revealed. The Father sends out the Holy Spirit, life-giving love for the Son, embracing the Son and, in response, the Father. In the act of inspiration, the creative impulse, or act, is also distinguished from its subject, or content, from the fact of creativity. In the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father to the Son, therefore, there is not only bringing of the Spirit from the bosom of the Fathers, but also exodus of Him as an act of Divine life-creation. And the content that is expressed in the Word and overshadowed (felt) by the Spirit belongs to the Holy Trinity as Her Glory, the Revelation of the Father in the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the Most Holy Trinity is just as consubstantial and indivisible in Its Glory, or in Its self-revelation, as well as in His Being. Therefore, the Wisdom of God cannot be attributed to only one hypostasis, namely the Logos. This will be correct only in the sense that Wisdom, considered in its predominant relation to the Second Hypostasis, to the Word, is the Logos, but it, considered in its primary relation to the Third Hypostasis, is the Kingdom of the Holy Spirit, the Glory of God [Here, for example, in Simeon the New Theologian, Divine Hymns, 1917, p. 132: «I mean and call Your Holy Spirit, co-natural and equal (with You), the Word, only begotten, of the same word and one of the same essence with Your Father and You, Christ, the God of all!»], but in relation to all Holy Trinity — Kingdom and Power and Glory of God.

The Divine Sophia as the self-revelation of the Father

In the depth of the consubstantial and indivisible Trinity, in Its triunity, one can distinguish, on the one hand, the First or Revealed hypostasis and, on the other hand, the other two hypostases, the Dyad of the Son and the Spirit, the supra-eternal hypostatic self-revelation of the First hypostasis.

…[T]he inner structure of the Holy Trinity includes not only the distinctly personal hypostases in their triunity but also their dyadic interrelations. The trinitarian character of the Dyad is fully affirmed through the principle of monarchy, which is established by the diadic self-revelation of the Father as the «Principle», the Divine Subject. But His Predicate or Self-revelation, the Divine Sophia, is actualized as the bi-unity of two hypostases: the Word uttered by the Father, upon which reposes the Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father.

This bi-unity, this intradivine «and» «dia (through)» about which the Eastern and Western theologians dispute, is precisely the Divine Sophia as the self-revelation of the one Father. In this bi-unity, the personal revelations of the Second and Third hypostases are coordinated. In the depth of the consubstantial and indivisible Trinity, in Its triunity, one can distinguish, on the one hand, the First or Revealed hypostasis and, on the other hand, the other two hypostases, the Dyad of the Son and the Spirit, the supra-eternal hypostatic self-revelation of the First hypostasis. … The Divine Sophia is not only the Son, just as she is not only the Holy Spirt; rather; she is the bi-unity of the Son and the Holy Spirit as one self-revelation of the Father. The true definition of the Divine Sophia is established by her identical relation to the self-revelation of Both the Son and the Spirit, in their dyadic interpenetration.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
IV. The Dyad of the Word and the Spirit

At the same time three­fold and one

One and the same Sophia is possessed in a different way by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

We should think of the divine Sophia as at the same time three­fold and one.

The Holy Trinity is consubstantial and indivisible. The three persons of the Holy Trinity, have one life in common, that is, one Ousia, one Sophia. Nevertheless this unity of divine life coexists with the fact that the life of each of the hypostases in the divine Ousia-Sophia is determined in accordance with its own personal character, or specific hypostatic features. One and the same Sophia is possessed in a different way by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this threefold «otherness» is reflected in our definition of Sophia. We should learn to think of the divine Sophia as at the same time three­fold and one. The divine tri-unity is mirrored in her with all its characteristics. There is, however, a difference to be observed in logical emphasis when interpreting on the one hand the tri-unity of the three hypostases, and on the other the tri-unity of the single divine Sophia. In the first case we are contemplating the personal hypostases of the Holy Trinity, which differ from one another — three which are one; in the second instance, there is only the one substance, whose being is determined in a threefold manner. The tri-unity of the hypostases is reflected in the threefold modality of the one Ousia-Sophia of the God­head.

Fr. Sergius Bulgakov
Sophia. The Wisdom of God
II. The Divine Sophia and the Persons of the Holy Trinity

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