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.
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.
Единосущие природы Божией предвечно открывается в Боге, как Божественная София, Истина в Красоте, идеально-реальная жизнь Божия, Божественный мир.
по себе, но не для себя,
а для ипостасного Бога.
Божественному Триипостасному Лицу, как Его жизнь и самооткровение.
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
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
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
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.
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
the modes of the personal principle:
I, thou, he, we,
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. …
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
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.
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
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
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
the Son, just as she is not
the Holy Spirt;
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
the Son and the Spirit, in their dyadic interpenetration.
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
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
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 —
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.