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

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

God's self-revelation in the Divine world

God's self-revelation in the Divine Sophia, or the divine world, is the personal life of God, "the life and lives" of Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, according to the expression of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.

This is, if one can thus express it, creation of oneself out of oneself.

However, "nature," to be sure, is divinity itself, God's own life in its self-revelation. In no wise is it a property of this life to be a fact or a givenness of things. On the contrary, this life is divinity's eternal act. God's nature is thoroughly transparent for God. In God's light there is no darkness, and God's Spirit probes everything, even the depths of God.

God's nature is, in this sense, the creative self-positing of divinity, God's personal — trihypostatic — act. This act is the Divine Sophia, the self-positing and self-revelation of the Holy Trinity. As such, she is the divine world, possessing all the force of being, even though this being is nonhypostatic. It is important to understand here that, in the sense of the personal self-positing of God, she is the creative act of the divine trihypostatic person, God's supra-eternal creative act, in which each of the hypostases acquires its hypostatic self-determination.18) Only on the basis of such a conception of the divine nature, or Sophia, as God's self-creative act can we wholly overcome the rationalistically reified concept of God and think of him not statically, but dynamically, as actus purus.

Thus, God's being is the supra-eternal act of the Trinity's self-affirmation, realized in Sophia. This act issues from the triune hypostatic center which, as such, is the hypostatic self-affirmation and encompasses God's being, the divine world, the eternal fire of God's love. And this act returns to this center in the eternal cycle of God's life, which has no origin and is not subject to change, but which, from all eternity, is and is generated: a flame of divine fire feeding itself, the Burning Bush, burning but not consumed.

God's self-revelation in the Divine Sophia, or the divine world, is a perfect and adequate act of divinity's life, which is nonhypostatic ("natural") in its own content but trihypostatic in its procession and self-affirmation. This life is inseparable from the three hypostatic centers of the trihypostatic divinity. It is the personal life of God, "the life and lives" of Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity, according to the expression of the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crete.


18) To be sure, creative act and self-creative act do not mean here the appearance out of nothing or, in general, the production of some new thing, hitherto nonexistent. Such is the so-called creation out of nothing, which refers to God's creation of the world as well as to creaturely creative activity. God's self-creative act signifies God's self-positing, a spiritual actuality that excludes all givenness or thingness. God has nature (or Sophia). This does not mean that nature is given to him like a thing or fact. Rather, He himself posits nature in himself and, by positing it, He has it in his supra-eternal actuality. This is by no means a creation out of nothing; rather, it is, if one can thus express it, creation of oneself out of oneself.

See expositions of this question in the chapter on Sophia in The Unfading Light, and in The Lamb of God, chap. 1: "The Divine Sophia" (pp. 112-40).

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