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Berdyaev, Nikolai Category: 1000 years Vatican. Chiliasm

Kingdom of God will come
According to Nikolai Berdyaev

The third period in the history of Christianity will stand beneathe the banner of an intensified religious struggle, of the clash of Christian and anti-Christian principles. In this period a Christian renewal is possible, a qualitative strengthening of Christianity. But only with difficulty could it set itself the task of the re-creation of a confessional Christian state in the old sense of the word. The Christian Church ought finally to cease relying upon the state power and it ought to direct its own particular energy inwards. Inside the Church will be brought together a genuine Christian community of people, a social brotherhood in Christ, which in the "Christian state" there was not. In this period they would cease ascribing that exceptional significance to government power and politics, which they had ascribed in the preceding period. People would unite under a religious standard, inwardly spiritual, and not the external and political standard. The difference between good and evil in people has hardly any relationship to the political inclinations of people. To morally judge people dependent upon whether they be of the "right" or of the "left" is quite great a spiritual perversion. The "right" or the "left", monarchism or republicanism are in essence totally insignificant and pitiful things, things third-rate before the face of God, before the face of authentic spiritual life. People become spiritually close and united or spiritually distant and divided not at all because they are "rightists" or "leftists", not because they are for monarchy or for republic, it is not at all in these external spheres that the relationships of people are determined. Hardly can it be presupposed and even less can it be desired, that anew there should be a return to a realising of the work of Christ in the world, of the Kingdom of God, by the forceful methods of the kingdom of Caesar. This jumble and confusion would already be impossible in the coming period of Christianity. And if there should be a coercive confessional state, then this would be a socialist or communist state, based on a contrary atheistic religion, a state which would persecute Christians and the Church of Christ. In Russian Communism is given a prime example of such a Satan-ocratic state. The Church of Christ in this world always was and will be oppressed, — either by a false protection, converting it into tools of the state, to Caesar's ends, or by persecution. The third period of Christian history brings with it a final freeing of Christianity from the temptations of a pagan Roman imperialism, from utopian visionary dreams about the universal might of tsar or pope, i.e. from the idea of a coercive and quantitative universalism. The Christian world is being freed from those pagan and anti-Christian temptations, is being cleansed, is being rendered more spiritual and deeply profound. The pretensions to a coercive quantitative universalism ultimately has passed over to Communism, to the godless kingdom of Caesar. Communism shows itself by force to be a compulsory theocracy, it exists as an utopia. The Christian world, however, strives ultimately towards the Kingdom of God, which is not of this world and which comes imperceptibly. But that, which is "not of this world", can be manifest in this world and it ought to be manifest. The new epoch within Christianity signifies a passing over from the symbolic significations of the truth of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ within the kingdom of Caesar, a passing over instead towards a real transfiguration, towards a real realisation of the truth of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ, without pretension to an outward state. The old "Christian state" did not try even to realise Christianity within social life. Having been set free from the pagan temptations, from the regarding of Caesar's principles as divine, it will enable the reapproachement of the Eastern and Western Christian world. Their divisions were primarily temptations of the kingdom of Caesar. In the Kingdom of Christ, in the Kingdom of God, there cannot be divisions. The divisions occurred within the kingdom of Caesar, and were construed as sacred, as being of the Kingdom of God. We ought to recognise, that there transpires not only an outward, a political, social revolution, but that there transpires also an inward and spiritual upheaval, opening up a new period for Christianity. The mixed-up kingdom, in which "the things of God" and "the things of Caesar" were not sufficiently separated wherein one substituted for the other, has ended. The Christian state also was a jumbled half-Christian state. An half-fast Christianity is already an impossibility. A time of choosing has begun. Christianity can be only a qualitatively inward, spiritual power in the world, and not a quantitative, outwardly coercive power. Christianity can but be really a power realising the truth of Christ. The new wine is being brought forth in the Christian world and it is impossible to pour it into the old wine-skins. In the "world" itself there are being discovered creative religious processes, which ought to be recognised as churchly. But the third period, into which we enter, is not yet the final period. We live with the great hope, that there will begin a yet conclusive period, in which will be manifest the miraculous power of the truth of Christ in the world, a power resuscitating to life eternal, and that the Kingdom of God will come. The Church is not yet the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God comes imperceptibly not only within the visible protective-walls of the Church, but also into the world, into social and cosmic life, as yet not perceived as churchly life. In the Kingdom of God there will be nothing of a resemblance to the kingdom of Caesar, to the present order of the natural world, it will be a real transfiguration of the cosmos, a new heaven and a new earth.

Nikolai Berdyaev
The Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar

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