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Bulgakov. Divine Motherhood Category: Theosis …between created and uncreated…

God. Trinity. Triunity
In the works of Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Personalism of the doctrine of God

In the Word of God and in the Church tradition, the personal nature of the Divine is firmly established.

In the Word of God and in the Church tradition, the personal nature of the Divine is firmly established. God the Father speaks of Himself: I, God the Son speaks of Himself: I, and of the Comforter Spirit: He. The whole Holy Trinity in Unity speaks of itself: I and We. This personalism of the revealed doctrine of God, which is pre-emptive of the impersonal conception, is the basis of the patristic teaching on the Holy Trinity, which attempts to express the dogma in the language of religious philosophy, in metaphysical terms, to formulate a logical concept.

Прот. Сергий Булгаков
Учение об ипостаси и сущности
в восточном и западном богословии

Trinitarian axiom

Trinitarian axiom:
The Holy Trinity is a divine triunity which is exhaustive and perfect in Its fullness, which is trine and integral in all Its definitions.

… it is necessary to set forth the following trinitarian axiom: The Holy Trinity is a divine triunity which is exhaustive and perfect in Its fullness, a triunity of interrelations which is trine and integral in all Its definitions, without any disjunctive or conjunctive "and" connecting the separate hypostases. Every hypostasis in separation, as well as their triunity, must be understood in trine connection and in trine self-definition, which form the Whole, the Holy Trinity.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Comforter
Chapter 1. The Place of the Third Hypostasis in the Holy Trinity

Super-number Trinity-Unity

Trinity-Unity. Triunity.

This super-number refers not to things, which can be counted in their separateness and juxtaposition, but to the Divine Person or Persons, Who has or have one unified, but not common, natural life.

This super-number, Trinity-Unity, can be expressed in the language of human discursive thought only as a paradoxical and rationally absurd, for contradictory, union of one and three. The speculative reason is still capable of postulating this triunity, which the rational-logical understanding does not have the power to concretize by its operation.

In order to clarify this question it is necessary to distinguish (of course, in the abstract) the immanent Trinity from the economic Trinity, the supra-eternal life of the Holy Trinity in Itself from Its trihypostatic revelation in creation. Let us first investigate trinitarity in its immanent aspect. Here, Revelation gives us the fact of the divine triunity of the Father, Son, and Spirit: Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, the one Name, the one God the Holy Trinity. Not three in unity, but triunity; and not one, but unifiedness in Trinity. This is the divine number, which does not exist in the natural world, but which is a super-number for the latter: the three in one. This super-number refers not to things, which can be counted in their separateness and juxtaposition, but to the Divine Person or Persons, Who has or have one unified, but not common, natural life. This super-number, Trinity-Unity,1) can be expressed in the language of human discursive thought only as a paradoxical and rationally absurd, for contradictory, union of one and three. This inability of the rational-logical understanding to accept this super-number manifests the limitation of this understanding: it is not competent to make judgments about the superrational. Therefore, in its practical relation to the super-number, the racional-logical underscanding must adapt itself, passing from one to three, and then back from three to one, while simultaneously containing both the one and the other. The speculative reason is still capable of postulating this triunity, which the rational-logical understanding does not have the power to concretize by its operation.


1) “Simple, inseparable, consubsrantial Trinity; holy unity, lights and light; holy three and holy one, we praise God the Trinity” (from the Great Canon of St. Andrew of Crere, Seventh ode, Glory). “Trinity without beginning, without separation, indivisible unity, receive the penitent that I am" (Third ode, Glory). “One trinitarian divinity” (Fourth ode, Glory). “I am the simple, inseparable, distinctly personal Trinity, and I am the unity united by the substance” (Sixrh ode, Glory). “Thou, Trinity, we glorify Thee, unique God” (Fifrh ode, Glory). “Trinity Unity, have pity upon me” (Eighrh ode, Glory).

They [quantum particles] behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Your experience with things that you have seen before is incomplete. The behavior of things on a very tiny scale is simply different. They behave like nothing you have seen before.

The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, "But how can it be like that?" which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar.

Electrons, when they were first discovered, behaved exactly like particles or bullets, very simply. Further research showed, from electron diffraction experiments for example, that they behaved like waves. As time went on there was a growing confusion about how these things really behaved — waves or particles, particles or waves? Everything looked like both.

This growing confusion was resolved in 1925 or 1926 with the advent of the correct equations for quantum mechanics. Now we know how the electrons and light behave. But what can I call it? If I say they behave like particles I give the wrong impression; also if I say they behave like waves. They behave in their own inimitable way, which technically could be called a quantum mechanical way. They behave in a way that is like nothing that you have seen before. Your experience with things that you have seen before is incomplete. The behavior of things on a very tiny scale is simply different. … It behaves like nothing you have seen before.

The difficulty really is psychological and exists in the perpetual torment that results from your saying to yourself, "But how can it be like that?" which is a reflection of uncontrolled but utterly vain desire to see it in terms of something familiar. I will not describe it in terms of an analogy with something familiar; I will simply describe it.

Richard Feynman
Probability and Uncertainty
[video] 4:20-7:40

The Nature of Spirit

Personal consciousness of self is proper to the nature of spirit: “I am that I am,” Jehovah, says the Lord. Spirit is, above all, personality as personal consciousness of self, as “I.” An impersonal (“unconscious”) spirit is a contradiction. But this I is not an abstract self-consciousness that is not connected with anything and empty for itself (even the dreaming I of Hinduism at least has its dream and lives in it). It is a living I (“I am that I am”), the subject of a certain objectivity, the subject of a certain predicate, the receptacle of a certain content. The living I has its own life. It is the source of this life and its fullness, its beginning and end. The personal spirit thus has in itself its own nature, in which it lives, ceaselessly realizing itself for itself through this nature, defining itself and revealing itself to itself. This indissoluble unity of the personal self-consciousness, of I and its nature, grounding the life of the personal spirit, is the spirit's limiting intuition of itself and also the initial ontological axiom. … God possesses personality and nature, hupostasis, phusis, or ousia. As a result, God is a hypostasis that has its own nature, and precisely in this sense He is a living personal spirit. Such a definition of personal spirit is applicable to any spirit, divine, angelic, or human. The distinctive property of the Divine Spirit is that this Spirit is not only a personal but also a trihypostatic spirit, a trihypostatic personality, which, however, has one nature and, accordingly, one life (not a life in common, but precisely one life), just as every unihypostatic spirit has one nature and one life.

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