Andrij_Nykyforuk-THO_3306_Presentation on Sergius Bulgakov

Report
Boris Jakim
Class presentation by: Andrij Nykyforuk
THO 3306
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fellow of Caspersen School of Graduate
Studies, Drew University (Madison, New
Jersey).
the foremost translator of Russian religious
thought into English. His published
translations include works by S.L. Frank, Pavel
Florensky, Vladimir Solovyov, and Sergius
Bulgakov. (https://www.eerdmans.com/Authors/?AuthorId=17080)
Translated The Lamb of God, The Comforter, The
Bride of the Lamb, and The Friend of the
Bridegroom by Sergius Bulgakov.
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Boris Jakim offers a Russian Orthodox
perspective on theosis.
Draws primarily from the writings of Sergius
Bulgakov (1871-1944)
Other respected Russian saints.
The general perspective is that of Boris Jakim.
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According to St. Seraphim of Sarov: the
purpose of the Christian life is the acquisition
of the Holy Spirit.
As a person empties him/her-self of ego and
sinful, fallen nature, the vessel that remains is
filled with divinity.
Through theosis our fallenness is overcome.
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Podvig = ascesis – the royal road to deification
Divinity cannot reside in what is corrupt.
Deification is achieved in proportion to the
purification of the human nature.
Cleansing of the human nature is the
precondition for the sanctification,
glorification, transfiguration, and deification of
the creature by the Creator.
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Deification is a mystical, supernatural state.
Powerful force that comes to us from outside.
Gift of God’s grace.
New creation = Divine-Humanity
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This concept is rooted in the Creed of
Chalcedon:
“We ... teach men to confess one and the same Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in Divinity
and also perfect in humanity; truly God and truly
man...consubstantial with the Father according to
the Divinity, and consubstantial with us according
to the Humanity.”
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In the Person of Christ, Divinity unites itself
not only with a particular man, Jesus, but with
the entire humankind.
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The concept of Divine-Humanity in Eastern
Christianity was outlined by PseudoDionysius, and
Has been further developed by Vladimir
Solovyov and Sergius Bulgakov.
Deification not only of humanity, but of the
entire world or the created order.
Bulgakov’s “geat trilogy”:
The Lamb of God
The Comforter
The Bride of the Lamb
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“Divine-Humanity”
“Sophianization”
“Glorification”
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In The Lamb of God:
Through his spirit, man communes with the divine
essence and is capable of being deified. Man is not only
man but also potentially a god-man. Man desires to
become a son of God and enter into the glory of
creation, and he is predestined to this. Out of natural
man, he is called to become a god-man; he is called to
surpass himself in the true God-Man, Christ. Man
bears within himself the coming Christ, and prior to
Christ’s coming, man does not have the power to
realize in himself that new spiritual birth which is not
of flesh and of blood, but of God.
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Theosis is the gift for which we are created and
to which we are called.
Incarnation of God is not a catastrophe for the
human essence.
Incarnation is the fulfillment of human essence.
All human beings can potentially be deified in
Christ.
A particular form of the Divinity’s
consciousness of itself through humanity.
 A particular form of humanity’s consciousness
of itself through the Divinity.
 Fusion of the creator and creation
A fusion that is simultaneously:
- kenosis of the Divinity and
- theosis of the humanity,
which concludes w/ the perfect glorification of
the God-Man
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The more a human being empties himself and
lets go of his ego, the closer he can come to
divinity.
A “god by grace”
According to Bulgakov:
“the action of the divine nature on the human
essence.”
It does not consist in the external, physical action
of one natural force on another.
 It is spiritual penetration, united with the inner
reception of this action.
Humanity contains within its creaturely nature
both the Word (Logos) and Wisdom (Sophia) of
God.
 In this sense, humanity is a
creaturely sophianic hypostasis.
Sophianicity signifies the universal fullness of its
being.
Creatureliness = this fullness only in a state of
potentiality.
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Image is the fullness
 Likeness is the realization of the image.
In relation to the Divine Sophia, the creaturely sophia is
a “receptacle” in which the divine image is
reflected.
Creaturely sophianicity presupposes the possibility of
unlimited sophianization – the approximation of
the creature’s image to the divine image.
Divine Sophia and the creaturely sophia converge
forever without coinciding. (252)
 This convergence is “infinite life”
 The process of individual deification is unceasing
 Humanity never reaches full divinity, except in the
case of Christ, who is the grace of God.
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Divine Sophia
creaturely sophia
In The Bride of the Lamb, Bulgakov writes:
“...the union with God has already been
accomplished for all creation through the union
of the two natures, divine and human, in
Christ, according to the Chalcedonian dogma,
and through the descent of the Holy Spirit
upon the apostles and all of humankind,
according to the dogma of the Pentecost.”
(252)
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Besides the ascension of Christ, which is
already accomplished, there is the ascension
that is in the process of being accomplished:
- the glorification of the creature, earthly
humanity, which is identical to the humanity of
Christ.
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God “has raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”
(Eph 2:6)
Through Christ, we “have access by one Spirit
unto the Father”
(Eph 2:18)
The definitive and final ascension is the final
glorification when “God will be all in all”
(1 Cor 15:28)
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Human ascension and glorification is now
beyond the limits of what is known to us.
has already been preaccomplished in the
person of the Most Holy Mother of God.
Raised up by her son, Mary has achieved
perfect theosis.
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Through the Incarnation and the descent of the
Holy Spirit, humanity and the world have received
the fullness of sophianization.
The Divine Sophia has united with the creaturely
sophia; creation has been completely deified in the
union of the two natures in Christ by the Holy
Spirit. (254)
Glorification accomplished in a series of events:
- the resurrection,
- the ascension,
- Pentecost, and
- the Second Coming
The Second Coming will complete creation.
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“Initially deified in the Incarnation and
undergoing continuous deification in the
course of Christ’s entire earthly ministry, his
humanity now becomes perfectly and
definitively deified to the point of fully
receiving the glory of God. ...
...this glorification of his humanity is not the
return of the glory; the creature receives it for
the first time here.
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Pentecost lays the foundation for the
deification of the world.
The descent of the Spirit signifies the
fulfillment of the work of the Divine
Incarnation in the world and in humanity.
During Pentecost the Holy Spirit descends not
upon the Virgin Mary, as at the Annunciation,
and not upon Jesus, as at the Epiphany, but
upon all of humanity and all of nature.
Three phenomenological accounts of human
transfiguration:
 The vision of St. Seraphim of Sarov in the Snow
(winter 1831)
 Sergius Bulgakov’s Death-Bed Transfiguration
(1944)
 The “Pentecost” at the Prerov Conference of
the Russian Student Christian Movement,
(October 1923)
On pg. 252 Jakim states:
Divine Sophia and the creaturely sophia converge forever without
coinciding.
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This convergence is “infinite life”
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The process of individual deification is unceasing
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Humanity never reaches full divinity, except in the case of Christ,
who is the grace of God.
On pg. 253-254 Jakim states:
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Mary has achieved perfect theosis. (253)
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The Divine Sophia has united with the creaturely sophia; creation
has been completely deified in the union of the two natures in
Christ by the Holy Spirit. (254)
Is this a paradox, where the D. Sophia is united
with cr. sophia, yet they never coincide?
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In the case where the process of individual deification
is unceasing, does that mean that all people are holy,
but our degrees of holiness are different?
i.e. Those who we consider saints, are they saints only
relatively to us?
Divine
Sophia
creaturely
sophia

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