N. A. BERDYAEV (BERDIAEV)
SALVATION AND CREATIVITY
(1926 - #308)
(Two Understandings of Christianity)
(Dedicated to the Memory of Vladimir Solov’ev)
“Serve ye one another, each by such gift,
as he hath received, as good stewards of
the manifold graces of God”.
(1 Pet. -- Ch. 4: 10.)
The correlation between the ways of human salvation and the ways of human creativity is very central, very tormenting and very acute a problem of our age. Man perishes and he has a thirst for salvation. But man is also by his nature a maker, a creator, a builder of life, and the thirst for creativity cannot be extinguished within him. Can man be saved and at the same time create, can he create and at the same time be saved? And how to perceive Christianity: is Christianity exclusively the religion of the salvation of the soul for life eternal, or is creativity of an higher life also justified by the Christian consciousness? All these questions torment the contemporary soul, though not always is perceived their depth. Wanting to set right their life vocation, their creative act of life, Christians do not always realise, that there is discourse about the very concept of Christianity, about the assimilation of its fullness. The torment of the problem of salvation and creativity reflects the schisms betwixt Church and world, the spiritual and the mundane, the sacral and the secular. The Church is concerned with salvation, the secular world however is concerned with creativity. The creative act, which the secular world is concerned with, is not given justification, is not sanctified by the Church. There is a profound disdain, almost a contempt of the churchly world towards those creative deeds in the life of culture, in the life of society, which fully are processes, transpiring within the world. At best creativity is admitted, it is tolerated, one peeks at it through the fingers, not granting it profound a justification. Salvation is a matter of the first sort, the one thing necessary, creativity however is a matter of the second or third sort, applicable to life, but not the very essence of it. We live beneathe the sign of a deepest religious dualism. Hiero craticism, clericalism in the understanding of the Church is the expression and justifying excuse of this dualism. The Church hierarchy in its essence is an hierarchy which is angelic, and not human. In the human world the heavenly angelic hierarchy is only symbolised. The system of hierocratism, the exclusive sovereignty of the priesthood in the life of the Church, and through the Church in the life of the world also, is a suppression of the human principle by the angelic, a subordination of the human principle to the angelic principle, as a calling with which to guide life. It is always a sovereignty of a conditional symbolism. [trans. note: the Russian euphemistic idiom for becoming a monastic is to take on the angelic garb and life, an image of useage to which the modern Western mind is not sensitive to, but here also betraying the dualistic schism alluded to above.] But the suppression of the human principle, the non-allowance of its unique creative expression, is an impairment of Christianity, as being the religion of God-manhood. Christ was the God man, and not a God-angel, in Him perfectly was united in one person the Divine nature with the human nature and by this human nature was transported to Life Divine. And Christ the God-man was the foundation principle of the new spiritual human race, a life of God-manhood, and not of God-angelhood. The Church of Christ is God-manhood. The angelic principle is a principle intermediary betwixt God and the human, a principle passively-intermediary, transmissive of Divine energy, conductive of Divine grace, but not an active-creative principle. The active-creative principle was bestown to mankind. But the sinful limitedness of mankind does not permit of the fullness of Christian truth. And the suppressive sovereignty of the angelic hierocratic principle is an indicator of the impotence of sinful mankind to express its creative nature, to accept Christianity in its fullness and wholeness. The way of salvation for sinful mankind obviates its necessity first of all in the angelic hierocratic principle. The way of creativity remains however as an autonomous human way, not sanctified and not justified, and man is left on his own.
The religious non-expression of the human principle, as an organic part of the life of God-manhood, the religious non-disclosure of the free vocation of man creates the dualism of Church and world, of Church and culture, the acute dualism of the sacral and the profane. For the believing Christian two lives are created, a life that is of a first and a second sort. And this dualism, this two-sidedness of life attains to an especial acuteness in the Christianity of the present time. In medieval Christianity there was its theocratic, hierocratic culture, to which all creativity of life was self-subordinated to the religious principle, conceived as the sovereignty of the angelic hierarchy over the human. In medieval culture and society there was the sacral, but the religious justification was conditionally-symbolic. Culture by its concept was angelic, and not human. The sovereignty of the angelic principle always leads to symbolism, to the conditional, sign reflection within the human world of the heavenly life without its real attainment, without the real transfiguration of human life. The present time has cast down the symbolic and completed the break. Man rebelled in the name of his freedom and went upon his own autonomous way. The nook of the soul remained for religion. They began to think of the Church differently. The Christian of the present time lives in two incongruent rhythms -- in the Church and in the world, upon the pathways of salvation and upon the pathways of creativity. In the theocratic societies, in the theocratic cultures the human principle was subordinated, the freedom of man was not yet granted its consent to the existence of the Kingdom of God. In the humanistic societies and cultures of the present time the human principle has been torn asunder from God and from the efficacy of Divine grace. The conjoining of the Divine and the human has not been attained. The ways of creativity of the humanistic world were without God and against God. The drama of the present humanistic history is the drama of a deep tearing asunder of the way of creativity of life apart from the way of salvation, apart from God and from Divine grace. The dualism of Church and world realises suchlike forms of expression, which former sacral organic epochs did not know of. In the world has occurred tremendous creative developement in science, in philosophy, in art, in state and social life, in the advances of the technical, in the moral attitudes of people, even in religious thought, in mystical frames of mind. All of us, not only non-believers, but also believing Christians, we all participate in this developement of the world, this developement of culture, and we devote to it a significant part of our time and effort. On Sunday we come into Church. Six days in the week we devote to our creative, constructive work. And our creative attitude towards life remains non-justified, non-sanctified, not co-dependent upon the religious principle of life. The old, the medieval theocratic hierocratic justification and sanctification of all the processes of life has already no power over us, it is deadened. The very believers, the selfsame Orthodox people participate in the non-justified and the non-sanctified life of the world, they subordinate themselves to the profane, the non-sacral science, to the profane non sacral economy, to the profane non-sacral law, to a lifestyle long since already bereft of sacral character. The believers, the Orthodox people live the church life in Church, they go on Sundays and feastdays to the temple, they fast during Great Lent, they pray to God morning and evening, but they do not live church life in the world, in culture, in society. Their creativity, in political and economic life, in the sciences and the arts, in the inventions and the discoveries, in the everyday morality, it remains external to the Church and external to religiosity, it remains profane and worldly. This is altogether an other rhythm of life. A tempestuous creative developement has transpired within the world, in culture. In the Church for a long time however a comparative staticism has set in, as though petrified and ossified. The Church began to live exclusively as a guardian, a link with the past, i.e. it expressed but one side of churchly life. The Church hierarchy became hostile towards creativity, suspicious towards spiritual culture, it restrains man and fears his freedom, the ways of salvation are put opposite the ways of creativity. We are saved on one plane of existence and we fashion life on altogether an other plane of existence. And there remains always the danger, that on that plane on which we create, we shall perish and not be saved. And there is not any hope in this, that the unsustainable further dualism can be overcome through the subordination of all our life and all the creative impulses to the hierocratic principle, through a restoration of the theocratic in the old sense of the word. To the conditional symbolism of an hierocratic society, there is no turning back. This would be but a temporary reaction, rejecting creativity. The religious problem about man, about his freedom and creative vocation, has been posited in all its acuteness. And this is not only a problem of the world, a burdensome and irksome problem in contemporary culture, this is also a problem of the Church, a problem of Christianity, as the religion of God-manhood.
Thought at the present time has become subject to the dissective influence of nominalism. In the consciousness of mankind, the ontological reality is decomposed and pulverised. This process also affects Church consciousness. And how often the most reactionary tendencies of Church thought have appropriated to themselves a nominalistic understanding of the Church. They have ceased to comprehend the Church integrally, as an universal spiritual organism, as ontologic reality, as the Christified cosmos. There has prevailed a differentialised understanding of the Church, whether as institution, as community of believers, or as hierarchy and temple. The Church was transformed into a curative establishment, in which they deal with individual souls for healing. Thus is affirmed a Christian individualism, indifferent to the fate of human society and the world. The Church exists for the salvation of individual souls, but has no concern for the creative aspects of life, for the transfiguration of social and cosmic life. Suchlike a kind of exclusively monastic-ascetic Orthodoxy in Russia was only possible, because that the Church entrusted all the organisation of life to the state. Only the existence of the autocratic monarchy consecrated by the Church made possible such Orthodox individualism, such a separateness of Christianity from the life of the world. The Orthodox monarchy upheld and guarded the world, and churchly order was also maintained by it. The Church was indifferent not only to the arrangement of cultural and social life, but also to the arrangement of churchly life, to the life of the parishes, to the organisation of a non dependent churchly authority. The existence of an Orthodox autocratic monarchy is the obverse side of monastic-ascetic Orthodoxy, of perceiving Orthodoxy exclusively as a religion of personal salvation. And therefore the collapse of autocratic monarchy, of the Russian Orthodox tsardom, implies substantial modification in Church consciousness. Orthodoxy cannot remain predominantly monastic-ascetic. Christianity cannot be reduced to the individual salvation of separate souls. The Church inevitably turns itself to the life of society and the world, and inevitably it needs to participate in the formation of life. In the autocratic monarchy, as a type of Orthodox theocracy, it was the angelic, and not the human principle, that reigned. The tsar, in accord with this concept is in essence of the angelic, and not of the human order. The collapse of Orthodox theocracy ought to lead to the awakening of creative activism of a very Christian nation, an human activism, for the formation of a Christian society. This turnabout should begin first of all with this, that Orthodox people make themselves responsible for the fate of the Church in the world, in an historical actuality, that they be obliged to take upon themselves churchly formation, the life of the parishes, a concern about the temple, and organisation of churchly life, brotherhoods, etc. But this change of Orthodox psychology cannot be restricted to formation of churchly life, it extends also to all aspects of life. All of life ought to be thought of, as churchly life. In the Church all aspects of life enter in. A turnabout is inevitable for an integral comprehension of the Church, i.e. for the surmounting of Church nominalism and individualism. The understanding of Christianity exclusively as a religion of personal salvation, the constriction of the scope of the Church to something existing alongside with everything else, -- when the Church is the posited fullness of being, would be also the source of the greatest disorders and catastrophes in the Christian world. The abasement of man, of his freedom and creative vocation, the inculcation of suchlike an understanding of Christianity, would also evoke the revolt and rebellion of man in the name of his freedom and his creativity. Upon that desolate spot, which would remain in the world to Christianity, the Anti-Christ would begin to build his own Babylonian tower and go far in its construction. Seducing the freedom of the human spirit, the freedom of human creativity would ultimately perish upon this path. The Church ought to guard itself from the evil elements of the world and the evil developements in it. But the genuine guarding of things holy is possible only under the admission of Christian creativity.
Upon what spiritual basis does Orthodox individualism base itself, by what is its understanding of Christianity justified, as a religion of personal salvation, indifferent to the fate of society and the world? Christianity in the past was extraordinarily magnificent, manifold and many-sided. In the Gospel, in the Apostolic Epistles, in the Patristic literature and in Church tradition it is possible to find the basis for varied comprehensions of Christianity. The understanding of Christianity, as a religion of personal salvation, mistrustful towards any creativity, rests itself exclusively upon the Patristic ascetic literature, which neither is the whole of Christianity nor is it the whole even of Patristic literature. The “Dobrotoliubie-Philokalia” would as it were screen out for itself everything remaining. In the ascetic is expressed eternal truth, which enters into the inner spiritual pathway, as an inevitable moment. But it is not the fullness of Christian truth. The heroic struggle with the nature of the old Adam, with the sinful passions, promoted a certain aspect of Christian truth and exaggerated it to all-encompassing dimensions. The truths, revealed in the Gospels and the Apostolic Epistles, were set aside onto a secondary plane, and were stifled. At the basis of all Christianity, at the basis of all the spiritual pathway of man, the pathway of salvation for life eternal, was put humility. Man needs to be humbled, and all the rest then happens by itself. Humility is the sole method of inner spiritual activity. Humility screens out and stifles love, which reveals itself in the Gospel and manifests itself as the foundational basis of the New Testament God with man. The ontological concept of humility consists in a real victory over the self-affirming human self-centredness, over the sinful disposition of man to situate the centre of gravity for life and the source of life in himself alone, -- this is the meaning of the overcoming of pride. The concept of humility is in the real change and transfiguration of human nature, in the mastery of spiritual man over the man of soul and flesh. But humility ought not to stifle and snuff out the spirit. Humility is not external obedience, submission and subordination. Man can be very disciplined, very obedient and submissive, and yet have humility not at all. We see this by way of example in the Communist Party. Humility is an efficacious change of the nature of the soul, and not external subordination, leaving nature unchanged, its own inner working over itself, its deliverance from the power of the passions, from the lower nature, which man is wont to accept as his true “I”. In humility is affirmed the true hierarchy of being, spiritual man takes precedence over soulful man, God receives precedence over the world. Humility is the pathway of self-cleansing and self definition. Humility is not the annihilation of the human will, but rather the illumination of the human will, the free submission of it to Truth. Christianity cannot negate humility, as a moment of the inner spiritual pathway. But humility is not the whole of spiritual life. Humility is a genuine means. Yet humility is not the sole means, it is not the sole pathway of spiritual life. Inner spiritual life is immeasurably more complex and multi-facetted. And it is impossible to give answer to all the inquiries of spirit by the preaching of humility. And humility can be conceived of falsely and too externally. To the inner spiritual life and the inner way there applies an absolute primacy, it is more primary, more profound, more primordial than all our relations to the life of society and the world. In the spiritual world, from the depths of the spiritual world is defined all our relationship towards life. This -- is a religious axiom, an axiom of the mystic. But a concept of humility is possible, distorting all our spiritual life, not accommodating the Divine truth of Christianity, the Divine fullness. And in this is all the complexity of the question.
The construction of life upon the sole spirit of humility creates also an external authoritative-hierocratic system. All questions of social form and cultural creativity are decided in conformity to humility. This would be a fine arrangement of a society, in which people humble themselves the most, and be obedient the most. It would censure every array of life, in which is given expression to the creative instincts of man. Thus in essence there is resolved not a single question, but is merely as regards to this, whether it promotes the humility of man. Deterioration of humility leads to this, that it ceases to be understood inwardly, to be secretly-treasured as a mystical act, as a manifestation of inner spiritual life. Humility is transformed into an external system of life-arrangement, repressing man. Humility in its mystical essence is altogether not contrary to freedom, it is an act of freedom and presupposes freedom. Only free humility, the free subordination of soulful man to spiritual man has religious significance and value. Compulsory humility, imposed humility, is determined by the external structure of life and possesses no significance for spiritual life. Slavery and humility -- are variant spiritual conditions. Humbling myself in my inner spiritual pathway, in a free act I posit the source of life to be in God, and not in my own selfness. For phenomenological analysis there is disclosed, that my freedom precedes my humility. Humility is more inner, secretly-treasurative a spiritual condition. But having decayed, a degradated humility, an humility become deteriorated transforms itself into an external compulsively imposed system of life, negating the freedom of man, coercing man. In soil humility readily sprouts forth hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness. At that selfsame moment when the ontological concept of humility would consist in the liberation of spiritual man, a deteriorated humility holds man in a condition of restraint and oppression, it chains down his creative powers. The great ascetics and saints accomplished an heroic act of spiritual liberation of man, of opposition to the lower nature, to the power of the passions. Corrupters of humility negate the heroic act of the spiritual liberation of man and hold man in subjection to an authoritative system of life. When I humble myself before the will of God, when I conquer in myself the slave’s revolt of selfness, I come from out of freedom and I go towards freedom. Selfness enslaves me, and I want to be liberated from it. Humility is one of the methods of transition from a condition, in which the lower nature governs, to a condition, in which the higher nature governs, i.e. it signifies the growth of man, his spiritual ascent. Deteriorative humility desires however a system of life, in which liberation never enters, in which spiritual ascent is never to be attained, in which the higher nature never shews itself. The liberation of spirit, spiritual ascent, the manifestation of the higher nature would be declared a non-humble condition, a deficiency of humility. Humility is transformed from being a means and a way into an end in itself.
They begin to set humility in opposition to love. The way of love is considered as the not-humble, as the audacious way. The Gospel is ultimately replaced by the “Dobrotoliubie-Philokalia”. Where then is it for me, a sinner and unworthy, to pretend to love for neighbour, to brotherhood. My love will be infected by sin. First I should humble myself, and love should appear, as the fruition of humility. But I could be humble all my life yet never attain a sinless condition. Therefore also love would never appear. Where then is it for me a sinner to dare to spiritual perfection, to valour and sublimity of spirit, to the attainment of utmost spiritual life. At first it is necessary to vanquish sin by humility. But this takes up all of life and there remains neither time nor strength for creative spiritual life. It is possible only in this world, indeed here also unlikely, if in this world however only humility be possible. The degenerated humility creates a system of life, in which life that is everyday and commonplace and of bourgeois-manner, is more honoured than the humble, than the Christian, than the moral, than the attainment of a still higher spiritual life, and love, contemplation, perception, creativity, always there is the suspicion of a deficiency of humility and of pride. To haggle at the shop-counter, to live in a very egoistic familial life, to serve in the ranks of the police or excise-duty office -- humbly, not presumptuously, not boldly. And here then otherwise is the aspiration towards the Christian brotherhood of people, of the realisation of the truth of Christ in life, or to be philosopher or poet, Christian philosopher or Christian poet -- not humbly, proudly, presumptuously, boldly. The shopkeeper may be not only covetous of gain, but also dishonourable, yet less subject to the peril of eternal perishing, than that one, who his entire life seeks after truth and verity, who thirsts for a life of beauty, than for example Vl. Solov’ev the Gnostic, 1 the poet of life, the seeker of true life and the brotherhood of people who is subject to the danger of eternal perishing, since he is insufficiently humbled, he is proud. It becomes an hopeless, and a vicious circle. The yearning for the realisation of the Truth of God, the Kingdom of God, of the spiritual heights and spiritual perfection, is proclaimed a spiritual imperfection, a lack of humility. In what then is the basic defect of deteriorated humility and its system of life? The basic defect lurks in the false concept of the correlation between sin and the pathways of liberation from sin or the attainment of higher spiritual life. I cannot reason thus -- the world lies in evil, I am a sinful man and because my yearning towards the realisation of the Truth of Christ and towards brotherly love amidst mankind is a proud pretension, a deficiency of humility, -- therefore every authentic impulse in the direction of the realisation of love and truth is a victory over evil, is a deliverance from sin. I cannot speak thus -- the yearning for spiritual perfection and the spiritual heights is pride and an insufficiency of humility, an insufficient consciousness of the sinfulness of man, -- therefore every advance towards spiritual perfection and the spiritual heights is the way of victory over sin. I cannot speak thus -- I am a sinful man and therefore my audacity to apprehend the mystery of being and to create beauty is already a victory over sin, a transfiguration of life. It is impossible to say: sin distorts and perverts both love, and spiritual perfectivity, and cognition and everything, and therefore there is no victory over sin along these pathways. Therefore it is completely possible to say likewise: the way of humility is distorted and perverted by human sin and greed and is a distorted, degenerate, perverted humility, an humility, transformed into slavery, into egoism, into cowardice. Humility is no more a guarantee from distortion, and degeneration, than love or cognition.
Sin is conquered with great difficulty and it is conquered only by the power of grace. But the pathways of this victory, the pathways of the acquisition of grace are manifold, and they encompass all the plenitude of being. Our love towards neighbour, our cognition, our creativity, is ultimately distorted by sin and bears within itself the seal of imperfection, but indeed so too the way of humility is distorted by sin and bears within itself the seal of imperfection. Christ commanded first of all to love God and to love neighbour, to first of all seek after the Kingdom of God, and a perfection in likeness to the perfection of the Heavenly Father. The “Dobrotoliubie-Philokalia”, -- into which were not included the most remarkable mystical works of St. Maximos the Confessor, nor of St. Simeon the New Theologian among others, -- is first of all a collection of moral-ascetic directives for monks, and not the expression of the full plenitude of Christianity and its pathways. Not only the spirit of the Gospel and the Apostolic Epistles, but also the spirit of the Greek Patristic fathers in the most profound of their currents, -- is otherwise than this, than for example the one-sided spirit of the Orthodoxy of Theophan the Hermit. Ultimately, in Theophan the Hermit there is much that is true and eternal, particularly in his finest book “The Way to Salvation”, but its attitude towards the life of the world -- is depressingly-timid, its Christianity withered and impaired. The central idea of the Eastern Patristic fathers was the idea of “theosis”, of deification (“obozhenie”) of the creature, of the transfiguration of the world, of the cosmos, and not the idea of personal salvation. Not by chance were the greatest Eastern teachers of the Church inclined towards the idea of “apokatastasis” [trans. note: cosmic restorative return], not only St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen, but also St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Maximos the Confessor. The juridical conception of the world process, the juridical conception of expiation, the building up of hell, the salvation of the chosen and the eternal perdition of all the rest of mankind is expressed mainly in Western Patristics, in Blessed Augustine, and then in Western Scholasticism. For the classical Greek Patristic fathers, Christianity was not only the religion of personal salvation. It was directed towards a cosmic apprehension of Christianity, it proposed the idea of the illumination and the transfiguration of the world, the deification of the created. Only later did the Christian consciousness hold in greater esteem the idea of hell, rather than the transfiguration and theosis of the world. This occurred, perhaps, as the result of the prevalence of barbaric nations with their fierce instincts. These nations needed to be subjected to severe discipline and intimidation, since their flesh and blood, their passions threatened ruin to Christianity and to every form of order in the world. Christianity, taken as a religion of a personal salvation from eternal perdition through humility, led to panic and terror. 2 Man lived under the horrible stress of terror of eternal perdition and would consent to anything, if only he might avoid it. The authoritarian system of obedience and submission created an affective emotion of the dread of perdition, a panicked dread of the eternal torments of hell. 3 Under suchlike a spiritual arrangement, under suchlike a state of mind, a creative attitude towards life is very difficult. There is no time for creativity, when destruction threatens. The whole of life is put beneathe the sign of terror, of fear. When pestilence rages, and every second -- death threatens, man has no time for creativity, he is exclusively occupied by measures of salvation of the pestilence. Sometimes Christianity is also conceived of, as salvation from a raging pestilence. Creativity and the building up of life were rendered possible only thanks to a system of dualism, which granted moments of oblivion about salvation from perdition. Man devoted himself to science and art or to the social order, having forgotten at the time about the threatening destruction, revealing for himself another sphere of being, separate from that sphere in which perdition and salvation are accomplished, and with these two spheres being not at all connected. The understanding of Christianity, as a religion of personal salvation from perdition, is a system of transcendental egoism, or transcendental utilitarianism and eudaimonism. K. Leont’ev, with a boldness typical for him, professed such a religion of transcendental egoism. But this is particularly because his attitude towards the life of the world was fully pagan, and he dualistically conjoined within himself the man of Athos and the Optina ascetic-monastic Orthodoxy, together with the man of the Italian Renaissance of the XVI Century. With a transcendental consciousness, man is preoccupied not by the attainment of higher perfection in life, but by concern about the salvation of his own soul, by thought about his own eternal receiving of bliss. Transcendental egoism and eudaimonism innately negates the way of love and cannot be faithful to the Gospel command, which bid us to perish one’s own soul for the sake of finding it, 4 to give it up for one’s neighbour, to teach first of all love, unconditional love for God and neighbour. But to posit Christianity as a religion of transcendental egoism, not knowing the unconditional love towards Divine perfection, means to blaspheme Christianity. This is either a barbaric Christianity, a Christianity humbling the wildness of the passions and distorted by these passions, or it is a Christianity degenerate, and impaired, and impoverished. Christianity always was, is and will be not only a religion of personal salvation and fear of perdition, but it is likewise a religion of the transfiguration of the world, 5 the deification of the creature, a religion cosmic and social, a religion of unconditional love, a love for God and for man, the covenant-promise of the Kingdom of God. Under the individualistic-ascetic understanding of Christianity, as a religion of personal salvation, of concern only about one’s own soul, the revelation about the resurrection of all creatures is unintelligible and unnecessary. For a religion of personal salvation there is no world eschatological perspective, there is no connection with personness, nor of the individual human soul with the world, with the cosmos, with all creation. An hierarchical order of being is negated by this, in which all is bound up with all, and from which the individual destiny cannot be detached. An individualistic understanding of salvation is more proper to Protestant pietism, than to a Christianity as Church. I cannot be saved by myself, in solitude, I can be saved only with my brethren, together with all of God’s creation, and I cannot think only about my own salvation, I ought to think also about the salvation of others, about the salvation of all the world. And indeed salvation is but an exoteric expression for the attainment of the spiritual heights, of perfection, of like-to-God, as the supreme value of worldly life.
All the greatest of Christian mystics put a faith-confessed love towards God and union with God higher than personal salvation. A more externalised Christianity often faults the mystics on this, that for them the centre of gravity of spiritual life lies altogether not in the ways of personal salvation, and that they go the perilous ways of mystical love. The mystic is indeed of altogether different a degree of spiritual life, than is the ascetic. The mystics characteristically might study, reading the “Hymns” of St. Simeon the New Theologian. The Christian mystic also understands salvation, as illumination and transfiguration, the deification of creature, as an overcoming of the isolation of creatureliness, i.e. as separateness from God. The idea of theosis holds sway over the idea of salvation. This is beautifully expressed by St. Simeon the New Theologian: “”I am imbued with His love and beauty, and filled with Divine delight and sweetness. I become a partaker of radiance and glory: my face, as also of my Beloved, doth shine, and all my limbs become bearers of radiance. I thereupon co-become more beautiful than the beauteous, more godly than the gods, I become most powerful of all the powerful, more than the great kings and far more venerable than anything, that might be seen, not only of the earth and that upon the earth, but also of the heavens and all, that is in the heavens.” I quote the greatest mystic of the Orthodox East. It would be possible to produce an innumerable number of fragments from Western mystics, Latin Catholics or German mystics, which substantiate this thought, that at the mystical centre of gravity there never lies the yearning for salvation. The Catholic mystic has overcome the juridicism of Catholic theology, the legalistic understanding betwixt God and man. The dispute of Bossuet with Fenelon was also the dispute of a theologian with a mystic. On the mystical pathway there is always an unconditional displacement oblivious about the self, a disclosure of immeasurable love towards God. But love for God is a creative condition of spirit, in it is the overcoming of every restraint, a liberation, an affirmative revealing of spiritual man. Humility is only a means, it is still negative. Love for God is an end, it is already positive. Love for God is already a creative transfiguration of human nature. But love for God is likewise a love for the spiritual heights, for the Divine in life. Divine eros is spiritual ascent, spiritual growth, a victory of the creative condition of spirit over the condition of restraint, that sprouting of the wings of the soul, that Plato speaks of in the “Phaedrus”. The affirmative content of being is live, creative, transfigurative love. Love is not something particular, a separate side of life, love is the whole of life, the fullness of life. Cognition is likewise a disclosure of love, cognitive love, cognitively an union of the loving with his theme, with being, with God. Creativity of the beautiful is likewise a disclosure of the harmony of love in being. Love is the affirmation of the countenance of the beloved in eternity and in God, i.e. it is the affirmation of being. Love is an ontological first-principle. But love for God is inseparable from love for neighbour, love for God’s creation. Christianity also is a revealing of Divine-human love. It saves me, i.e. not only love for God but also love for man transfigures my nature. Love for those near, for brothers, the acts of love enter upon the path of my salvation, of my transfiguration. On the way of my salvation enters in love for animals and plants, for each thing close by, for stones, for rivers and seas, for hills and fields. By this too I am saved, all the world too is saved, it attains to illumination. Deathly indifference towards man and nature, towards every living thing in the name of self-salvation is an hideous manifestation of religious egoism, it is a desiccation of human nature, it is a readying “in heart of impotent eunuchs”. Christian love ought not to be “glass-transparent love” (an expression of V. V. Rozanov). Abstractly-spiritual love is also “glass-transparent love”. Only love that is spiritually of soul, in which the soul is transfigured in spirit, is a living and Divine-human love. The sometimes encountered monastic-ascetic disdain towards people and the world, a chilling of the heart, and the mortification towards everything alive, is a degeneration of Christianity, an impairment within Christianity. The substitution in place of the commandment of love for God and love for neighbour, given by Christ himself, by a commandment of external humility and obedience, the chilling of any love, is also a degeneration of Christianity, an incapacity to accommodate the truth of Christianity. It is necessary to note, that in particular the idea of cosmic transfiguration and illumination is most near to the Orthodox East. For Western Christianity the juridical idea of justification is more near. And the idea of justification is central for the consciousness of the Catholic and the consciousness of the Protestant. Hence in the West disputes about freedom and grace, about faith and good works, acquire particular significance. Hence the seeking of authority and external criteria of religious truth. 6 Only the mystics rise above the stifling idea of God’s judgement, God’s demand of justification from man, and they understood, that for God is necessary not the justification of man, but rather the love of man, the transfiguration of his nature. This is the central problem of the Christian consciousness. Whether in justification and judgement, in God’s inexorable justice is the essence of Christianity, or whether this essence is in transfiguration and illumination, in God’s infinite love. The juridical understanding of Christianity, producing the present spiritual terror, is a severe method, by which Christianity parented the nations, that were full of bloody instincts, cruelty and barbarism. But to this understanding is opposed a more profound understanding of Christianity, as the revelation of love and freedom. Man is called to be a creator and co-participant in the deed of God’s creation. It is God’s call, directed to man, and to which man ought freely to give answer. For God submissive and obedient slaves are altogether not needful, eternally trembling and egoistically concerned with themselves. For God sons are needful, free and creating, loving and daring. Man has terribly distorted the image of God, and has attributed to Him his own perverse and sinful psychology. But it is needful always to remember the truth of apophatic theology. 7 If to God might also be ascribed an emotive life, then it does not follow as consequence to present it in the form of the most vile of human emotions. Spiritual terror indeed and spiritual panic, begetting the juridical understanding of the relationship between God and man, and the placing of justification and salvation at the centre of Christian faith, issues forth from an understanding of an emotive life of God, in everything like to the most vile emotive life in man. But God revealed Himself in the Son, as the Father, as infinite love. And by this is forever surmounted the understanding of God as fierce Lord and vindictively wrathful Master. “God did not send His Son into the world, so as to judge the world, but so that through Him the world might be saved”. “This is the will of the Father Who hath sent Me, so that of all which He hath given to Me, no one should perish, but instead resurrect on the last day”.. [Jn. 3: 13, 6: 39-40]. Man is called to perfection, to the like perfection of the Heavenly Father. The Christian revelation is first of all the good news about the onset of the Kingdom of God, which to seek is commanded us, first of all. The seeking of the Kingdom of God is however not a seeking merely of personal salvation. The Kingdom of God is the transfiguration of the world, the universal resurrection, a new heaven and a new earth.
The Christian world-concept not only does not oblige, but also it does not permit us to think, that the real is only the individual souls of people, that only they constitute the creation of God. Society and nature are indeed reality and are created by God. Society is not an human invention. Thus initially however, thus it has ontological roots, as also does the human person. And it is impossible to tear asunder the human person from society, just as it is impossible to separate society from the human person. The person and society are situated in interdependent life, they presuppose a single concrete purpose. The spiritual life of the person is reflected in the life of society. And society is a sort of spiritual organism, which is nourished by the life of persons and it nourishes them. The negation of the reality of society is nominalism. And in such form nominalism has a fatal consequence for Church consciousness, for an understanding of the nature of the Church. The Church is spiritual society and this society is imbued with ontologic reality, it cannot be limited to a co operative of individual souls being saved. In the churchly society is realised the Kingdom of God, and not only individual souls are saved. When I say, that to be saved is possible only in the Church, I affirm the Sobornost’ [collective universality] of salvation, salvation in spiritual society and through spiritual society, salvation with my brethren in Christ and with all God’s creation, and I negate the individualistic understanding of salvation, salvation in isolation (save thyself, whosoever be able, force a way into the Heavenly Kingdom, as said a certain Orthodox), and I repudiate the egoism of salvation. Many think, that the interpretation of Christianity, as a religion of personal salvation, is primarily a churchly interpretation. But in actuality it collides headlong with the very idea of the Church and it subjects the reality of the Church to a nomialistic degradation. If some of the more externalised opinions hold sway in the Orthodox world and certain hierarchs are esteemed as particularly churchly, then this does not signify however, that they are more churchly in depth, in the ontologic sense of the word. At one time its was Arianism that held sway amongst the hierarchs of the East. Possibly, these opinions reflect an impairment of Christianity, an ossification within Christianity. In the world there would not have been such terrible catastrophes and upheavals, there would not have been such godlessness and belittling of spirit, had not Christianity become so unsoaring, dull, uncreative, if it had not ceased to inspire and direct the life of human society and culture, if it had not fenced in the human soul into a small corner, if conventional and external dogmatism and ritualism had not replaced the real existence of Christianity within life. And the future of human societies and cultures is dependent on this, whether Christianity receives the signification of creative and transfigurative life, and whether again within Christianity is the spiritual energy, capable to generate enthusiasm, and to summon us from decay to ascent.
The official people of the Church, the professionals of religion, tell us, that the matter of personal salvation is alone necessary, that creativity for this purpose is unnecessary and even harmful. Why then knowledge, why then science and art, why then inventions and discoveries, why then should there be societal truth, the creativity of a new and better life, when eternal destruction threatens me and eternal salvation is solely necessary for me. Such a sort of suppressive and even downright panicky religious consciousness and self-feelings cannot give justification for creativity. Nothing is needful for the matter of personal salvation of the soul. Knowledge by suchlike measure is unnecessary, just as art is unnecessary, economics is unnecessary, political sovereignty is unnecessary, and unnecessary is even the existence of nature, of God’s world. True, sometimes they tell us, that there is necessary the existence of sovereignty and under this in the form of autocratic monarchy, such that the whole of this is a religious system that was possible only thanks to the existence of an Orthodox monarchy, to which also was entrusted all the arrangement of life. But in the final analysis, it is necessary to acknowledge, that the sovereign realm was not only not necessary for my salvation, but quite harmful. Such a sort of religious consciousness is unable to give justification to any sort of matter in the world, or is able to do so only through inconsistency and by sufferance. There is a Buddhist tendency within Christianity. There remains only to go into the monastery. But the very existence of monasteries presupposes their being guarded by the civil order. This sort of consciousness is inclined to justify a petty bourgeois existence, humble and dispassionate, and to conjoin it in one system with a few monastic feats, but it can never justify creativity. The question needs to be put otherwise and Christianity not only permits, but also dictates for us to put the question otherwise. A simple baba, they tell us, is saved better, than is the philosopher, and for her salvation there is no need for learning, there is no need of culture, etc. But one might presumably doubt, that for God only the simple baba is needful, that by this is exhausted God’s plan about the world, God’s idea about the world. And indeed at present the simple baba is a myth, she has become nihilistic and atheistic. The philosopher and man of culture have become the believers. The crude, and fools, and even idiots can be saved in their own way, but presumably one might doubt, that in God’s idea about the world, that in the schema of God’s Kingdom, that it will be peopled exclusively by the crude, by fools and by idiots. Presumably one might think, no less transgressing humility for us, that God’s plan about the world is more lofty, more manifold and resplendid, that into it enters the positive plenitude of being, ontological perfection. The Apostle recommends us to be children at heart, but not in mind. And here the creativity of man, and learning, art, discoveries, the betterment of society, etc., etc., is necessary not for personal salvation, but for the realisation of God’s intent for the world and for mankind, for the transfiguration of the cosmos, for the Kingdom of God, into which enters all the fullness of being. Man is called to be a creator, a co-participant in God’s deed of world-creation and world-arrangement, and not only to be saved. And sometimes man is able in the name of creativity, to which he is vocationed by God, to forego thinking about himself and his soul. Various gifts are given by God to people, and no one possesses the right to bury them in the ground, for these talents all need to be creatively fulfilled, manifest in the objective vocations of man. With great forcefulness about this speak both the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 12: 28) and the Apostle Peter (1 Pet. 4: 10). Such is God’s plan about man, that the nature of the human person is creative. The person is saved. But for this, that the personness be saved, it is necessary that it be affirmed in its authentic nature. The authentic indeed nature of the person is in this, that it is the centre of creative energy. Outside of creativity there is no personness. The creative person is saved for eternity. The affirmation in opposition to creativity is an affirmation of the salvation of emptiness, of non-being. There is inherent to man in his positive being a creative psychology. It can be suppressed and hidden, it can be revealed, but it ontologically inherent to man. The creative instinct in man is an unselfish instinct, and in it man forgets about himself, he emerges from himself. Scientific discoveries, technical inventions, artistic creativity, societal creativity can be needful for others and useful for utilitarian ends, but the creating itself is both unselfish and a renouncing of self. In this is the essence of the creative psychology. The psychology of creativity is very distinct from the psychology of humility and cannot be constructed upon it. Humility is more external a spiritual action, in which man is preoccupied about his soul, about self-overcoming, self-perfection, self-salvation. Creativity is a spiritual action, in which man forgets about himself, foregoes himself in the creative act, is absorbed by his subject. In creativity man tests out the condition of the extraordinary ascent of all his being. Creativity is always a tremour-shock, in which the everyday egoism of human life is surmounted. And man consents to perish his own soul in the name of creative activity. One is unable to make scientific discoveries, to philosophically contemplate the mysteries of being, to form artistic insights, to create social reforms merely in a condition of humility. Creativity presupposes another spiritual condition, not in opposition to humility, but qualitatively distinct from it, an other moment of spiritual life. St. Athanasias the Great
disclosed the truth of “homo-ousia” 8 not in a condition of humility, but in a condition of creative ascent and illumination, although too humility preceded this. Creativity presupposes the characteristic spiritual ascesis, creativity is a not-allowing of its passions. Creativity presupposes self-denial and sacrifice, a victory over the power “of the world”. Creativity is a disclosure of love for God and for the Divine, and not for this world. And therefore the way of creativity is also a way of surmounting “the world”. But creativity is a different quality of spiritual life than humility and ascesis, it is a disclosing of the God imaged nature of man. Sometimes they reason it out thus: at first man needs to be saved, to conquer sin, and then to create. But such an understanding of a chronological relationship betwixt salvation and creativity is in contradiction to the laws of life. Such has never occurred nor will occur. I require all my life to be saved and until the end of my life there is no succeeding ultimately to conquer sin. Therefore never will there onset a time, when I shall be able to begin to create life. But thus still, just as man needs all his lifetime to be saved, man needs all his lifetime to create, participating in the creative process in accord with his gifts and his vocation. The relationship between salvation and creativity is ideational and inward a relation, but it is not the relation of a real chronological bodily sequence. Creativity assists in and does not impede salvation, since creativity is a fulfillment of the will of God, an obeying of God’s call, a co-participation in the acting by God in the world. Whether I be a carpenter or a philosopher, I am called by God to create constructively. My creativity can be distorted by sin, but a complete lack of creativity is an expression of the ultimate stifling of man by Original Sin. It is not true, that only ascetics and saints are saved, -- they likewise created, and were artists of human souls. The Apostle Paul in his own spiritual type was to a greater degree by religious genius moreso a creator, than saint.
Not all creativity is good. There can be an evil creativity. It is possible to create not only in the name of God, but also in the name of the devil. But therein particularly it should be impossible to give up creativity to the devil, to the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ with great energy shews forth his pseudo-creativity. And if there will not be a Christian creativity and a Christian organisation of life, then the anti-Christian and the Anti-Christ’s creativity and organsation will usurp all more and more territory, to triumph in all the spheres of life. But for the work of Christ in the world it is necessary to battle outwards as much as possible for greater territories of being, it is necessary to cede as little as possible to the Anti-Christ and his work in the world. Withdrawing from the world, negating creativity in the world, ye hand over the fate of the world to the Anti-Christ. If we as Christians will not create life in true freedom and brotherhood of peoples and nations, then the Anti-Christ by falsehood will do this. The dualistic divide between a personal spiritual disposition with its morality, for which Christianity demands asceticism, denial, sacrifice and love, -- and the disposition and morality of a societal, creative governance, economy, etc., for which Christianity permits of attachments to material goods, the cult of ownership and the thirst for wealth, of rivalry and competition, of the will to power, etc. -- can no longer exist. Christian consciousness cannot permit, that society should be left on its own, which it acknowledges as defective and sinful. Christian renewal presupposes a new spiritual-societal creativity, the creation of a real Christian society, and not a conventionally-symbolic governance. It is impossible to tolerate further the conventional lie within Christianity. Anti-Christian socialism triumphs, because Christianity does not resolve the social question. Anti-Christian gnosticism triumphs, because Christianity does not reveal its own Christian gnosis. And so on in everything. We draw nigh to the final frontier. A secular, humanistic, balanced culture becomes all less and less possible. No one believes anymore in abstract culture. Everywhere man stands afront a choice. The world is divided up into opposing principles. It is impossible for everything to transpire further such, as has transpired in recent history. And together with this is the impossibility to return to the old medievalism. The problem of creativity, the problem of Christian culture and society is insoluble by the churchly-hierocratic. This is a problem of a religious sanctification of the human principle, and not the restoration of governance of the angelic principle. Creativity is a sphere of human freedom, full of copiously-abundant love towards God, the world and man. To lead a way out from the crisis of the world and the crisis of Christianity is possible neither by the principles of recent history, nor by the principles of the old Middle Ages, but only by the principles of a new Middle Ages. Christian creativity will be a deed of monasticism in the world. 9 The religious crisis of our epoch is bound up with this, that the churchly consciousness is impaired, it has not the comprehension of fullness. And sooner or later this fullness ought to be conceived of and ought to be revealed, that there is a positive creative developement in the world, and in culture it would be a revealing of human freedom in the Church, it would be a disclosure of the life of mankind in the Church, i.e. it would be subconsciously churchly. The creativity of man in the world would be the life of the very Church, as God-manhood. This does not at all mean, that all creativity and creating by man in the new history would be subconsciously churchly. This process would be twofold, in it would be readied the kingdom of this world, the kingdom of Anti-Christ. In humanism also there was a great lie, a revolt against God, it readied the destruction of man and the extinction of being. But it was also a positive searching out of human freedom, it was a disclosure of the creative powers of man. The further creative process in mankind cannot remain neutral, it ought to become positive-churchly, to be conscious of itself, or ultimately it will become anti churchly, anti-Christian, satanic. In the world, in culture there ought to be effected a real-ontologic separation, not formal and external-churchly, but innerly-spiritual and ontologically-churchly. In this is the meaning of our times. Divine energies are efficacious everywhere in the world through manifold and frequently undiscerned pathways. And it does not make sense to tempt “these little ones” of our time, the prodigal sons returning to the Church, by denying every positive religious sense of the creative processes, transpiring in the world.
In recent times all the spiritually significant people were spiritually isolated. Terribly alone, tragically alone was the genius, the creative innovator. There was no religious awareness, that the genius -- was a messenger from Heaven. And but rarely would be heard suchlike voices, as with the voices of some Catholics, calling for the canonisation of Christopher Columbus. His isolation as a genius gave rise to dualism, about which all the time there is discussion. Only a Christian renewal, which would be creative, would be able to overcome it [i.e. the dualism]. But creative Church renewal is impossible to conceive of in the hierocratic categories, it is impossible to squeeze it into the framework of churchly professionalism, it is impossible to think of it, as exclusively a “sacral” process, in contrast to “profane” processes. Creative Church renewal will come about from stirrings in the world, from culture, from the creative religious energies accumulated in the world. We need the more to believe, that Christ acts within the spiritual human race itself, that He does not forsake it, although for us this activity would be invisible. Christians stand before the task of the Churchification (‘otserkovlenie”) of the whole of life. But the Churchification does not mean the invariable subordination of all sides of life to the Church, it should be understood differently, i.e. it does not mean the resumption of theocracy and the hierocratic. Churchification would inevitably have to have on its side the acknowledgement by the Church of that spiritual creativity, which a differentiated and hierocratic churchly consciousness would posit external to the Church. The Church in a profound sense of the word has lived also in the world, and in the world have been subconscious churchly processes. The fulfillment of the Church, as Divine human life, the disclosing of an integral Church consciousness signifies deification by a new spiritual experience of mankind. It is impossible that this spiritual experience should remain unjustified and unsanctified. Man is immeasurably anxious and thirsts for the sanctification of his creative aspirations. The Church is life, and life is movement, creativity. It is impossible to endure any longer, that creative movement should remain outside the Church and in opposition to the Church, and that the Church should be unmoving and deprived of creative life. Certain forms of Church consciousness have readily acknowledged a theophany [“manifestation of God”] in ossified forms of being, in unstirring historical bodies (e.g. monarchic rule). But the times ensue, when Church consciousness mustneeds recognise the theophany in creativity. The outside the churchly, the secular, humanistic creativity is become withered, everywhere it rests upon an impasse. Culture has become insipid. A thirst for eternity torments the best people. And this means, that there ought to ensue an epoch of creativity that is of the Church, and is Christian, and Divine-human. The Church cannot remain a facet of life, a facet of the soul. We hope, that all the creative, the transfigurative attitudes towards life pass over from the world into the Church. Only within the Church can there be preserved and revealed the image of man and the freedom of man, which suffer destruction by the processes occurring in the world. In the godless civilisation there perish the image of man and the freedom of spirit, creativity withers, and already there ensues barbarity. The Church ought still once more to save the spiritual culture, the spiritual freedom of man. This I term the onset of a new Middle Ages. The will for a real transfiguration of life awakens, not merely personal, but also societal and worldly. And this good will cannot be dismissed by the perception, that the Kingdom of God upon the earth is not possible. The Kingdom of God exists in eternity and in each instant of life and is not dependent on this, that in the world the power of evil is externally victorious. Our task is to devote all our will and all our life to the victory of the power of good, to the truth of Christ in all and everywhere.
Human life is splintered and fragmented by two tragedies -- the tragedy of the Church and the tragedy of culture. These tragedies are caused by a dualistic impairment, by an impoverishment of the Church through a differentiated and hierarchic understanding of it, always setting the Church in opposition to the world. We Christians ought not to love “the world”, we ought to vanquish “the world”. But this “world” to be overcome, for the holy fathers, it is the passions to overcome, it is sin and evil, but not God’s creation, not the cosmos. The Church is set in opposition to suchlike a “world”, but it is not set in opposition to the cosmos, to God’s creation, the positive fullness of being. The resolution of the two tragedies -- is in life, and not in a theoretical-only perception of Christianity; it is as a religion not only of salvation, but also of creativity, a religion of the transfiguration of the world, of the universal resurrection, of love for God and man, i.e. in a total heeding of the Christian truth about God-manhood, about the Kingdom of God. And the positive resolution is located this side of the old opposition between heteronomy and autonomy. Creativity is not heteronomous and it is not autonomous, it is altogether not “nomic”, it is Divine-human, it is a disclosure of the profuse love of man for God, the response of man to God’s call, to God’s expectation. We believe, that in Christianity are contained inexhaustible creative powers. And the disclosure of these powers would save the world from decay and decline. The question of our times consists not in the struggle of churchly and outside-churchly Christianity, but about a spiritual struggle within the Church, of Church currents internally, -- of a current exclusively preservative and a current creative. And a monopoly of churchliness cannot belong exclusively to the preservative currents hostile to creativity. On this depends the future of the Church upon the earth, the future of the world and mankind. In the Church is an eternal conservative principle, and it ought immutably to protect the sacred and the tradition. But in the Church ought to be also an eternal creative principle, a principle transfigurative, oriented towards the Second Coming of Christ, towards the triumphing of the Kingdom of God. At the foundation of the Christian faith lies not only the priestly, but also the prophetic. “And how in accord with the grace given us, we have differing gifts, if then thou hast prophecy, prophesy according to the measure of faith” (Rom. 12: 6). Creativity, the creative discovering of the genius of man is at present a secular prophecy, to which ought to be restored its sacred significance.
© 1999 by translator Fr. Stephen Janos.
(1926 - 308 - en)
SPASENIE I TVORCHESTVO. Dva ponimaniya khristianstva. Posvyaschaetsa pamyati Vladimira Solov’eva. -- Journal “Put’”, jan. 1926, No. 2, p. 26-46.
1 The word Gnostic I utilise here not in the sense of the heretical gnosis of Valentinus or Basilides, but in the sense of religious cognition, in the sense of free theosophy, as with St. Clement of Alexandria and Origen, Frz. Baader and Vl. Solov’ev.
2 By way of a vivid example of a panicky disposition is Alphonse de Liguri, who elevated over-scrupulousness into a principle, he lived in eternal terror of sin, he asked permission of a priest, so that he might drink a glass of water and he did not have in himself the strength to give absolution of sins. Vide his excellent characterisation in the book of Heiler: “Der Katolismus”, pp. 153-157.
3 In the charming book, “Revelatory Narratives of a Wanderer to his Spiritual Father”, it says: “The fear of torment -- is the way of a slave, and the desire of reward is the way of the hireling. But God desires, that we come to Him by way of sonship”,
4 trans. note: cf. Mk. 8: 35 ff. and cognate x-ref’s. The Slavonic is faithful to the Greek and the Latin in the use of the term “soul” which perishes or is lost “for the sake of Christ and the Gospel” -- with far deeper and more profound an inner dynamic -- rather than the term “life”, found in nearly all English Gospel translations, which tend willy-nilly to follow each the other about pell-mell.
5 trans. note: the Slavonic term “Preobrazhenie” is more profoundly theologically accurate than the now-generic Greek term “Metamorphosis”, -- regarding the Mt. Tabor pre-creative Glory of Christ shared with the Father, cf. Jn. 17:5.
6 In a certain sense the dogma of papal infallibility and the gnosseology of Kant rest upon one and the same principle of an external, and juridical justifying criterion of Truth.
7 trans. note: “negative”, as contrast to “kataphatic” or “positive” theology.
8 trans. note: i.e. “of one selfsame essence” of Christ with the Father, in contrast to the “homoi-ousia” (“of similar essence”) in the heretical Arianism’s definition, which “homoi ousia” ultimately denies the full Divinity by nature in Christ, and therein negating the salvific effect of the Incarnation. The famous aphorism of St. Athanasias in his work, “On the Incarnation”, declares: “God became man so that man might become God” (i.e. in the sense of “theosis”, not pantheism).
9 By this however, I certainly no wise deny the eternal and fundamental significance of monasticism in the precise sense of the word.
Å-òåêñò ïî-ðóññêèé: Êðîòîâ, Ñâ. Ôèëàðåò, Ôèëîñ.ðó
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