The Holy Spirit’s role in deification

by Andrea Elizabeth

The second half of The Comforter and Divine-Humanity is about God’s union with creation. Here’s a sample,

The Holy SpiritТs Kenosis for us: Sanctification in Creation and Inspiration for Divine-Humanity

The kenosis of the Holy Spirit in the immanent Trinity, her becoming copula of the Father and the Son, their hypostatic Love, is paralleled in the created realm: the SpiritТs sophianic sanctification of the world, and her personal descent in creation for the inspiration of humanityЧto become copula that binds in love all human relationships in the self-offering love of friendship. Thus from the beginning of creation the Holy Spirit is the Artist, the Giver of life, bathing creation in beauty; but in the fullness of time, in the Christ event, the Holy Spirit accompanies the descent of the Son and is poured on all flesh (Acts 2:17). In turn, the apex of time of the earthly ministry of Jesus becomes a special moment for the labor of the Spirit in creation: a personal labor, but shrouded in a special hiddenness. Each of these three kenotic moments of the Spirit in creationЧsince the beginning of time, in the life of the man Jesus, and in PentecostЧwill be pondered in turn.

And this goes with my byline quite nicely,

a. The Sophianic action of the Holy Spirit

That matter is energy and energy is matter is one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our times. It also retells the story in contemporary language of how GodТs Ruah swept over Уnothing,Ф over tohu-bohu, birthing Уlife.Ф The inherent УpotentialityФ or energy created by the Father is breathed upon, preparing УnothingФ to receive its form, to be molded into matter, to become the rich diversity that mirrors the beauty of God. In the Spirit, matter becomes, evolves, is crafted, according to its design given by the Logos. Breath is the energy inherent in matter, Уexist[ing] in the very flesh of the world, in the matter of the world,Ф[73] enabling it with the dynamism to gradually become Уsomething,Ф beauty, the rich diversity of creatures. The Spirit who fulfills, who completes, empties herself in an ongoing sophianic action towards creationТs fulfilment, towards creationТs completion, but that requires the very participation of creation according to its particular freedom or УmeasureФ: УThis multistage or gradual character of being is proper to the life of the world, for the creative Сlet there beТ always resounds in the world in its different forms; creation is always the future too, not only nata, but also natura[74] Not only the apparent, but also the imaginedЧsince the transcendence of this divine imagination is the telos of creation; its becoming not only natura, but supranatura, the resplendence of God.

The sanctification of matter is then explained, and I want to quote the whole thing, but will commend the link instead. This is what I’ve been looking for. I’m reminded of the “what happens” in St. Maximus, but this seems to be the “how”.

There occurs a mysterious, i.e. invisible, transfiguration of creation, in which the latter, while ontologically remaining itself, becomes transparent for the Spirit, receives the faculty of communion with God, is deified.

If I’m understanding Bulgakov rightly, the personified Sophia is sort of like the Derridian ‘membrane’ where Spirit meets creation. But this membrane is transparent, or at least becomes so upon deification/union with God, whereas Derrida’s remains opaque, or when breached still remains other, whose brightness is beheld from a distance. And Derrida is talking about creature to creature, with Truth as a silent, though bright witness. But Bulgakov is talking about the inherent Spirit in creation, who is indeed everywhere present and fills all things. Creation becomes transparent through being sanctified in the Church, so until that happens, I think perhaps Derrida may be disappointed, and if not, is he in prelest? Non-Christians can appreciate the glory of nature, but they probably are in danger of becoming Pantheists. Still, I’d take a Pantheist over a Gnostic. I think. I don’t know, praise God that I don’t have to choose, but I hope the Pantheists help clean up the smog in the Grand Canyon.