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Lectures on Divine Humanity

Product no.: 0-940262-67-3
These lectures, given by Solovyov in St. Petersburg in 1878, mark a seminal moment not only in Russian but also in world philosophy.

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Publisher's Synopsis

Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and other luminaries were in the audience. It was recognized by everyone that something astonishing had occurred. The young philosopher, mystic and visionary, Solovyov, had given unexpectedly concise, intellectual expression to the reality of the evolution of consciousness and religion.

He had spoken movingly of the actualization of Divine Humanity in eternity and time, of the divine world and the fall of spiritual beings into sin, of the origin and meaning of the natural world, and the incarnation of Christ, leading to the redemption of the visible and invisible worlds in the full revelation of Divine Humanity.

Sophia, whom Solovyov experienced three times in his life, inspires this great work. He conceives Sophia in a variety of ways: as the eternal ideal prototype of humanity, as the world soul actively engaged in actualizing this idea, and as the fully developed divine-human being. This Sophia is both the active principle in the process of creation and its realized goal: the kingdom of God.

"Assuming the ultimate unity of Absolute Being, termed God in the Judeo-Christian tradition, Solovyov proposed that the world’s multiplicity, which had originated in a single creative source, was undergoing a process of reintegration with that source. Solovyov asserted, by his concept of Godmanhood, that the unique intermediary between the world and God could only be man, who alone is the vital part of nature capable of knowing and expressing the divine idea of 'absolute unitotality' in the chaotic multiplicity of real experience."    ~Encyclopædia Britannica


"Christ, as God, freely renounces the glory of God and thereby, as a human being, acquires the possibility of attaining that glory. On the way to this attainment, human nature and the will of the Savior inevitably encounter the temptation of evil. The Divine-human person has a dual consciousness: the consciousness of the limits of natural existence and the consciousness of His own divine essence and power. And so, experiencing the limitations of natural being, the God-man may be subjected to the temptation of making His divine power a means for the goals that follow from these limitations.

In the first temptation, a being subject to to the conditions of material existence is tempted to make material welfare the goal and His divine power the means for attaining it: "If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made into bread." The divine nature and the manifestation of that nature are tempted to serve as a means for satisfying a material need. In answer to this temptation, Christ asserts that the Word of God is not an instrument of material life but is itself the source of the true life: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Having overcome this temptation of the flesh, the Son of Man receives power over all flesh.

In the second temptation, the God-man, free from material motives, is tempted to make divine power an instrument for the self-assertion of human personality, to fall into the sin of the mind, the sin of pride: "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." This act would be a proud call of a human being to God, a temptation of God by a human being, and Christ answers: It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the lord thy God. Having conquered the sin of the mind, the Son of Man receives power over minds.

The third and last temptation is the strongest one. Enslavement by the flesh and the pride of the mind have been removed. Human will finds itself now on a high moral level, and is conscious of itself as being higher than the rest of creation. In the name of this moral height, humanity can wish for mastery over the world in order to lead the world to perfection, but "the world lieth in wickedness" and will not voluntarily submit to moral superiority. Therefore, it must be forced to submit; one must use one's divine power to force the world into subjection. But to use coercion, which is evil, in this way for the purposes of good is to admit that, in itself, good is impotent, that evil is stronger than good. It is to worship that principle of evil that has dominion over the world. "And he sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."

The human will is directly challenged with the fateful question of what it believes in and what it wishes to serve--the invisible power of God or the power of evil that openly reigns in the world? Having overcome the temptation of a plausible desire for power, Christ's human will freely subordinates itself to the true good, rejecting any agreement with the evil that reigns in the world: "Then said Jesus unto him: Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve." Having overcome the sin of the spirit, the Son of Man receives supreme power in the realm of the spirit, refusing to submit to the earthly power for the sake of dominion over the earth, he acquires for Himself the service of the powers of heaven: "And behold, angels came and ministered unto Him."

Author Solovyov, Vladimir
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 189 pp.
Publisher Lindisfarne Press 1995
Browse these categories as well: Eastern Orthodox Christianity, Mystic and Esoteric Christianity, Biblical Exegesis and Pseudepigrapha, Love, Beauty and the Feminine, Masterworks of the Western Mystery Tradition, Ave Maria: Solstice

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