Murder Most Foul
Nothing & Nausea

No Prime Mover

I can't quit remember now what reference I read a few months ago when I ordered sabbatical books which made me include Sergei Bulgakov's The Bride of the Lamb on the list.  I'm only about 45 pages into this dense, thick book, and so far I haven't had quite the intellectual orgasm that I did at the start of Zizioulas' Being as Communion, in fact I have a number of question marks in the margins of sections I didn't comprehend.  But there are a couple of discussions that have intrigued me.

One, which I read this afternoon, was his criticism of the theology and philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and his particular point that the Christian God cannot be the Prime Mover/Unmoved Mover/First Cause as Aquinas, following Aristotle, argued.  Interesting, Zizioulas argued that God isn't being (thus no point in an Ontological Argument) and now Bulgakov (who does use the concept being by the way) argues against the underlying concept of all Cosmological arguments.

Bulgakov's argument seems to be that causality applied to God's relation to the world is a category-mistake (I'm borrowing that term from Gilbert Ryle; it isn't Bulgakov's term).  Excerpts:

God is not the cause, or mover, of the world.  He is the world's Creator, and the world is God's creation. . . .   It is first necessary to point out that the idea of creation, in contradistinction to causality, is personal and presupposes a personal God.

Remember that Zizioulas argues the importance of the concept of person, instead of being, applied to God.  Bulgakov continues, using human creativity as an analogy:

Human creativity transcends itself and reflects upon itself: it is characterized by the self-revelation of the creator in his creation.  Something new appears here which is not causally conditioned, and at the same time it is connected with its creator, as belonging to him.  Above this relation there breathes the spirit of creative freedom, overcoming (even if only in part) dead necessity.  Causality is dead; creativity is alive and life-bearing.

I am reminded of that splendid book Creativity in American Philosophy by Charles Hartshorne (the chapter on Jonathan Edwards in that book convincingly refutes any notion of divine predestination by the way).  Yet even Hartshorne doesn't make the argument Bulgakov makes here.  I am intrigued by it and look forward to how the concept will develop in the next 500 pages of the book.

The other point of interest so far will be in a separate post.


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