Original Research - Special Collection: Trinity

A page from Russian cosmology in the Trinitarian story of creation

Johan Buitendag
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 43, No 1 | a2678 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v43i1.2678 | © 2022 Johan Buitendag | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 August 2022 | Published: 26 October 2022

About the author(s)

Johan Buitendag, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


This article approached the doctrine of the Trinity from the vantage point of the science and religion dialogue, because the issue of faith and reason is integral to this concept. This approach requires humility and silence. A page from the cosmology of the Russian Silver Age sheds light on the notorious schism of 1054 between the Western and the Eastern theologians on the Filioque issue, which manifests the lack of an apophatic and antinomistic approach. The issue is thus whether God is intrinsically part of nature and yet is its Creator and Redeemer. This question touches upon God’s transcendence and immanence, cataphatic and apophatic theology and even the complementarity of the two. Two protagonists of the ‘Russian Religious Renaissance’, Pavel Florensky (1882–1937) and Sergius Bulgakov (1871–1944), presupposed Christian faith and belief by giving theology preference to philosophy in this debate. Reality is seen as an antinomy and placed within the broader context of human cultural activity.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: A socially oriented worldview was pursued that underscored the ontological priority of relationality. The conclusion was drawn from the Russian Orthodox theology that the doctrine of the Trinity has its roots in the God–human relationship in Christ by the (Holy) Spirit and it interprets the homoousios of the Godhead as Sophia and antinomianism as the most crucial features of this belief.


Trinity; science and religion dialogue; Russian Silver Age; Bulgakov; Florensky; Sophiology; antinomianism; theo-ecology.

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