Chapter 5 - Creativity and Being
The Being of the world is creature; being which has been and continues to be created. And the stamp of the creative act lies on all created being.
A thing created, createdness, speaks of the Creator. Createdness is creativity.
The creation of the world is creative development in God, His emergence from solitude; it is the call of divine love. Creativity presupposes movement and dynamic within divine life. The creative process is carried out in God from all eternity. Only the recognition of created being permits an original creative act in being, an act which produces something new and unprecedented. If everything in being was not created, but had always existed, the very idea of creativity could not have been born in the world.
If there had not been a divine creative act in which something which had never been before was created, then the creative act in our world would be quite impossible. If divine nature is not capable of creativity, what sort of nature could be? The very idea of creativity is possible only because there is a Creator and because He carried out an original creative act in which that which never was came into being, something which did not proceed from anything which had been before and which neither weakened nor reduced the absolute power of the Creator.
The creative act does not create out of the nature of the creator by reducing his powers through transforming them into some other state, but out of nothing. Creativity is not changing the creator’s powers into some other state, thus weakening the former: creativity is the production of new force from that which had not been, which until then had not existed. Every creative act, in essence, is creation out of nothing: the production of new forces rather than the changing or rearrangement of the old. In every creative act there is absolute gain, something added. The creative quality of being, the growth which takes place in being, the achievement of gain without any loss—all this speaks of a creator and of creativity.
The creative quality of being speaks of the creator and of creativity in two senses: there is a Creator who produced created being, and within this created being creativity is possible. The world was made not only created, but creative. Createdness bears the image and likeness of the Creator, i.e. in createdness, itself, there are creators.
But human nature is the image and likeness of the Creator; it is creative nature. The soul is eternal, created by God the Creator before all worlds: the basic element of the soul is divine and independent of the world-process and its times. The pre-existence of souls is an absolute metaphysical truth. But the fate of the soul is bound up with cosmic development.
The creative act is an absolute addition to being; the increase of power without any loss or diminution continues in created being itself, in man as in his Creator. Creativity in the world is possible only because the world is created.
Creative gain is born of the creator’s freedom. Man is called to enrich divine life, for not only God and divinity should be absolute but man and humanity as well.
But in God there is a passionate and anguished longing for man. In God there is a tragic deficiency which is satisfied by the great gain of man’s birth in Him.
The mystics taught the mystery of God’s birth in man. But there is another mystery, that of man’s birth in God. There is a summons, a call in man, for God to be born in him. But there is also God’s call that man be born in Him. This is the mystery of Christianity, the mystery of Christ. God and man together are greater than God alone. The substantial multinomial being revealed in One, is greater than a One undifferentiated. Only the myth of God’s longing for man and for man’s love can bring us near to the final mystery.
Penetration into the “createdness” of being brings us to recognize the contrast between creativity and emanation. If the world is created by God, this is a creative act, and creativity is justified.
The creative act presupposes a monopluralism, that is the existence of a multitude of free and independent beings; in other words, a concrete all-oneness.
The question is not whether the world and man are outside divinity, but whether every person, every being, has free and independent existence. The transcendence of Divinity may be accepted only in the sense that the individuality of every personality cannot disappear and be dissolved in Divinity. The free and independent being of the personality unites with God but does not disappear in Him. Disappearance and dissolution presuppose a non-personal God: free union presupposes that God is personal. The personal God is the Triune God, the three persons of the Divine Trinity. Only with the Persons of the Divine Trinity is personal communion and union possible.
In Christianity, Divinity has already shown His Triune Face. The world is an inward drama of the Trinity. It may be said both that God is completely transcendent to man and that He is immanent in man. There must be revealed in me not only God and Divine but man as well, my human nature—this means that man must be born in God. The plurality in the world has a positive religious meaning. Eternity is the heritage not only of God but of man, as profit from the world-process. This is the meaning of Christianity, as a religion of Divine-humanity.
The love within the persona of the Holy Trinity is divine dynamic. We must recognize creative evolution and development as a theogonic, cosmogonic and anthropogonic process.
The creative act is a free and independent force, immanently inherent only in a person, a personality. Only something arising in original substance and possessing the power to increase power in the world can be true creativity. Something arising from without, produced by a rearrangement of substance, is not creativity.
Creativity is not a new relationship among the parts of the world—it is an original act of personalities in the world. If the world is not a hierarchy of personal substances which have free and original force in themselves, then creativity in the world is impossible.
Only a personalist doctrine of the world, for which every being is personal and original, can give meaning to creativity. Such a personalist doctrine recognizes the originality of personality, derived from nothing outside or general, from no other means.
God is a concrete personality and therefore a creator: man is a concrete personality and therefore a creator. The whole make-up of being is concrete and personal and hence possesses creative power.
The world, through and through, is a hierarchy of living beings, original personalities, capable of creatively increasing being. The process which takes its rise in the substances of the world and their rearrangement is evolution. The process which arises from the internal force of substances, from their personal originality, is creativity.
By its nature, created being cannot be something finished, something closed within God’s act of creation. If created being is dynamic, then the creative process is always active and continuing. The Creator gives to man, to his own image and likeness, free creative power. Man’s creativity is like that of God—not equal and not identical, but resembling it. Man is not absolute and hence cannot have absolute power. In his creativity man is related to other people and to the whole world of beings: he is not almighty.
But in human personality there is original creative force resembling that of God. God is not the master, the lord, the commander. God’s management of the world is not an autocracy.
The Old Testament consciousness, suppressed and frightened, knows God as a terrible commander, an autocratic master. Such a conception of God is incompatible with Christianity as a religion of divine-humanity. There can be no intimate relationship with a God who is a terrible commander, an autocratic master. Intimacy is possible only with God as man, that is, with Christ.
Through Christ, God ceases to be for us a master and commander, and God’s providence ceases to be autocracy. There begins an inner, intimate life of man together with God, man’s conscious participation in the Divine nature.
Without Christ it is difficult to understand God. Without Christ, God is terrible and far-off and cannot be justified. Christ is the only theodicy.
But if Christ is, then God is not master, not lord, not an autocratic commander—God is near us. He is human. He is in us and we in Him. God Himself is Man—this is the supreme religious revelation, the revelation of Christ. With Christ, God’s autocracy ceases, for man as the son of God is called to immediate participation in divine life. The management of the world becomes divine-human.
In divine-human religion, God reveals His will. But man’s will must be revealed by man, himself. The divine-human religion predicates man’s activity. If God created man in His own image and likeness, and if the Son of God is absolute Man, this means that man as a son of God is predestined to be a free creator, like his Father-Creator.
Christ, the Son of God, Savior and Redeemer restores man’s creative powers, which had been undermined and weakened. The way of Christ is the true birth of man. According to God’s idea of man, a concept which cannot be revealed by God alone but must be revealed by man as well, man is called to continue God’s work of creation.
The creation of the world was not finished in those seven days. What was finished in seven days is the limited, Old Testament aspect of creation, for which the whole mystery of creation was not revealed. The stamp of sin’s oppression lies on the Old Testament cosmogonic consciousness. But the New Testament religion of Christ reveals a new aspect of creation. God's work of creation is continued in the incarnation of Christ the Logos.
The appearance in the world of the God-man marks a new moment in the creativity of the world, a moment of cosmic significance. In the revelation of the God-man begins the revelation of the creative mystery of man. The world is being created not only in God the Father but in God the Son. Christology is the doctrine of continuing creation. And creation may be completed only in the Spirit, only by man’s creativity in the Spirit.
The process of the world’s creation passes through all the hypostases of the Trinity. The world-process is being completed in the Trinity.
Hence everything earthly is completed in heaven. The mystery of creation cannot be revealed in the creative work of God the Father alone. In the consciousness of Christ’s incarnation, as a continuation of the creation, there is already implicit man’s creative role in the world. It is revealed in God the Son and God the Spirit that God continues His work of creation together with man and his free powers. God created such an astoundingly exalted image of Himself that in God’s very act of creation there is justified the limitless audacity of man’s creative act, man’s creative freedom.
Up to now Christian consciousness has not known the creative revelation that man’s task in the world is to create what has not yet existed, to supplement and enrich the creative work of God. The world-process cannot be only the experience of sin and redemption from it, only the victory over evil. The world-process is the eighth day of creation, it is continuing creation.
All the mysteries of God are revealed in the cosmogonic world-process; the mysteries of creation and of creativity. The world-process is a creative process of revelation, in which both the Creator and created being equally participate.
In the creativity of created being the Son of God and the Spirit of God are revealed. The creating man partakes of Divine nature; in him the divine-human creation is continued.
The creative epoch must create a new creative doctrine of man, of the world and its development. Creative development, rather than evolution, must be revealed in the world. Knowledge in the creative epoch is active, not passive; it presupposes creative effort and hence reveals creativity.
When creative force moves into a dynamic state in being, a new consciousness is produced: for perception is being. The new knowledge of the creative force in man and in the world can only be new being. The creative impulses of the new man are symptoms of the dawn of new being and new knowledge.
Creative philosophy recognizes the dynamic quality of created being. Created being is continuously created—it knows no limits to the creative process; it is not a closed set of data. Created being is through and through personal and plural, i.e. it consists of self-sufficient and creative individual beings. The cosmos is being created; it is not given, it is a task set.
But is there a limit to the creativity of created beings? Are they completely like the Creator in His creative powers? There is an eternal and impassable limit which separates human creativity from divine creativity, from the creativity of the Creator. Created beings do not create beings—these are created only by God.
Personality is created in God before all worlds. And every attempt on the part of created beings to create being leads only to the production of an automat, a dead mechanism. Such an attempt is always demonic—it is black magic.
Only God has the power to create living being, personality. There is a divine basis for every being, every personality. The creation of created beings can be directed only towards the increase of the creative energy of being, the growth of beings and their harmony in the world, to the production of hitherto non-existent values, new upsurge into truth, goodness and beauty—i.e. towards the production of the cosmos and of cosmic life—towards a “pleroma” (fullness), towards a super-worldly completeness.
But being in the image and likeness of God can be created by God alone. The very hierarchy of living beings in the world is made by the Creator to be the eternal composition of being.
Substance cannot be created in the creative process. Every attempt to understand creativity as the reproduction of new living beings, rather than as an increase of energy, as growth and upswing created by God, is both godless and demonic. The mystery of the creation of persons is God’s mystery. Every tendency in this direction leads to the production of an automatic and mechanical being, devoid of life. This is the creativity of the fallen angel. (Angels have no personality!)
In what sense are there two worlds: “this world” and “the other”? Ontologically, there is only one world, one divine being. But the fall of being shattered and divided it. The world came into a diseased state. “This world” is an illness of being, its captivity, its fallen state, a partial loss of its freedom and its subjection to external necessity. “The other world” is the health of being, its uplift, its liberation, its fullness. “This world” must be overcome and eliminated. But this does not mean hostility towards the world or the cosmos—it means hostility only toward its disease, its enslavement and its fall.