Vladimir Soloviev (1853 – 1900)
Love Holds the Cosmos Together
Love is the relationship that should characterize not only interpersonal relations, but also our relation to the cosmic environment. Our love creates spiritual energies which inwardly transform the cosmos itself, imprinting upon it the image of God’s love. The cosmos itself is a living organism within which the pleroma of humanity as a organ has a central and key function almost like the heart and brain of the body. “Sophia” is both humanity and the earth principle, the magna matter. The constitution of humanity itself is a mediating principle between God and nature.
~ Quoted in Paulos Mar Gregorios, The Human Presence: Ecological Spirituality in the Age of the Spirit, The Christian Literature Society, Park Town, Madras,India, 1980, pg
The Social and the Cosmic Environment as Living Entities
What is needed in the first instance is that we should treat our social and cosmic environment as an actual living being with which we are in the closest and most complete interaction, without ever being merged into it….
~ A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press, London, 1950, pg. 58.
The Path to Integration with Nature
In order that (the false separation of beings in space and time) should be abolished altogether, and all individuals, both past and present, should finally become eternal, the process of integration must transcend the limits of social or strictly human life and include the cosmic sphere from which it started. In ordering the physical world the divine idea threw the veil of natural beauty over the kingdom of matter and death; through man, through the activity of his universally rationale consciousness, it must enter that kingdom “from within” in order to give life to nature and make its beauty eternal. In this sense it is essential to change man’s relation to nature. He must enter with it too into the same relation of syzygic [a pair of opposites] unity which determines his true life in the personal and social sphere.
~ A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press, London, 1950, pg. 178.
After experiencing a series of profoundly transforming visions, Soloviev embarked upon a lifelong journey to articulate their meaning. This nineteenth century Russian scholar became known as a lyrical prophet who envisioned all humanity as mystically tied into one great being. He saw “Sophia” (or divine wisdom) as representing the entire cosmic creation through all time, and identified her as “the true, pure, perfect humanity in its highest and all-embracing form, the living soul of nature and the universe, united to God from all eternity, and in the temporal process attaining union with Him and uniting to him all that is.” Therefore, he says, in the redemption of man, the redemption of nature is directly implied. Soloviev was a fighter for justice and peace, for social reformation and a right regard for the creation, and thus he represents a leading edge of Christian ecological concern over a century before its popularization.
A Cosmic View of the Liberation of Nature
Nature has so far been either an omnipotent despotic mother of the child man, or a slave, a thing foreign to him. In that second epoch (of Western thought) poets alone preserved and kept up a timid and unconscious love for nature as a being possessing full rights and having, or capable of having life in itself….
To establish a truly loving or syzygic relation between man and his natural and cosmic, as well as his social environment is a purpose that is quite clear in itself. But the same thing cannot be said about the ways in which an individual man can attain it. Without going into premature… details, one can confidently say one thing on the basis of well-established analogies from cosmic and historical experience. Every conscious human activity, determined by the idea of universal syzygy and having for its purpose the embodiment of the all-embracing ideal in some particular here, actually produces or liberates spiritual-material currents which gradually gain possession of the material environment, spiritualize it and embody in it certain images of the all-embracing unity.
~ A Soloview Anthology, SCM Press, London, 1950, pg. 179.