A. Dugin on Manifestationism vs. Creationalism

Professor Evgeny Torchinov

University of St Petersburg


Dear Chaverim,

The discussion of the problem of manifestationism and creationalism initiated by Alexander Dugin seems to me to be extremely important for understanding of some principal patterns of religious approach to the Universe and its relation to Absolute.

First of all I would like to express the opinion that in the history of religions the pure creationism are very rear. For example, the theistic branches of Vedanta (such as vishishtadvaita of Ramanuja or dvaitavedanta of Madhva) proclaim the idea of divine creation (the Universe is a result of the creative act of the Divine Personality of the Godhead, Ishvara, the Lord) but in fact we have here a kind of emanationist theory: God emanates the Universe from His own divine substance, and the Universe is something like the physical body of God.

Though purely theistic Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam proclamed the principle of "creatio ex nihilo" (creation from nothing), in the majority of the theological systems of these religions this creationist thesis coexists with more or less distinctly articulated elements of immanentist and manifestationist doctrines. And if (especially, in Christianity) the scholastic tradition of rational theology prefers creationist pattern, mystical branches prefer its interpretation in immanentist notions (Meister Eckchart versus Thomas Aquinas; Gregory Palamas versus Barlaam of Calabria, etc.). Sufism as Moslem esoterism has a strong tendency to the immanentist interpretation of the theistic paradigm of Islam (its extreme form is the theory of the Unity of Existence / wahdat al-wujud of Ibn al-'Arabi) and Kabbalah has the same tendency in the frames of the Judaistic theism. As a result, we have different types of superimpositions of creationist and immanentist approaches and very seldom those approaches in their pure form ((I discuss this question in some details in my Russian book "Religions of the World: Experience of the Transcendence (transpersonal states and psychetechniques)". St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Center for Oriental Studies, 1997 -- English summary and contents see: http://etor_best.tripod.com/my.txt)).

The approach of the Lurianic Kabbalah towards the problem of creation is even more complex and sophisticated. First, the idea of the contraction of Absolute (tzimtzum) and subsequent emanations of the Divine Light into the emptiness of tehiru gives rising to the idea of creatio in nihilo (creation in nothing[ness]) and not creation from nothing. Second, tehiru as such is only a condition (here -- place) of creation and not the matter, or substance of creation. All forms and structures of the created worlds are but configurations of the Divine Lights which represent the Divine Essence as such. And reshimu as a kind of the "matter of creation" is a remnant of the same Light preserved in tehiru after contraction. Therefore in Lurianic Kabbalah (in its two versions of Hayyim Vital and ibn Tibul) we have a description of a highly complicated process of the Divine unfolding, or explication of the hidden Absolute within the polimorphic world systems.  Therefore, shevirat ha-kelim is a tragedy within (and not outside) Divine being.

The ontological and existential gap here struck the very essence of the Divine being in Its unfolding. And the process of Tiqqun is the process of reintegration of Being and Absolute as such and restoration of the unity of the structures of Divine unfolding. In the Sabbatian Kabbalah of Nathan of Gaza the principal schedule is even more sophisticated because of the existence of thought-less Lights which do not participate in the act of contraction.

And I quite agree with Alexander Dugin when he speaks (with reference to R. Guenon) that the theistic principle of creatio ex nihilo ("creationalist approach") has a close relation to the origins of the modern European cultural paradigm (from the methodological principles of Cartesian and Newtonian science up to the formating of secular cultural complex and movement of the philosophical thought from theism to deism of the thinkers of the French Enlightenment and to the pure scepticism and agnosticism of the British empiricism pregnant with different kinds of atheism). But here I understand "creationalism" as pure abstract pattern of thought in its relation to cultural processes and not as a historically existing Christian or Jewish theological doctrine.

Raising up Holy Sparks together,

posted on the Donmeh mail list
Tue, 26 Oct 1999

About the author: Professor Evgeny Torchinov is a Buddhist, a scholar of comparitive religion and oriental philosophies, a published author, and professor at the Faculty of Philosophy at St. Petersburg State University

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