The Dualism of the Spiritual World (Study part II)
In the second part of his anthropological study, Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin draws analogies between the material and spiritual worlds, between the worlds of humans and angels.
The dualism discussed in the first part of the analysis is characteristic not only of humanity, but also of angels. How does it work in both worlds?
However, even before the creation of man, a similar division occurs at the level of the angels. Created immortal, incorporeal and eternal spirits, angels are divided into two halves.
A thousand shall fall from thy land, and darkness shall be at thy right hand, but they shall not come near thee.
πεσεῖται ἐκ τοῦ κλίτους σου χιλιὰς καὶ μυριὰς ἐκ δεξιῶν σου πρὸς σὲ δὲ οὐκ ἐγγιεῖ
יִפֹּל מִצִּדְּךָ ׀ אֶלֶף וּרְבָבָה מִימִינֶךָ אֵלֶיךָ לֹא יִגָּשׁ׃
Again, the original unified angelic nature is divided in two. One part of the angels is loyal to God and maintains its supreme position in creation. The second part, under Dennica (Hebrew בֶּן-שָׁחַר “son of the dawn”, Greek ἐωσφόρος, Latin Lucifer) or Satan (Hebrew שָׂטָן — literally “adversary”, “enemy”) rebels against God and his creation and, as a result of the battle in which the good angels are victorious, falls into the depths of existence, into the realms below the depths of creation.
Thus, the story of man and his separation echoes the fate of the higher incorporeal entities, the angels, also divided into two irreconcilable halves.
In a sense, this is the logical outcome of the freedom that God has fully given to his creation. Every being endowed with a mind and will, be it a human being or an angel, is able to consciously choose whether to be with God or without Him, and without Him ultimately means against Him, i.e. the path of rebellion and struggle against God. Such a choice inevitably leads to the abyss and turns the subject’s being into a rejected victim, i.e. a scapegoat.
According to the Church’s conception, in the Last Judgement the final fate not only of men, but also of angels will be determined (Letter of St Jude, ch. 1, 6). It is then that Christ, together with the good angels and the saints, will judge the bad angels, who will share the fate of the goats – “scapegoats” – and finally perish in the abyss.
Eschatological anthropology is thus inextricably linked to angelology. Men and angels have a similar destiny: both are given the fullness of mind and will, hence the ontological fullness of freedom. And with the help of this freedom both one and the other define their destiny: to become a victim accepted by God or to be rejected. From indefinite unity the path of the intelligent creature leads to the final and irrevocable bifurcation of the Last Judgement.
The common destiny of human beings and angels
The commonality of destiny between human beings and angels is an essential element of religious anthropology. Both begin in unity and end in separation. Both are fully endowed with freedom, mind and will. But they belong to two different dimensions: human beings are endowed with a dense body, which angels do not have, and are therefore mortal (body). Angels have no body and are not dependent on a dense shell: they maintain their existence from the beginning to the end of creation.
Therefore their choice is not in time, but in eternity – Dennitz fell at the beginning of time, falls in the continuation of world history and will finally be overthrown at the Last Judgement. Angels have a different scale, but the same ontological issues as humans.
This immensity, in addition to temporality, is also reflected in the fact that angels, being free of bodies, are able to control the corporeal elements of the world. Hence their power. Revelation paints a picture of the end times in which angels, faithful to God, inflict worldwide plagues on humanity. And Satan, the fallen angel, is called by the apostles “the prince of this world” (Gospel of John, ch. 12:31) and even “the god of this world” (Second Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians, ch. 4:4), which emphasises the enormous volume of his power in managing the processes of the cosmos.
We can say that human history goes from the unity of Adam to the final separation at the Last Judgement in the horizontal – temporal dimension. The ‘history’ of the angels is vertical. It is organised along the axis of eternity, which permeates creation once and for all. Hence the Devil already appears in heaven and in the last times assumes almost complete power over the world. And they have a common finale, the Last Judgement.
At the beginning and the end of world history, the fate of angels is extremely close to that of men, and the eternal verticality of creation with the horizontality of time and this leads us to be more attentive to both dimensions, the anthropological and the angelological, which can never be completely separated from each other. At the beginning and end of history, the respective moments – of unity and bifurcation – fully unite angels and men. But even in later eras, as well as in the different slices of the angelic vertical, men and angels are in close relation to each other.
Most importantly, human history and angel destiny are defined by a fundamental code of bifurcation. In eschatology this becomes fully explicit. It is at the end of time, at the Last Judgement, that the whole truth about the fall of the angels will be revealed. Likewise, the entire content of man’s existence in time will be revealed – “the secret will be made manifest” (Gospel of Luke, Ch. 17; Gospel of Matthew Ch. 10: 26; Gospel of Mark Ch. 4: 22).
The communion between men and angels is structured by a fundamental duality. Men, who occupy the intermediate – horizontal – layer of creation, move towards final separation gradually – in the course of a historical process that reaches its climax at the moment of the Last Judgement (here the duality of humanity is manifested to an absolute degree). The fall of the angels occurs vertically and instantaneously – in the context of created eternity, always simultaneous for any moment of historical time. This is why the duality of angels is constant. It is always present, from the beginning of time to its end, but the final judgement of the fallen angels will coincide with the Last Judgement.
In other words, the dualism of men is implicit in the course of history, whereas the dualism of angels is explicit in relation to any moment in human history – the choice of men takes place over time, the choice of angels is instantaneous. At the same time, the duality of humanity unfolds in the context of the fall of the angels once and for all. Both dimensions create the volume of an ontological process that, in essence, is sacred history.
The anthropology of the Psalms (Avdeenko’s interpretation)
This fundamental dualism of anthropology (as well as angelology) is brought into focus by contemporary Russian Bible scholar, philosopher and theologian Evgeny Avdeyenko. In his interpretation of the Psalms and the Book of Job, he provides a detailed explanation of the entire ontological volume of human duality, interpreting the biblical texts in this way.
Avdeenko emphasises that the Psalter plays such an exceptional role in Christian tradition and liturgy precisely because it represents the fundamental structure of man, with King David as the most striking example of man as such, summarising the ontological history of Adam and anticipating the new Adam, Christ. The entire content of the Psalter is a narrative of the structure, nature and destiny of man as such. And this is its enduring significance.
Avdeyenko’s contrasting emphasis on the anthropological nature of the Psalms is accompanied by another key moment: in his reading, the Psalms are presented as a fundamentally dualistic narrative with the opposition between two zones of being: light and darkness, good and evil, the heavenly realm and the subterranean hell (sheol), down to its lowest layer, the abyss of Avaddon. God is one, but precisely because he is one and only he, being is essentially dual.
This will be fully revealed in the separation at the Last Judgement, but for Avdeenko this dualism predetermines the entire content of anthropology and sacred history, the semantic core of which is the Psalter. Anthropological (but also angelological) dualism for Avdeenko is not postponed to the final agreement of the end times, but operates from the beginning and continuously, being the main key to understanding religion as such.
Here it is appropriate to recall what we have said about the vertical along which the fall of the angels has passed forever, is passing and will continue to pass.
Man – Adam, David – is always placed at the centre of this vertical, where the choice is possible in time; the finalisation of this choice will coincide with the end of time, but the impact of the two poles is always felt by man, at every moment of his existence. He is always faced with the choice between Cain and Abel, between the faithful apostles and Judas, between the archangel Michael and Denitsa.
Unlike the angels, whose choice is always made and unequivocal, man until his last breath has the opportunity to change his ontological field – “to turn away from evil and do good” (Psalm 33:15). After that, he has only to wait for the Last Judgement.
Man’s dualism involves time; it is the core of his moral nature. Man is never mechanically destined to be good or bad. This choice is made throughout life. This is what the Psalms tell us, which Avdeyenko elaborates.
- Dugin’s Guideline: The Anthropological Problem in Eschatology
- Dugin’s Guideline: The Dualism of the Spiritual World
- Dugin’s Guideline: The final division between the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness
- Dugin’s Guideline: The Curse of the West and the Salvation of Russia