The transcendental unity of religions is true insofar as it pertains to metaphysics. In Lecture 6 of Lectures on Divine Humanity, Vladimir Solovyov shows his agreement with that point even for Christianity. In particular, he writes this about Neoplatonism:
It is impossible to deny the connection between Philo’s doctrine and Neoplatonism, on the one hand, and Christianity, that is, precisely the Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity, of the triune God.
The first speculations concerning God and His inner life by such Christian teachers as Justin the Philosopher, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, and especially Origen reproduced the essential truth of the doctrine of Philo and Neoplatonism.
Furthermore, Solovyov traces this connection all the way back to the Egyptian theosophy of Hermes Trismegistus. This is because metaphysics deals with essences, but it is fair to ask if that is exhaustive, when it comes to existing things. Rene Guenon skirts around this is his notion of possibilities of manifestation. In that sense, an existing thing, or manifested possibility, is metaphysically no different from a possibility of non-manifestation. This seems to be what Aristotle is saying when he claims that God does not know particular things.
Julius Evola disputes Guenon on this point. As we saw in the discussions on the Individual and the Becoming of the World, to become manifest, an idea requires an act of will. As such, the individual is not an object of contemplation. Evola thought he was opposing action to Guenon’s contemplation. However, they are not in opposition, since they are united under the “Person”, who is both the center of contemplation and of will. As we shall see, Evola was not recovering pagan ideas as he believed, but was actually recuperating Christian ideas.
The Pagan and Contemplation
The fundamental revelation made to the rishis in the Vedas was the existence of a higher self and that the manifest world was the result of ignorance, or avidya. The solution, then, was to dissolve the lower self, as knowledge of the higher self was itself liberation. That knowledge is the end of ignorance. This higher self then passively observes the passing phenomena of the world. However, this involves the dissolution of the person, because there is no longer a will. The self does not create the phenomena, but merely observes.
This solution is carried into Buddhism. It deepens the Vedic revelation when it sees suffering as inherent in the phenomenal world and it ties this suffering to desire. The Buddhist solution is therefore the elimination of desire, or the will. Again, the person is denied by following this path, since a person has will by definition.
For the Greeks, too, the highest life was contemplation. Like the rishis, ignorance was the cause of suffering and ignorance was removed by knowledge of the self. This knowledge would lead to “justice”, or the proper arrangement and relationship of the various parts of the soul to each other. The world, then, was contemplated as an object.
The Christian Revelation
Among the world’s traditions, Solovyov explains the distinctiveness of the Christian Tradition:
The originality of Christianity lies not in its general [metaphysical] views, but in positive facts, not in the speculative content of its idea but in its personal incarnation. This originality cannot be taken away from Christianity, and to affirm it, one does not need to try to prove, against history and common sense, that all the ideas of Christian dogmatics appeared as something absolutely new, that they fell, so to speak, ready-made from heaven.
Solovyov explains the relationship between a person and an idea. Without a subject to actualize it, an idea would be passive and impotent. It could not really exist. To achieve real, full being, the inner unity of person and idea is necessary.
By analogy, the absolute idea is also determined in its inner subjective existence as a particular and unique person. This insight requires a living God, God as a fact, not the passive Brahman. The living God reveals Himself as “I am”, not with respect to particular things but with respect to the All, or the Infinite.
Still, the initial revelation to the Hebrews was incomplete and partial. They saw God’s will as arbitrary in Himself, but compulsory for humanity. But the understanding deepened, and the will of God could not be understood as despotism, but rather as the consciously chosen good. For the person, the compulsion is experienced as internal necessity, i.e., true freedom. Hence, the path of salvation, or liberation, is not the annihilation of the will as in the various forms of paganism, but rather the alignment, or better submission, of the personal will to the divine Will. Since God is Absolute and Infinite, there can only be one such Will.
So on the one hand, there is the revelation of the absolute personhood of God made to the Hebrews. On the other, the absolute idea of Divinity was grasped in Greece. The complete knowledge of God requires the synthesis of both these elements. That was the task of Christianity.