The Meaning of the Creative Act

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The great Russian philosopher Nikolai Berdyaev (1874-1948) believed that the dawn of the twentieth century would bring an end to the old atheistic and positivistic worldview and the beginning of a new era of the spirit. His philosophy goes beyond mere rational conceptualization and tries to attain authentic life itself: the profound layers of existence in contact with the divine world. He directed all his efforts-philosophical as well as in his personal and public life-at replacing the kingdom of this world with the kingdom of God. According to him, we can all attempt this by tapping the divine creative powers that constitute our true nature. Our mission is to be collaborators with God in His continuing creation of the world. The Meaning of the Creative Act is a seminal work for Nikolai Berdyaev. It adumbrates a number of crucially important themes that he develops in his later works, notably creative freedom as an essential element of human life and human creativeness as complementary to God's creativeness. Berdyaev's aim is to sketch out an "anthropodicy," a justification of man (as opposed to a theodicy, a justification of God); man is to be justified on the basis of his creative acts, inasmuch as he is a creature who is also a co-creator in God's work of creation. This is how Berdyaev puts it: "God awaits from us a creative act." "Nikolai Berdyaev's writings are always insightful, penetrating, passionate, committed-expressions of the whole person. They are as intensely alive now as when they were first written."-Richard Pevear, translator of War and Peace and The Brothers Karamazov "Nikolai Berdyaev's writings retain their freshness as vehicles for thinking not just about the future of Russia, but about the spiritual challenges facing the modern world."-Paul Vallier, author of Modern Russian Theology: Bukharev, Soloviev, Bulgakov "Nikolai Berdyaev is one of the few who have found the Christian answer, and yet do not cease to question with those whose lives are still torn asunder by disbelief, doubt, and sufferings; one of the few who dare to be, as thinkers, Christians and, as Christians, thinkers."-Evgeny Lampert, author of The Apocalypse of History Boris Jakim has translated and edited many books in the field of Russian religious thought. His translations include S. L. Frank's The Unknowable, Pavel Florensky's The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Vladimir Solovyov's Lectures on Divine Humanity, and Sergius Bulgakov's The Bride of the Lamb.

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