Revelation in Nicolas Berdyaev’s Religious Philosophy

Brian McKinlay


Open Theology 3 (2017): 117–133, doi 10.1515/opth-2017-0009.

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Nicolas Berdyaev’s understanding of the self-revelation of God to humankind is a point of connection between the central ideas of his religious philosophy. Berdyaev says that God’s self-revelation occurs within the inner person, through divine-human spiritual cooperation, bringing about a revolutionary transformation of the human consciousness. Yet, the degree to which revelation can occur depends on human spiritual development. The eschatological culmination of this development will be the revelation of God in humankind and humankind in God—fulfilling the Godmanhood of Christ. The content of revelation is the Truth that is Godself, expressed in relational knowledge of God. Revelation occurs as an activity of divine-human cooperation. It is affected by human limitations and must be open to critique, particularly to purge from it human categories of dominance, power and enslavement. Truth is its own criterion, but in sobornost there is a sense of communal discernment. Only in freedom may revelation and truth may be found.