“What is man?” This question shapes all of Dostoevsky’s thought and writing. And perhaps his most important insight is that humanity today is faced with a great choice: between the God-man (Christ) and the Man-God (most visible in Nietzsche’s Übermensch or Overman). Sadly, key figures of Western culture have been increasingly pursuing the second alternative for several centuries, seeking to become divine on their own terms and by their own efforts—striving to re-create the world and human nature itself according to their own will.
Nikolai Berdyaev — along with Frs. Florensky and Bulgakov one of the brightest lights of the Russian Religious Renaissance in the pre-Bolshevik decades — traces this choice (between Man-God and God-man, between Nietzsche and Dostoevsky, between Sodom and the Mother of God) with great insight here, despite his occasional forays into historicism in other parts of the book from which these excerpts are drawn.