Arseniev’s Revelation of Life Eternal A Review of Revelation of Life Eternal Nicholas Arseniev was a professor of New Testament and Apologetics at St. Vladimirs He wrote over 174 articles and books and died in 1977. His Revelation of Life Eternal is described as “an introduction to the Christian message.” It pulls together many different mystic perceptions and beliefs, and it is an excellent entry into the diverse world of Christian Mysticism. The introduction quickly pulls the reader in by asking several basic questions about why religion even exists at all. These questions are first answered with broad answers, then Arseniev focuses on why Christian Mysticism is the answer to these questions: “We have to believe in God, because this is Truth–life-giving Truth His Reality is something very earnest, very real: it is the only true Reality And He has to meet us, or rather we have to meet Him, for He meets us at every step” (8). This book is especially valuable to those of us who have little or no knowledge of Christian mysticism.
It is broken into two parts, and each part is divided into chapters. Many of the chapters follow the pattern of the introduction by asking a broad question first, then defining it within the terms of the beliefs of the mystics. Basic Biblical stories are reviewed through easily comprehended but not patronizing language, allowing the reader to learn the background information for the beliefs of Christian Mysticism. The many sources consulted for the information shared in this book allows the reader to have some faith in what is being read. Many saints, religious books, and scholars are quoted, thus supporting the theories posed. The first chapter “Principles of Religious Cognition” explains why religion is indeed necessary and why humans are naturally drawn to question things that religion alone can answer.
From proving this basic need for religion, Arseniev has a platform to prove his personal religious beliefs–those of Christian Mysticism. A few chapters later some of the problems in early and false religions are explored. As each different issue is dismantled, he is able to set up the premise of Christian Mysticism, which has lasted for hundreds of years–contrasting this with religions that have fallen. Plato is explored, thus pulling in platonic and neoplatonic beliefs, which have become integral part of contemporary mysticism and influenced many of the sources with which Arseniev refers. Christs importance is explored in chapters about the Transfiguration, Resurrection, and Atonement–three of the basic supporting factors within Christian Mysticism.
The book is wrapped up with chapters about the importance of Gods humility and love, most importantly Gods ultimate love for us. I enjoyed this book for many reasons. The language is easy to understand, but it is beautiful and descriptive at the same time. I had little knowledge of Christian Mysticism before reading this book, so I found it to be an excellent introduction. As I read each chapter, the questions posed persuaded me to continue reading, because I became very interested in the answers to the questions. The questions were answered using reputable sources and answers that appealed to common sense and experience.
I was actually surprised by how interested I became in the Orthodox church. This book appealed to the knowledge I already had of different religious beliefs, thus pointing out that Mysticism indeed could affect my life directly and keeping my interest high I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Orthodox church but has little past experience with it. Nicholas Arsenievs book Revelation of Life Eternal is an excellent introduction to the basic beliefs within Christian Mysticism. It gives the beliefs and the history of religion in general before focusing on the development of Christian Mysticism. It is an excellent source of information on Christian Mysticism for anyone who has little or know knowledge of the subject beforehand.