The Transfigured Cosmos offers a succinct introduction to Christian Orthodoxy, both unparalleled in its incisive brevity and cut trimly to the measure of Western Christians in such a way as to depict in genial high relief perspectives offering constructive and profound openings for truly universal spiritual insight. These words from the Orthodox theologian Nicholas Zernov (1898-1980), summarized from the introduction, capture perfectly the spirit of the book:
In the West body and spirit are clearly distinguished, and there is a tendency to set them in opposition to each other; in the Christian East they are treated as interdependent parts of the same creation. In the West the individual occupies the center of attention; in the East he is seen as a member of a community. In the West mankind is the main object of redemption; in the East the whole cosmos is brought within its scope. The Western mind is analytic; it likes to scrutinize, dissect, classify; in its dealings with religion it tends to be logical and even legalistic. Eastern Christians on the contrary are more interested in synthesis. They look upon the world as one great organism; they approach the diverse manifestations of life as an expression of the same ultimate reality. The East does not think about salvation in terms of the individual soul returning to its Maker; it is visualized rather as a gradual process of transfiguration of the whole cosmos, culminating in theosis. Man is saved, not from the world but with the world.