Monday, February 13, 2006

something from origen


Origen has a tarnished reputation. But I like him. For one thing, those doctrines for which he is most often indicted (the preexistence of human souls, Apokatastasis, or the eventual redemption of all free creatures, including the devils, and some other one) had not been systematically considered by the Catholic Church, and so Origen could not have been straying beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy with regard to things around which there were, at the time, no boundaries drawn by the Church.

There is also the fact that Origen is among the white-robed martyrs: he suffered torture, and eventually died for the faith.

At any rate, I am reading Origen's On First Principles just now. Here is an interesting and edifying passage:

Thus the working of the Father, which endows all with existence, is found to be more glorious and splendid, when each one, through participation in Christ in his chacter of wisdom and knowledge and sanctification, advances and comes to higher degrees of perfection; and when a man, by being sanctified through participation in the Holy Spirit, is made purer and holier, he becomes more worthy to receive the grace of wisdom and knowledge, in order that all stains of pollution and ignorance may be purged and removed and that he may make so great an advance in holiness and purity that the life which he received from God shall be such as is worhy of God, who gave it to be pure and perfect, and that that which exists shall be as worthy as he who caused it to exist. Thus, too, the man who is such as God who made him wished him to be, shall receive from God the power to exist for ever and to endure for eternity. That this may come to pass, and that those who were made by God may be unceasingly and inseparably present with him who really exists, it is the work of wisdom to instruct and train them, and lead them on to perfection, by the strengthening and unceasing sanctification of the Holy Spirit, through which alone they can receive God.

In this way, then, through the ceasless work on our behalf of the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit, renewed at every stage of our progress, we may perchance just succeed at last in beholding the holy and blessed life; and when after many struggles we have been able to attain to it we ought so to continue that no satiety of that blessing may ever possess us; but the more we partake of its blessedness, the more may the loving desire for it deepen and increase within us, as ever our hearts grow in fervour and eagerness to receive and hold fast the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

WB,
Do you think Luther read Origen? No, not that Luther, the other Luther!

BFC

J-Tron said...

I'd be curious to know what you think of the way Origen speaks about Christ in First Principles, particularly in terms of Christ as the Word. It seems to me that he collapses logos into sophia in a way that is problematic for a number of reasons, the main one being Old Testament exegesis.