Origen

Origen

Born: 185. Died: 254.

Ideas

- God as the Ground of Being (the First God) is unknowable except to the Logos-Son and Spirit eternally generated by God.

- God, however, has communicated throught the Logos-Son (Christ: Wisdom, Power) not only in the incarnation in Jesus but in Moses and the prophets and, in a qualified way, in Greek greats.

- All rational creatures, and to some degree even the natural order, have free will and therefore are responsible to God.

- Although a 'fall' shattered an original unity, the entire universe will ultimately have its unity restored along with all creation.

- Scriptures, every jot and tittle of which is inspired, provide the key to understanding the mysteries of life.

Biography

Origen of Alexandria is considered one of the greatest of all Christian theologians. As a philosopher, he is famous for composing the seminal work of Christian Neoplatonism, his treatise On First Principles.

Origen lived through a turbulent period of the Christian Church, when persecution was wide-spread and little or no doctrinal consensus existed among the various regional churches. In this environment, Gnosticism flourished, and Origen was the first truly philosophical thinker to turn his hand not only to a refutation of Gnosticism, but to offer an alternative Christian system that was more rigorous and philosophically respectable than the mythological speculations of the various Gnostic sects. Origen was also an astute critic of the pagan philosophy of his era, yet he also learned much from it, and adapted its most useful and edifying teachings to a grand elucidation of the Christian faith.

In Treatise On First Principles, which is the most systematic and philosophical of Origen's numerous writings, Origen establishes his main doctrines, including that of the Holy Trinity (based upon standard Middle Platonic triadic emanation schemas); the pre-existence and fall of souls; multiple ages and transmigration of souls; and the eventual restoration of all souls to a state of dynamic perfection in proximity to the godhead.

Major Works of Origen

- Contra Celsum
- Treatise on First Principles

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