Origen the Theologist
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Origen Adamantius or Origen of Alexandria remains, to this date, one of the most influential theologians of early Christianity. His works, which include around two thousand treatsies on theology. These cover topics from biblical homiletics and hermeneutics to spirituality and asceticism. Origen was one of the finest scholars to come out of the Greek Church and his teachings especially around the ideas of apologetics and asceticism have inspired countless scholars that came after him. Out of the astounding creations that Origen’s pen produced, the Hexapla, a synopsis of all six versions of the Old Testament, went down in history as his greatest work.
Considering that Origen produced a lasting impact on Christian thought, it is naïve to think of him and his teachings as anything but controversial. Everything in his faith and teachings came under cruel scrutiny when he was alive and after he died. Origen believed in asceticism to the degree that a rumor regarding Origen castrating himself was accepted as truth by the general public. He denied it. CITATION Joh04 \l 1033 (McGuckin, 2004) His views regarding the idea of apologetics also earned him infamy. Origen believed that all mankind could be turned back to the light of god at the end or the consummation. This went on to earn him another rumor about an alleged belief that even satan could be forgiven. Origen denied these. CITATION Rog99 \l 1033 (Olson, 1999) However, his texts have ample evidence regarding this idea. Origen holds the idea that consummation means attaining perfection which, in itself, means that all creation will be ‘restored to one end’. He derives this from the bible saying: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.” (Psalm 110:1) Again quoting Jesus’ prayer to make all his believers ‘perfected in one’, Origen reinforces this idea. He also, however, maintains that some are lost so far to evil that their return is impossible. Origen also goes on to explain the idea that much of intelligent life existed before being born, created by god in his own image. He manifests it with the example of Esau and Jacob. The argument of the existence of a spiritual body, resembling the holiness of god, is found in holy texts on resurrection. These provide Origen with evidence to suggest the existence of these before birth as well. This, like other ideas, also earned him infamy and rebuke from the Church. CITATION Pat67 \l 1033 (Patrides, 1967)
BIBLIOGRAPHY McGuckin, J. A. (2004). The Westminster Handbook to Origen. Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press.
Olson, R. (1999). The Story of Christian Theology: Twenty Centuries of Tradition & Reform. Illinois: Intervarsity Press.
Patrides. (1967). The salvation of Satan. Journal of the History of Ideas, 467-478.
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