Stolen faith and the “Apostolic Fathers” part 3
Origen or Origen Adamantius; 184/185 – 253/254), was a scholar, ascetic, and early Christian theologian who was born and spent the first half of his career in Alexandria. He was a prolific writer in multiple branches of theology, including textual criticism, biblical exegesis and hermeneutics, philosophical theology, preaching, and spirituality written in Greek. He was anathematized at the Second Council of Constantinople. He was one of the most influential figures in early Christian asceticism and despite his excommunication many of his philosophies still hold in the RCC.
asceticism: “is a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures, often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals.”
Anathematized: something or someone that is detested or shunned, a formal ecclesiastical excommunication.
Unlike many church fathers, he was never canonized as a saint because some groups believed that some of his teachings contradicted the teachings attributed to the apostles, notably the Apostles Paul and John. Of the early Church Fathers, Origen says that “He who comes to be saved, comes to be saved through fire” that burns away sins and worldliness like lead, leaving behind only pure gold.” Origen is one of the earliest subscribers to the concepts of Purgatory, prayers for the dead, and post death salvation.
Origen’s Greek name Ōrigénēs (Ὠριγένης) has been determined to mean “child of Horus”, Origen was born in Alexandria to Christian parents. He was educated by his father, Leonides of Alexandria, who gave him a standard Hellenistic education, but also had him study the Christian scriptures.
Eusebius reported that Origen, following Matthew 19:12 literally, castrated himself. Matthew 19:12 “For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”
Origen was largely responsible for the collection of usage information regarding the texts which became the New Testament. The information used to create the late-fourth-century Easter Letter, which declared accepted Christian writings, was probably based on the Ecclesiastical History [HE] of Eusebius of Caesarea, wherein he uses the information passed on to him by Origen to create both his list at HE 3:25 and Origen’s list at HE 6:25. Eusebius got his information about what texts were accepted by the third-century churches throughout the known world, a great deal of which Origen knew of firsthand from his extensive travels, from the library and writings of Origen.
I would like to point out the Eusebius and Origen, as well as many other early Roman Bishops……. ARE VALIDATING EACH OTHER!
Having been educated in classical and philosophical studies, some of his teachings were influenced by and engaged with aspects of Neo-Pythagorean, Neo-Platonist, and other strains of contemporary philosophical thought.
Origen, reportedly trained in the school of Clement and by his father, has long been considered essentially a Platonist with occasional traces of Stoic philosophy. Also, holding that the Church, as being in possession of the mysteries, affords the only means of salvation, he was indifferent to her external organization, although he spoke sometimes of the office-bearers as the pillars of the Church, and of their heavy duties and responsibilities.
To the multitude to whom his instruction was beyond grasp, he left mediating images and symbols, as well as the final goal of attainment. In Origen Christianity, a blending with the pagan philosophy, in which, lived the desire for truth and the longing after God. Known as the spiritual father of Greek monasticism.
The system of Medieval allegory began in the Early Church as a method for synthesizing the seeming discontinuities between the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament. The Church studied both testaments and saw each as equally inspired by God, yet the Old Testament contained discontinuities for Christians such as the Jewish kosher laws and the requirement for male circumcision.
Discontinuities: “an interruption in the continuity or conception of history, structure or configuration of an article.”
This therefore encouraged seeing at least parts of the Old Testament not as a literal account but as an allegory or foreshadowing of the events of the New Testament, and in particular examining how the events of the Old Testament related to the events of Christ’s life.
The development of this systematic view of the Hebrew Bible was influenced by the thought of the Hellenistic Jewish world centered in Alexandria, where Jewish philosopher Philo (c. 20 BC – c. 50 AD) and others viewed Scripture in philosophical terms (contemporary Greek literary theory highlighted foreshadowing as a literary device) as essentially an allegory, using Hellenistic Platonic concepts.
In layman’s terms: the Old Testament was just a device to get us to the New Testament. This is the foundation of several doctrinal issues such as Antinomianism, Marcionism, Montanism, and Dispensationalism.
In the 3rd century AD, Plotinus added mystical elements, establishing Neoplatonism, in which the summit of existence was the One or the Good, the source of all things; in virtue and meditation the soul had the power to elevate itself to attain union with the One.
“Platonism had a profound effect on Western thought, and many Platonic notions were adopted by the Christian church which understood Plato’s forms as God’s thoughts, while Neoplatonism became a major influence on Christian mysticism, in the West through St Augustine, Doctor of the Catholic Church whose Christian writings were heavily influenced by Plotinus’ Enneads, and in turn were foundations for the whole of Western Christian thought.” ~ Pelikan
1. Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 1,
2. The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition 100-600; Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine. Vol 3, The Growth of Mediaeval Theology 600-1300, section, “The Augustinian Synthesis”
Platonist ethics is based on the concept “Form of the Good”. Virtue is therefore knowledge, the recognition of the supreme form of the good. And, since in this cognition, the three parts of the soul, which are reason, spirit, and appetite, all have their share, we get the three virtues, Wisdom, Courage, and Moderation.
“In many interpretations of Platonism, like Aristotelianism, poses an eternal universe, as opposed to the nearby Judaic tradition that the universe had been created in historical time, with its continuous history recorded. Unlike Aristotelianism, Platonism describes idea as prior to matter and identifies the person with the soul. Many Platonic notions secured a permanent place in Christianity.” ~ The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
Pamphilus endorses universal reconciliation as the orthodox understanding of apokatastasis, or reconstitution, restitution, or restoration to the original or primordial condition. apokatastasis was first properly conceptualized in early Stoic thought, particularly by Chrysippus whose thinking was influenced by the theory of recurrence and cosmic cycles in Babylonian astronomical thought.
Frederick W. Norris, in his article “Apokatastasis”, The Westminster Handbook to Origen, 2004, states “the positions that Origen takes on the issue of universal salvation have often seemed to be contradictory. In scattered places Origen says quite clearly that he thinks all created intelligence will be restored to God at the end of time. In other places he says, equally clearly, that only souls who make the choice for God and practice the virtues God demands will come to rest in heaven. Those who do not live for God shall suffer eternally in hell or perhaps be annihilated there.”
He concludes: “One could not know in advance which audience would be most likely to accept the gospel, because of the hope engendered by God’s overpowering love or because of the fear stimulated by God’s threat of hell coupled with God’s demand for ethical living. Most audiences of hearers or readers include both groups; knowing this, Origen the pastoral preacher probably kept his view of salvation economically ‘open’ for a greater effectiveness.”
Revelation 3:14-16 (ESV)
To the Church in Laodicea
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
These men are selling a mixed message!