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THE DOCTRINE OF GOD AND HIS SELF-UNFOLDINGS OR CREATIONS.720720In opposition to the method for obtaining a knowledge of God, recommended by Alcinous (c. 12), Maximus Tyr. (XVII. 8), and Celsus (by analysis [apophat.], synthesis [kataphat.], and analogy), Origen, c. Cels. VII. 42, 44, appeals to the fact that the Christian knows God better, namely, in his incarnate Son. But he himself, nevertheless, also follows the synthetic method. The world points back to an ultimate cause and the created spirit to an eternal, pure, absolutely simple, and unchangeable spirit, who is the original source of all existence and goodness. so that everything that exists only does so in virtue of being caused by that One, and is good in so far as it derives its essence from the One who is perfection and goodness. This fundamental idea is the source of all the conclusions drawn by Origen as to the essence, attributes, and knowableness of God. As the One, God is contrasted with the Manifold; but the order in the Manifold points back to the One. As the real Essence, God is opposed to the essences that appear and seem to vanish, and that therefore have no real existence, because they have not their principle in themselves, but testify: “We have not made ourselves.” As the absolutely immaterial Spirit, God is contrasted with the spirit that is clogged with matter, but which strives to get back to him from whom it received its origin. The One is something different from the Manifold; but the order, the dependence, and the longing of that which is created point back to the One, who can therefore be known relatively from the Manifold. In sharpest contrast to the heretical Gnosis, Origen maintained the absolute causality of God, and, in spite of all abstractions in determining the essence of God, he attributed self-consciousness and will to this superessential Essence (in opposition to Valentinus, Basilides, and the later Neoplatonists).721721 In defining the superessential nature of the One, Origen did not go so far as the Basilidians (Philosoph. VII. 20, 21) or as Plotinus. No doubt he also regards the Deity as ἐπέκεινα τῆς ὀυσίας (c. Cels. VII. 42-51; περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 1; Clement made a closer approach to the heretical abstractions of the Gnostics inasmuch as he still more expressly renounced any designation of God; see Strom. V. 12, 13), but he is not βύθος and σιγή, being rather a self-comprehending Spirit, and therefore does not require a hypostasis (the νοῦς) before he can come to himself. Accordingly the human intellect is not incapable of soaring up to God as the later Neoplatonists assert; at least vision is by no means so decidedly opposed to thought, that is, elevated above it as something new, as is held by the Neoplatonists and Philo before them. Origen is no mystic. In accordance with this conception Origen and Clement say that the perfect knowledge of God can indeed be derived from the Logos alone (c. Cels. VII. 48, 49: VI. 65-73; Strom. V. 12. 85: VI. 15. 122), but that a relative knowledge may be deduced from creation (c. Cels. VII. 46). Hence they also spoke of an innate knowledge of God (Protrept. VI. 68; Strom. V. 13. 78), and extended the teleological proof of God furnished by Philo (περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 1. 6; c. Cels. I. 23). The relatively correct predicates of God to be determined from revelation are his unity (c. Cels. I. 23), his absolute spirituality (πνεῦμα ἀσώματος, ἄϋλος, ἀσχημάτιστος) — this is maintained both in opposition to Stoicism and anthropomorphism; see Orig. περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 1, Origen’s polemic against Melito’s conception of God, and Clem., Strom. V. 11. 68: V. 12. 82, — his unbegottenness, his immortality (this is eternity conceived as enjoyment; the eternity of God itself, however, is to be conceived, according to Clement, as that which is above time; see Strom. II. 2. 6), and his absolute causality. All these concepts together constitute the conception of perfection. See Fischer, De Orig. theologia et cosmologia, 1840. The created is one thing and the Self-existent is another, but both are connected together; 350as the created can only be understood from something self-existent, so the self-existent is not without analogy to the created. The Self-existent is in itself a living thing; it is beyond dispute that Origen with all his abstractions represented the Deity, whom he primarily conceived as a constant substance, in a more living, and, so to speak, in a more personal way than the Greek philosophers. Hence it was possible for him to produce a doctrine of the attributes of God. Here he did not even shrink from applying his relative view to the Deity, because, as will be seen, he never thinks of God without revelation, and because all revelation must be something limited. The omnipresence of God indeed suffers from no limitation. God is potentially every. where; but he is everywhere only potentially; that is, he neither encompasses nor is encompassed. Nor is he diffused through the universe, but, as he is removed from the limits of space, so also he is removed from space itself.722722Orig. περὶ ἀρχῶν II. 1. 3. But the omniscience and omnipotence of God have a limit, which indeed, according to Origen, lies in the nature of the case itself. In the first place his omnipotence is limited through his essence, for he can only do what he wills;723723 C. Cels. V. 23. secondly by logic, for omnipotence cannot produce things containing an inward contradiction: God can do 351nothing contrary to nature, all miracles being natural in the highest sense724724 L.c. — thirdly, by the impossibility of that which is in itself unlimited being comprehended, whence it follows that the extent of everything created must be limited725725Περὶ ἀρχῶν II. 9. 1: “Certum est, quippe quod præfinito aliquo apud se numero creaturas fecit: non enim, ut quidam volunt, finem putandum est non habere creaturas; quia ubi finis non est, nec comprehensio ulla nec circumscriptio esse potest. Quod si fuerit utique nec contineri vel dispensari a deo, quæ facta sunt, poterunt. Naturaliter nempe quicquid infinitum fuerit, et incomprehensibile erit.” In Matth., t. 13., c. 1 fin., Lomm. III., p. 209 sq. — fourthly, by the impossibility of realising an aim completely and without disturbing elements.726726See above, p. 343, note 2. Omniscience has also its corresponding limits; this is specially proved from the freedom of spirits bestowed by God himself. God has indeed the capacity of foreknowledge, but he knows transactions beforehand because they happen; they do not happen because he knows them.727727See c. Cels. II. 20. That the divine purpose should be realised in the end necessarily follows from the nature of the created spirit itself, apart from the supporting activity of God. Like Irenæus and Tertullian Origen very carefully discussed the attributes of goodness and justice in God in opposition to the Marcionites.728728Clement also did so; see with respect to Origen περὶ ἀρχῶν II. 5, especially § 3 sq. But his exposition is different. In his eyes goodness and justice are not two opposite attributes, which can and must exist in God side by side; but as virtues they are to him identical. God rewards in justice and punishes in kindness. That it should go well with all, no matter how they conduct themselves, would be no kindness; but it is kindness when God punishes to improve, deter, and prevent. Passions, anger, and the like do not exist in God, nor any plurality of virtues; but, as the Perfect One, he is all kindness. In other places, however, Origen did not content himself with this presentation. In opposition to the Marcionites, who declared Christ and the Father of Christ to be good, and the creator of the world to be just, he argued that, on the contrary, God (the foundation of the world) 352is good, but that the Logos-Christ, in so far as he is the pedagogus, is just.729729See Comment. in Johann. I. 40, Lomm. I. p. 77 sq. I cannot agree that this view is a rapprochement to the Marcionites (contrary to Nitzsch’s opinion, l.c., p. 285). The confused accounts in Epiph., H. 43. 13 are at any rate not to be taken into account.
From the perfect goodness of God Origen infers that he reveals or communicates himself, from his immutability that he always reveals himself. The eternal or never beginning communication of perfection to other beings is a postulate of the concept “God”. But, along with the whole fraternity of those professing the same philosophy, Origen assumed that the One, in becoming the Manifold and acting in the interests of the Manifold, can only effect his purpose by divesting himself of absolute apathy and once more assuming a form in which he can act, that is, procuring for himself an adequate organ — the Logos. The content of Origen’s teaching about this Logos was not essentially different from that of Philo and was therefore quite as contradictory; only in his case everything is more sharply defined and the hypostasis of the Logos (in opposition to the Monarchians) more clearly and precisely stated.730730Clement’s doctrine of the Logos, to judge from the Hypotyposes, was perhaps different from that of Origen. According to Photius (Biblioth. 109) Clement assumed two Logoi (Origen indeed was also reproached with the same; see Pamphili Apol., Routh, Reliq. S., IV., p. 367), and did not even allow the second and weaker one to make a real appearance on earth; but this is a misunderstanding (see Zahn, Forschungen III., p. 144). Λέγεται μέν — these are said to have been the words of a passage in the Hypotyposes — κὰι ὁ ὑιὸς λόγος ὁμωνύμως τῷ τατρικῷ λόγῳ, ἀλλ᾽ οὐχ οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ σὰρξ γενόμενος, οὐδὲ μὴν ὁ πατρῷος λόγος, ἀλλὰ δύναμίς τις τοῦ Θεοῦ. οἷον ἀπόρροια τοῦ λόγου αὐτοῦ νοῦς γενόμενος τὰς τῶν ἀνθρώπων καρδίας διαπεσοίτηκε. The distinction between an impersonal Logos-God and the Logos-Christ necessarily appeared as soon as the Logos was definitely hypostatised. In the so-called Monarchian struggles of the 3rd century the disputants made use of these two Logoi, who formed excellent material for sophistical discussions. In the Strom. Clement did not reject the distinction between a λόγος ἐνδιάθετος and προσορικός (on Strom. V. 1. 6. see Zahn, l.c., p. 145 against Nitzsch), and in many passages expresses himself in such a way that one can scarcely fail to notice a distinction between the Logos of the Father and that of the Son. “The Son-Logos is an emanation of the Reason of God, which unalterably remains in God and is the Logos proper.” If the Adumbrationes are to be regarded as parts of the Hypotyposes, Clement used the expression ὁμοούσιος for the Logos, or at least an identical one (See Zahn, Forschungen III., pp. 87-138 f.). This is the more probable because Clement, Strom. 16. 74, expressly remarked that men are not μέρος θεοῦ καὶ τῷ Θοῷ ὁμοούσιοι, and because he says in Strom. IV. 13. 91: εἰ ἐπὶ τὸ καταλῦσαι θάνατον ἀφικνεῖται τὸ διαφέρον γένος, οὐχ ὁ Χριστὸς τὸν θάνατον κατήργησεν, εἰ μὴ καὶ αὐτὸς αὐτοῖς ὁμοούσιος λεχθείη. One must assume from this that the word was really familiar to Clement as a designation of the community of nature, possessed by the Logos, both with God and with men. See Protrept. 10. 110: ὁ θεῖος λόγος, ὁ φανερώτατος ὄντως Θεός, ὁ τῷ δεσπότῃ τῶν ὅλων ἐξισωθείς). In Strom. V. 1. 1 Clement emphatically declared that the Son was equally eternal with the Father: οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ ὁ πατὴρ ἄνευ υἱοῦ· ἅμα γὰρ τῷ πατήρ υἱοῦ πατήρ (see also Strom. IV. 7. 58: ἓν μὲν τὸ ἀγέννητον ὁ παντοκράτωρ, ἓν δὲ καὶ τὸ προγεννηθὲν δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο, and Adumbrat. in Zahn, l.c., p. 87, where 1 John I. 1 is explained: “principium generationis separatum ab opificis principio non est. Cum enim dicit “quod erat ab initio” generationem tangit sine principio filii cum patre simul exstantis.” See besides the remarkable passage, Quis dives salv. 37: Θεῷ τὰ τῆς ἀγάπης μυστήρια, καὶ τότε ἐποπτεύσεις τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός, ὃν ὁ μονογενὴς υἱὸς Θεὸς μόνος ἐξηγήσατο· ἔστι δὲ κὰι αὐτὸς ὁ Θεὸς ἀγάπη καὶ δι᾽ ἀγάπην ἡμῖν ἀνεκράθη· καὶ τὸ μὲν ἄρρητον ἀυτοῦ πατήρ, τὸ δὲ ἡμῖν συμπαθὲς γέγονε μήτηρ· ἀγαπήσας ὁ πατὴρ ἐθηλύνθη, καὶ τούτου μέγα σημεῖον, ὃν ἀυτὸς ἐγέννησεν ἐξ αὑτοῦ καὶ ὁ τεχθείς ἑξ ἀγάπης καρπὸς ἀγάπη, But that does not exclude the fact that he, like Origen, named the Son κτίσμα (Phot., l.c.). In the Adumbrat. (p. 88) Son and Spirit are called “primitivæ e virtutes ac primo creatæ, immobiles exsistentes secundum substantiam”. That is exactly Origen’s doctrine, and Zahn (i.e., p. 99) has rightly compared Strom. V. 14. 89: VI. 7. 58; and Epit. ex Theod. 20 The Son stands at the head of the series of created beings (Strom. VII. 2. 5; see also below), but he is nevertheless specifically different from them by reason of his origin. It may be said in general that the fine distinctions of the Logos doctrine in Clement and Origen are to be traced to the still more abstract conception of God found in the former. A sentence like Strom. IV. 25. 156 (ὁ μὲν οὖν Θεὸς ἀναπόδεικτος ὣν οὐκ ἔστιν ἐπιςτημονικός, ὁ δὲ υἱὸς σοφία τέ ἐστι καὶ ἐπιστήμη) will hardly be found in Origen I think. Cf. Schultz, Gottheit Christi, p. 45 ff. Nevertheless the personal independence 353of the Logos is as yet by no means so sharply defined as in the case of the later Arians. He is still the Consciousness of God, the spiritual Activity of God. Hence he is on the one hand the idea of the world existing in God, and on the other the product of divine wisdom originating with the will of God. The following are the most important propositions.731731See Schultz, l.c., p. 51 ff. and Jahrbuch für protestantische Theologie I. pp. 193 ff. 369 ff. The Logos who appeared in Christ, as is specially shown from Joh. I. 1 and Heb. I. 1, is the perfect image732732It is very remarkable that Origen περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 1 in his presentation of the Logos doctrine, started with the person of Christ, though he immediately abandoned this starting-point “Primo illud nos oportere scire”, so this chapter begins, “Quod aliud est in Christo deitatis eius natura, quod est unigenitus filius patris, et alia humana natura, quam in novissimis temporibus pro dispensatione suscepit. Propter quod videndum primo est, quid sit unigenitus filius dei.” of God. He is the Wisdom 354of God, the reflection of his perfection and glory, the invisible image of God. For that very reason there is nothing corporeal in him733733 Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 2, 6. and he is therefore really God, not αὐτόθεος, nor ὁ Θεὸς, nor ἄναρχος αρχή (“beginningless beginning”), but the second God.734734 The expression was familiar to Origen as to Justin (see Dial. c. Tryph). See c. Cels. V. 39: Καὶ δεύτερον οὖν λέγωμεν Θεόν· ἴστωσαν, ὅτι τὸν δεύτερον Θεὸν οὐκ ἄλλο τι λέγομεν, ἢ τὴν περιεκτικὴν πασῶν ἀρετῶν ἀρετὴν καὶ τὸν περιεκτικὸν παντὸς οὑτινοσοῦν λόγου τῶν κατὰ φύσιν καὶ προηγουμένως γεγενημένων, But, as such, immutability is one of his attributes, that is, he can never lose his divine essence, he can also in this respect neither increase nor decrease (this immutability, however, is not an independent attribute, but he is perfect as being an image of the Father’s perfection).735735Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 13 has been much corrupted by Rufinus. The passage must have been to the effect that the Son is indeed αγαθός, but not, like the Father, ἀπαραλλάκτως ἀγαθός. Accordingly this deity is not a communicated one in the sense of his having another independent essence in addition to this divine nature; but deity rather constitutes his essence: ὁ σωτὴρ οὐ κατὰ μετουσίαν, ἀλλὰ κατ᾽ οὐσίαν ἐστί Θεός736736Selecta in Psalm., Lomm. XIII., p. 134; see also Fragm. comm. in ep. ad Hebr., Lomm. V., p. 299 sq. (“the Saviour is not God by communication, but in his essence”). From this it follows that he shares in the essence of God, therefore of the Father, and is accordingly ὁμοούσιος τῷ πατρί (“the same in substance with the Father”) or, seeing that, as Son, he has come forth from the Father, is engendered from the essence of the Father.737737 L.c.: “Sic et sapientia ex deo procedens, ex ipsa substantia dei generatur. Sic nihilominus et secundum similitudinem corporalis aporrhœæ esse dicitur aporrhœa gloriæ omnipotentis pura quædam et sincera. Quæ utræque similitudines (see the beginning of the passage) manifestissime ostendunt communionem substantiæ esse filio cum patre. Aporrhœa enim ὁμοούσιος videtur, id est, unius substantiæ cum illo corpore, ex quo est vel aporrhœa vel vapor.” In opposition to Heracleon Origen argues (in Joh. XIII. 25., Lomm. II., p. 43 sq.) that we are not homousios with God: ἐπιστήσωμεν δέ, εἰ μὴ σφόδρα ἐστὶν ἀσεβὲς ὁμοουσίους τῇ ἀγεννήτῳ φύσει καὶ παμμακαρίᾳ εἶναι λέγειν τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας ἐν πνεύματι τῶ Θεῶ. On the meaning of ὁμοουσίος, see Zahn, Marcell., pp. 11-32. The conception decidedly excludes the possibility of the two subjects connected by it having a different essence; but it says nothing about how they came to have one essence and in what measure they possess it. On the other hand it abolishes the distinction of persons the moment the essence itself is identified with the one person. Here then is found the Unitarian danger, which could only be averted by assertions. In some of Origen’s teachings a modalistic aspect is also not quite wanting. See Hom. VIII. in Jerem. no. 2: Τὸ μὲν ὑποκείμενον ἕν ἐστι, ταῖς δὲ ἐπινοίαις τὰ πολλὰ ὀνόματα ἐπὶ διαφόρων. Conversely, it is also nothing but an appearance when Origen (for ex. in c. Cels. VIII. 12) merely traces the unity of Father and Son to unity in feeling and in will. The charge of Ebionitism made against him is quite unfounded (see Pamphili Apol., Routh IV. p. 367). But having 355proceeded, like the will, from the Spirit, he was always with God; there was not a time when he was not,738738Οὐκ ἔστιν ὅτε οὐκ ἦν, de princip. I. 2. 9; in Rom. I. 5. nay, even this expression is still too weak. It would be an unworthy idea to think of God without his wisdom or to assume a beginning of his begetting. Moreover, this begetting is not an act that has only once taken place, but a process lasting from all eternity; the Son is always being begotten of the Father.739739Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 2-9. Comm. in ep. ad. Hebr. Lomm. V., p. 296: “Nunquam est, quando filius non fuit. Erat autem non, sicut de æterna luce diximus, innatus, ne duo principia lucis videamur inducere, sed sicut ingenitæ lucis splendor, ipsam illam lucem initium habens ac fontem, natus quidem ex ipsa; sed non erat quando non erat.” See the comprehensive disquisition in περὶ ἀρχῶν IV. 28, where we find the sentence: “hoc autem ipsum, quod dicimus, quia nunquam fuit, quando non fuit, cum venia audiendum est” etc. See further in Jerem. IX. 4, Lomm. XV., p. 212: τὸ ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης οὑχὶ ἅπαξ γεγέννηται, καὶ οὐχι γὲννᾶται . , . καὶ ἀεὶ γεννᾶται ὁ σωτὴρ ὑπὸ τοῦ πατρός; see also other passages. It is the theology of Origen which Gregory Thaumaturgus has thus summed up:740740See Caspari, Quellen, Vol. IV., p. 10.εἷς κύριος, μόνος ἐκ μόνου, Θεὸς ἐκ Θεοῦ, χαρακτὴρ καὶ εἰκὼν τῆς θεότητος, λόγος ἔνεργος, σοφία τῆς τῶν ὅλων συστάσεως περιεκτικὴ καὶ δύναμις τῆς ὅλης κτίσεως ποιντική, ὑιὸς ἀληθινὸς πατρός, ἀόρατος ἀοράτου καὶ ἄφθαρτος ἀφθάρτου καὶ ἀθάνατος ἀθανάτου καὶ ἀἴδιος ἀϊδίου. (“One Lord, one from one, God from God, impress and image of Godhead, energetic word, wisdom embracing the entire system of the universe and power producing all creation, true Son of a true Father, the invisible of the invisible and incorruptible of the incorruptible, the immortal of the immortal, the eternal of the eternal”). The begetting is an indescribable act which can only be represented by inadequate images: it is no emanation — the expression προβολή is not found, so far as I 356know741741In περὶ ἀρχῶν IV. 28 the prolatio is expressly rejected (see also I. 2. 4) as well as the “conversio partis alicuius substantiæ dei in filium” and the “procreatio ex nullis substantibus.” — but is rather to be designated as an act of the will arising from an inner necessity, an act which for that very reason is an emanation of the essence. But the Logos thus produced is really a personally existing being; he is not an impersonal force of the Father, though this still appears to be the case in some passages of Clement, but he is the “sapientia dei substantialiter subsistens742742L.c. I. 2. 2. (“the wisdom of God substantially existing”) “figura expressa substantia: patris” (express image of the Father’s substance”), “virtus altera in sua proprietate subsistens” (a second force existing in its own characteristic fashion “). He is, and here Origen appeals to the old Acts of Paul, an “animal vivens” with an independent existence.743743L.c. I. 2. 3. He is another person,744744De orat. 15: Ἔτερος κατ᾽ οὐσίαν καὶ ὑποκείμενον ὁ υἱός ἐστι τοῦ πατρός. This, however, is not meant to designate a deity of a hybrid nature, but to mark the personal distinction. namely, the second person in number.745745C. Cels. VIII. 12.: δύο τῇ ὑποστάσει πράγματα. This was frequently urged against the Monarchians in Origen’s commentaries; see in Joh. X. 21: II. 6 etc. The Son exists κατ᾽ ἰδίαν τῆς οὐσίας περιγραφήν. Not that Origen has not yet the later terminology οὐσία, ὑπόστασις, ὐποκείμενον, πρόσωπον. We find three hypostases in Joh. II. 6. Lomm. I., p. 109, and this is repeatedly the case in c. Cels. But here already begins Origen’s second train of thought which limits the first that we have set forth. As a particular hypostasis, which has its “first cause” (πρῶτον αἴτιον) in God, the Son is “that which is caused” (αἱτιατόν), moreover as the fulness of ideas, as he who comprehends in himself all the forms that are to have an active existence, the Son is no longer an absolute simplex like the Father.746746In Joh. I. 22, Lomm. I., p. 41 sq.: ὁ Θεὸς μέν οὖν πάντη ἕν ἐστι καὶ ἁπλοῦν ὁ δὲ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν διὰ τὰ πολλά. The Son is ἰδέα ἰδεῶν, σύστημα θεωρημάτων ἐν αὐτῶ (Lomm. I., p. 127). He is already the first stage of the transition from the One to the Manifold, and, as the medium of the world-idea, his essence has an inward relation to the world, which is itself without beginning.747747See the remarks on the saying: “The Father is greater than I,” in Joh. XIII. 25, Lomm. II., p. 45 sq. and other passages. Here Origen shows that he considers the homoousia of the Son and the Father just as relative as the unchangeability of the Son. 357As soon therefore as the category of causality is applied — which moreover dominates the system — and the particular contemplation of the Son in relation to the Father gives way to the general contemplation of his task and destination, the Son is not only called κτίσμα and δημιούργημα, but all the utterances about the quality of his essence receive a limitation. We nowhere find the express assertion that this quality is inferior or of a different kind when compared with that of God; but these utterances lose their force when it is asserted that complete similarity between Father and Son only exists in relation to the world. We have to acknowledge the divine being that appeared in Christ to be the manifestation of the Deity; but, from God’s standpoint, the Son is the hypostasis appointed by and subordinated to him.748748Περὶ ἀρχῶν II. 2. 6 has been corrupted by Rufinus; see Jerome ep. ad Avitum. The Son stands between the uncreated One and the created Many; in so far as unchangeableness is an attribute of self-existence he does not possess it.749749See περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 13 (see above, p. 354, note 3). It is evident why Origen was obliged to conceive the Logos exactly as he did; it was only in this form that the idea answered the purpose for which it was intended. In the description of the essence of the Logos much more heed continues to be given to his creative than to his redeeming significance. Since it was only a teacher that Origen ultimately required for the purpose of redemption, he could unfold the nature and task of the Logos without thinking of Christ, whose name indeed he frequently mentions in his disquisitions, but whose person is really not of the slightest importance there.750750Athanasius supplemented this by determining the essence of the Logos from the redeeming work of Christ.
In order to comply with the rule of faith, and for this reason alone, for his speculation did not require a Spirit in addition to the Logos, Origen also placed the Spirit alongside of Father and Son. All that is predicated about him by the Church is that he is equal to the other persons in honour and dignity, and it was he that inspired both Prophets and Apostles; but that it is still undecided 358whether he be created or uncreated, and whether he too is to be considered the Son of God or not.751751See περὶ ἀρχῶν præf. and in addition to this Hermas’ view of the Spirit. As the third hypostasis, Origen reckoned him part of the constant divine essence and so treated him after the analogy of the Son, without producing an impressive proof of the necessity of this hypostasis. He, however, became the Holy Spirit through the Son, and is related to the latter’s the latter is related to the Father; in other words he is subordinate to the Son; he is the first creation of the Father through the Son.752752Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 3. The Holy Spirit is eternal, is ever being breathed out, but is to be termed a creature. See also in Joh. II. 6, Lomm. I., p. 109 sq.: τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα διὰ τοῦ λόγου ἐγένετο, πρεσβυτέρου (logically) παρ᾽ αὐτὸ τοῦ λόγου τυγχάνοντος. Yet Origen is not so confident here as in his Logos doctrine. Here Origen was following an old tradition. Considered quantitively therefore, and this according to Origen is the most important consideration, the Spirit’s sphere of action is the smallest. All being has its principle in the Father, the Son has his sphere in the rational, the Holy Spirit in the sanctified, that is in the Church; this he has to rule over and perfect Father, Son, and Spirit form a τρίας (“triad”)753753See περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 3, 5-8. Hence Origen says the heathen had known the Father and Son, but not the Holy Spirit (de princip. I. 3: II. 7). to which nothing may be compared; they are equal indignity and honour, and the substance they possess is one. If the following is not one of Rufinus’ corrections, Origen said754754L.c. § 7.: Nihil in trinitate maius minusve dicendum est cum unius divinitatis fons verbo ac ratione sua teneat universa”755755See Hom. in Num. XII. 1, Lomm. X, p. 127: “Est hæc trium distinctio personarum in patre et filio et spiritu sancto, quæ ad pluralem puteorum numerum revocatur. Sed horum puteorum unum est fous. Una enim substantia est et natura trinitatis.” (“nothing in the Trinity is to be called greater or less, since the fountain of one divinity holds all his parts by word and reason”). But, as in Origen’s sense the union of these only exists because the Father alone is the “source of deity” (πηγὴ τῆς θεότητος) and principle of the other two hypostases, the Trinity is in truth no homogeneous one, but one which, in accordance with a “subtle emanation idea”, has degrees within it. This Trinity, which in the strict sense remains a 359Trinity of revelation, except that revelation belongs to the essence of God, is with Origen the real secret of the faith, the mystery beyond all mysteries. To deny it shows a Jewish, carnal feeling or at least the greatest narrowness of conception.
The idea of createdness was already more closely associated with the Holy Ghost than with the Logos. He is in a still clearer fashion than the Son himself the transition to the series of ideas and spirits that having been created by the Son, are in truth the unfolding of his fulness. They form the next stage after the Holy Spirit. In assuming the existence of such beings as were required by his philosophical system, Origen appealed to the Biblical doctrine of angels, which he says is expressly acknowledged in the Church.756756Περὶ ἀρχῶν præf. With Clement even the association of the Son and Holy Ghost with the great angelic spirits is as yet not altogether avoided, at least in his expressions.757757From Hermas, Justin, and Athenagoras we learn how, in the 2nd century, both in the belief of uneducated lay-Christians and of the Apologists, Son, Spirit, Logos, and angels under certain circumstances shaded off into one another. To Clement, no doubt, Logos and Spirit are the only unchangeable beings besides God. But, inasmuch as there is a series which descends from God to men living in the flesh, there cannot fail to be elements of affinity between Logos and Spirit on the one hand and the highest angels on the other, all of whom indeed have the capacity and need of development. Hence they have certain names and predicates in common, and it frequently remains uncertain, especially as regards the theophanies in the Old Testament, whether it was a high angel that spoke, or the Son through the angel. See the full discussion in Zahn, Forschungen, III., p. 98 f. Origen was more cautious in this respect.758758Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 5. The world of spirits appears to him as a series of well-arranged, graded energies, as the representative of created reason. Its characteristic is growth, that is, progress (προκοπή).759759 So also Clement, see Zahn, l.c. Growth is conditioned by freedom: “omnis creatura rationabilis laudis et culpæ capax: laudis, si secundum rationem, quam in se habet, ad meliora proficiat, culpæ, si rationem recti declinet”760760 Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 5. 2. (“every rational creature is capable of meriting praise or blame — praise, if it advance to better things according to the reason it possesses in itself, blame, if it avoid the right course”). As unchangeableness and permanence are 360characteristic of the Deity, so freedom is the mark of the created spirit.761761It was of course created before the world, as it determines the course of the world. See Comm. in Matth. XV, 27, Lomm. III., p. 384 sq. In this thesis Origen goes beyond the assumption of the heretical Gnostics just as much as he does in his other proposition that the creaturely spirit is in no sense a portion of the divine (because it is changeable762762See Comm. in Joh. XIII. 25, Lomm. II., p. 45: we must not look on the human spirit as ὁμοούσιος with the divine one. The same had already been expressly taught by Clement. See Strom., II. 16. 74: ὁ Θεὸς οὐδεμίαν ἔχει πρὸς ἡμᾶς συσικὴν σχέσιν ὡς οἱ τῶν αἱρέσεων κτίσται θέλουσιν. Adumbr., p. 91 (ed. Zahn). This does not exclude God and souls having quodammodo one substance. ); but in reality freedom, as he understands it, is only the capacity of created spirits to determine their own destiny for a time. In the end, however, they must turn to that which is good, because everything spiritual is indestructible. Sub specie æternitatis, then, the mere communication of the divine element to the created spirit763763Such is the teaching of Clement and Origen. They repudiated the possession of any natural, essential goodness in the case of created spirits. If such lay in their essence, these spirits would be unchangeable. is not a mere communication, and freedom is no freedom; but the absolute necessity of the created spirit’s developing itself merely appears as freedom. Yet Origen himself did not draw this conclusion, but rather based everything on his conception that the freedom of naturæ rationabiles consisted in the possibilitas utriusque, and sought to understand the cosmos, as it is, from this freedom. To the naturæ rationabiles, which have different species and ordines, human souls also belong. The whole of them were created from all eternity; for God would not be almighty unless he had always produced everything764764Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 2. 10: “Quemadmodum pater non potest esse quis, si filius non sit, neque dominus quis esse potest sine possessione, sine servo, ita ne omnipotens quidem deus dici potest, si non sint, in quos exerceat potentatum, et deo ut omnipotens ostendatur deus, omnia subsistere necesse est.” (So the Hermogenes against whom Tertullian wrote had already argued). “Nam si quis est, qui velit vel sæcula aliqua vel spatia transisse, vel quodcunque aliud nominare vult, cum nondum facta essent, quæ facta sunt, sine dubio hoc ostendet, quod in illis sæculis vel spatiis omnipotens non erat deus et postmodum omnipotens factus est.” God would therefore, it is said in what follows, be subjected to a προκοπή, and thus be proved to be a finite being. III. 5. 3.; in virtue of their origin they are equal, for their original community with 361the Logos permits of no diversity765765Περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 8.; but, on the other hand, they have received different tasks and their development is consequently different. In so far as they are spirits subject to change, they are burdened with a kind of bodily nature,766766Here, however, Origen is already thinking of the temporary wrong development, that is of growth. See περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 7. Created spirits are also of themselves immaterial, though indeed not in the sense that this can be said of God who can never attach anything material to himself. for it is only the Deity that is without a body. The element of materiality is a necessary result of their finite nature, that is, of their being created; and this applies both to angels and human souls.767767Angels, ideas (see Phot. Biblioth. 109), and human souls are most closely connected together, both according to the theory of Clement and Origen and also to that of Pantænus before them (see Clem. eclog. 56, 57); and so it was taught that men become angels (Clem. Strom. VI. 13. 107). But the stars also, which are treated in great detail in περὶ ἀρχῶν I. 7, belong to the number of the angels. This is a genuinely Greek idea. The doctrine of the preëxistence of human souls was probably set forth by Clement in the Hypotyposes. The theory of the transmigration of souls was probably found there also (Phot. Biblioth. 109). In the Adumbrat., which has been preserved to us, the former doctrine is, however, contested and is not found in the Stromateis VI. 16. 1. sq. Now Origen did not speculate at all as to how the spirit world might have developed in ideal fashion, a fact which it is exceedingly important to recognise; he knows nothing at all about an ideal development for all, and does not even view it as a possibility. The truth rather is that as soon as he mentions the naturæ rationabiles, he immediately proceeds to speak of their fall, their growth, and their diversities. He merely contemplates them in the given circumstances in which they are placed (see the exposition in περὶ ἀρχῶν II. 9. 2).
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