Why should you care about Origen? He’s part church father, part heretic. But the dude was authentically seeking the Truth behind the words 1800 years ago. And he’s one of the reasons your exegetical podcasts sound like they do today.
Origen was from Alexandria, Egypt–that hub of early Christian thought. He lived from the late-2nd century into the mid-3rd century CE (AD for our Christian-centric friends). He was a prolific writer and gave early Christianity some lenses through which to wrestle with scripture. He also still stirs up controversy for suggesting that Jesus Christ is subordinate, and not co-equal, to God the Father and that even the devil can be reconciled to God.
If you want to get looking for the meaning behind some holy words, Origen will give you some good grist to chew on…
- As the eye naturally seeks the light and vision, and our body naturally desires food and drink, so our mind is possessed with a becoming and natural desire to become acquainted with the truth of God and the causes of things. [On Principles]
- As for the apostolic epistles, what person who is skilled in literary interpretation would think them to be plain and easily understood, when even in them there are thousands of passages that provide, as it through a window, a narrow opening leading to multitudes of the deepest thoughts? [“How divine scripture should be interpreted”]
- Stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word, and the healing power that dwells in Him, and this healing He applies, according to the will of God, to everyman. [De Principiis]
- For whatever be the knowledge which we are able to obtain of God, either by perception or reflection, we must of necessity believe that He is by many degrees far better than what we perceive Him to be.
- We who by our prayers destroy all demons which stir up wars, violate oaths, and disturb the peace are of more help to the emperors than those who seem to be doing the fighting.
- It is in our power to stretch out our arms and, by doing good in our actions, to seize life and set it in our soul.
- Free will is the power of choosing good and evil.
- Conscience is the chamber of justice.
- What each one honors before all else, what before all things he admires and loves, this for him is God.
- When Jesus then is with the multitudes, He is not in His house, for the multitudes are outside of the house, and it is an act which springs from His love of men to leave the house and to go away to those who are not able to come to Him.
- Then, in the next place, we must know that every being which is endowed with reason, and transgresses its statutes and limitations, is undoubtedly involved in sin by swerving from rectitude and justice.
- We are obliged, therefore, to say that whoever speaks that which is foreign to religion is using many words, while he who speaks the words of truth, even should he go over the whole field and omit nothing, is always speaking the one word.