ORIGEN of Alexandria (200-253), Theology of

ORIGEN of Alexandria (200-253), Theology of

Origen's Theological view: Semi-Arian

STEVEN RITCHIE

It is no secret that Origen loved to read the Greek Philosophers and required his students in

his schools at Alexandria, and later at Caesaria, to regularly read the Greek Philosophers. It is

therefore no surprise that some of the students of Origen’s school in Caesaria were later called

the Cappadocian fathers who were influential in developing the Trinitarian idea of a coequal

and timeless coeternal Son.

In the introduction to Origen of Alexandria, Looklex Encyclopedia informs us that Origen

was influenced by Platonic philosophy and Gnosticism.

"As one of the earliest theologians, his non-Christian tools are most transparent in his work;

both Platonic philosophy and Gnostic concepts came to play a central role in his understanding

of Christian texts."

Under Theology, Looklex Encyclopedia states:

“Origen is considered the founder of the allegorical method of scriptural interpretation.

He aimed at reconciling Greek philosophy with Christianity, himself mainly of the Platonist

school.”

Under Criticism And Influence, Looklex says:

“He had a background with Platonic philosophy with the belief in an eternal soul in contrast

to the temporary, imperfect material world. Other controversial ideas were the preexistence

of the soul, a universal salvation and a trinity as a hierarchy where Jesus inferior to God

(corresponding with Arianism), defining the resurrection of the body as mainly spiritual

and having removed the original concept of hell.”

Origen’s wrote in his Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 1, Chapter 23,

“... I WONDER AT THE STUPIDITY OF THE GENERAL RUN OF CHRISTIANS

(the Christian majority) IN THIS MATTER. I do not mince matters; it is nothing but stupidity

... THEY PROCEED DIFFERENTLY AND ASK, WHAT IS THE SON OF GOD WHEN

CALLED THE WORD? THE PASSAGE THEY EMPLOY IS THAT IN THE PSALMS,

‘MY HEART HAS PRODUCED A GOOD WORD;’ AND THEY IMAGINE THE SON TO

BE THE UTTERANCE OF THE FATHER DEPOSITED, AS IT WERE ,IN SYLLABLES.....

DO NOT ALLOW HIM ... ANY INDEPENDENT HYPOSTASIS (substance of Being), nor

are they clear about His ESSENCE. I do not mean that they confuse its qualities, but the fact

of His having an ESSENCE (homousious) OF HIS OWN (Origen’s view). For NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND (among “the general run of Christians”) HOW THAT WHICH IS SAID TO BE THE WORD CAN BE A SON. AND SUCH AN ANIMATED WORD, NOT BEING A SEPARATE ENTITY FROM THE FATHER (Origen’s view) ... God the Word IS A SEPARATE BEING AND HAS AN ESSENCE (homoisious) OF HIS OWN.”

Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book 1, Chapter 23 Origen was denying the Nicene Creed before it was written by saying that Jesus “has an essence of his own” rather than being the same essence “homousias” as the Father. Thus Origen who described his Christian opponents as “the general run of Christians” believed that the Word (Logos) is “... the utterance of the Father deposited” who is the same “substance” as the Father. Hence, Origen’s Modalist opponents were saying that the Word that was made flesh is the Father’s word (logos) rather than a distinct God the Word Person. Also notice that Origen contrasts his teaching from the Modalists by saying, “and that the word” (logos) is “a separate entity from the Father” and “is a separate Being and has an ESSENCE OF HIS OWN.”

About one hundred years later, the Nicene Creed stated that the Son is the same essence

(homousious) as the Father. Therefore the Modalists were the early Christians that were

believing in and