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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Origen, On First Principles, 1.4-1.6

nanTo exhibit the nature of defection or falling away, on the part of those who conduct themselves carelessly, it will not appear out of place to employ a similitude by way of illustration. Suppose, then, the case of one who had become gradually acquainted with the art or science, say of geometry or medicine, until he had reached perfection, having trained himself for a lengthened time in its principles and practice, so as to attain a complete mastery over the art: to such an one it could never happen, that, when he lay down to sleep in the possession of his skill, he should awake in a state of ignorance. It is not our purpose to adduce or to notice here those accidents which are occasioned by any injury or weakness, for they do not apply to our present illustration. According to our point of view, then, so long as that geometer or physician continues to exercise himself in the study of his art and in the practice of its principles, the knowledge of his profession abides with him; but if he withdraw from its practice, and lay aside his habits of industry, then, by his neglect, at first a few things will gradually escape him, then by and by more and more, until in course of time everything will be forgotten, and be completely effaced from the memory. It is possible, indeed, that when he has first begun to fall away, and to yield to the corrupting influence of a negligence which is small as yet, he may, if he be aroused and return speedily to his senses, repair those losses which up to that time are only recent, and recover that knowledge which hitherto had been only slightly obliterated from his mind. Let us apply this now to the case of those who have devoted themselves to the knowledge and wisdom of God, whose learning and diligence incomparably surpass all other training; and let us contemplate, according to the form of the similitude employed, what is the acquisition of knowledge, or what is its disappearance, especially when we hear from the apostle what is said of those who are perfect, that they shall behold face to face the glory of the Lord in the revelation of His mysteries.,But in our desire to show the divine benefits bestowed upon us by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which Trinity is the fountain of all holiness, we have fallen, in what we have said, into a digression, having considered that the subject of the soul, which accidentally came before us, should be touched on, although cursorily, seeing we were discussing a cognate topic relating to our rational nature. We shall, however, with the permission of God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, more conveniently consider in the proper place the subject of all rational beings, which are distinguished into three genera and species.

nanAfter the dissertation, which we have briefly conducted to the best of our ability, regarding the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it follows that we offer a few remarks upon the subject of rational natures, and on their species and orders, or on the offices as well of holy as of malignant powers, and also on those which occupy an intermediate position between these good and evil powers, and as yet are placed in a state of struggle and trial. For we find in holy Scripture numerous names of certain orders and offices, not only of holy beings, but also of those of an opposite description, which we shall bring before us, in the first place; and the meaning of which we shall endeavour, in the second place, to the best of our ability, to ascertain. There are certain holy angels of God whom Paul terms ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. In the writings also of St. Paul himself we find him designating them, from some unknown source, as thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers; and after this enumeration, as if knowing that there were still other rational offices and orders besides those which he had named, he says of the Saviour: Who is above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. From which he shows that there were certain beings besides those which he had mentioned, which may be named indeed in this world, but were not now enumerated by him, and perhaps were not known by any other individual; and that there were others which may not be named in this world, but will be named in the world to come.,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. Every rational creature, therefore, is capable of earning praise and censure: of praise, if, in conformity to that reason which he possesses, he advance to better things; of censure, if he fall away from the plan and course of rectitude, for which reason he is justly liable to pains and penalties. And this also is to be held as applying to the devil himself, and those who are with him, and are called his angels. Now the titles of these beings have to be explained, that we may know what they are of whom we have to speak. The name, then, of Devil, and Satan, and Wicked One, who is also described as Enemy of God, is mentioned in many passages of Scripture. Moreover, certain angels of the devil are mentioned, and also a prince of this world, who, whether the devil himself or some one else, is not yet clearly manifest. There are also certain princes of this world spoken of as possessing a kind of wisdom which will come to nought; but whether these are those princes who are also the principalities with whom we have to wrestle, or other beings, seems to me a point on which it is not easy for any one to pronounce. After the principalities, certain powers also are named with whom we have to wrestle, and carry on a struggle even against the princes of this world and the rulers of this darkness. Certain spiritual powers of wickedness also, in heavenly places, are spoken of by Paul himself. What, moreover, are we to say of those wicked and unclean spirits mentioned in the Gospel? Then we have certain heavenly beings called by a similar name, but which are said to bend the knee, or to be about to bend the knee, at the name of Jesus; nay, even things on earth and things under the earth, which Paul enumerates in order. And certainly, in a place where we have been discussing the subject of rational natures, it is not proper to be silent regarding ourselves, who are human beings, and are called rational animals; nay, even this point is not to be idly passed over, that even of us human beings certain different orders are mentioned in the words, The portion of the Lord is His people Jacob; Israel is the cord of His inheritance. Other nations, moreover, are called a part of the angels; since when the Most High divided the nations, and dispersed the sons of Adam, He fixed the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. And therefore, with other rational natures, we must also thoroughly examine the reason of the human soul.,After the enumeration, then, of so many and so important names of orders and offices, underlying which it is certain that there are personal existences, let us inquire whether God, the creator and founder of all things, created certain of them holy and happy, so that they could admit no element at all of an opposite kind, and certain others so that they were made capable both of virtue and vice; or whether we are to suppose that He created some so as to be altogether incapable of virtue, and others again altogether incapable of wickedness, but with the power of abiding only in a state of happiness, and others again such as to be capable of either condition. In order, now, that our first inquiry may begin with the names themselves, let us consider whether the holy angels, from the period of their first existence, have always been holy, and are holy still, and will be holy, and have never either admitted or had the power to admit any occasion of sin. Then in the next place, let us consider whether those who are called holy principalities began from the moment of their creation by God to exercise power over some who were made subject to them, and whether these latter were created of such a nature, and formed for the very purpose of being subject and subordinate. In like manner, also, whether those which are called powers were created of such a nature and for the express purpose of exercising power, or whether their arriving at that power and dignity is a reward and desert of their virtue. Moreover, also, whether those which are called thrones or seats gained that stability of happiness at the same time with their coming forth into being, so as to have that possession from the will of the Creator alone; or whether those which are called dominions had their dominion conferred on them, not as a reward for their proficiency, but as the peculiar privilege of their creation, so that it is something which is in a certain degree inseparable from them, and natural. Now, if we adopt the view that the holy angels, and the holy powers, and the blessed seats, and the glorious virtues, and the magnificent dominions, are to be regarded as possessing those powers and dignities and glories in virtue of their nature, it will doubtless appear to follow that those beings which have been mentioned as holding offices of an opposite kind must be regarded in the same manner; so that those principalities with whom we have to struggle are to be viewed, not as having received that spirit of opposition and resistance to all good at a later period, or as falling away from good through the freedom of the will, but as having had it in themselves as the essence of their being from the beginning of their existence. In like manner also will it be the case with the powers and virtues, in none of which was wickedness subsequent or posterior to their first existence. Those also whom the apostle termed rulers and princes of the darkness of this world, are said, with respect to their rule and occupation of darkness, to fall not from perversity of intention, but from the necessity of their creation. Logical reasoning will compel us to take the same view with regard to wicked and malignant spirits and unclean demons. But if to entertain this view regarding malignant and opposing powers seem to be absurd, as it is certainly absurd that the cause of their wickedness should be removed from the purpose of their own will, and ascribed of necessity to their Creator, why should we not also be obliged to make a similar confession regarding the good and holy powers, that, viz., the good which is in them is not theirs by essential being, which we have manifestly shown to be the case with Christ and the Holy Spirit alone, as undoubtedly with the Father also? For it was proved that there was nothing compound in the nature of the Trinity, so that these qualities might seem to belong to it as accidental consequences. From which it follows, that in the case of every creature it is a result of his own works and movements, that those powers which appear either to hold sway over others or to exercise power or dominion, have been preferred to and placed over those whom they are said to govern or exercise power over, and not in consequence of a peculiar privilege inherent in their constitutions, but on account of merit.,But that we may not appear to build our assertions on subjects of such importance and difficulty on the ground of inference alone, or to require the assent of our hearers to what is only conjectural, let us see whether we can obtain any declarations from holy Scripture, by the authority of which these positions may be more credibly maintained. And, firstly, we shall adduce what holy Scripture contains regarding wicked powers; we shall next continue our investigation with regard to the others, as the Lord shall be pleased to enlighten us, that in matters of such difficulty we may ascertain what is nearest to the truth, or what ought to be our opinions agreeably to the standard of religion. Now we find in the prophet Ezekiel two prophecies written to the prince of Tyre, the former of which might appear to any one, before he heard the second also, to be spoken of some man who was prince of the Tyrians. In the meantime, therefore, we shall take nothing from that first prophecy; but as the second is manifestly of such a kind as cannot be at all understood of a man, but of some superior power which had fallen away from a higher position, and had been reduced to a lower and worse condition, we shall from it take an illustration, by which it may be demonstrated with the utmost clearness, that those opposing and malignant powers were not formed or created so by nature, but fell from a better to a worse position, and were converted into wicked beings; that those blessed powers also were not of such a nature as to be unable to admit what was opposed to them if they were so inclined and became negligent, and did not guard most carefully the blessedness of their condition. For if it is related that he who is called the prince of Tyre was among the saints, and was without stain, and was placed in the paradise of God, and adorned also with a crown of comeliness and beauty, is it to be supposed that such an one could be in any degree inferior to any of the saints? For he is described as having been adorned with a crown of comeliness and beauty, and as having walked stainless in the paradise of God: and how can any one suppose that such a being was not one of those holy and blessed powers which, as being placed in a state of happiness, we must believe to be endowed with no other honour than this? But let us see what we are taught by the words of the prophecy themselves. The word of the Lord, says the prophet, came to me, saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation over the prince of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God, You have been the seal of a similitude, and a crown of comeliness among the delights of paradise; you were adorned with every good stone or gem, and were clothed with sardonyx, and topaz, and emerald, and carbuncle, and sapphire, and jasper, set in gold and silver, and with agate, amethyst, and chrysolite, and beryl, and onyx: with gold also did you fill your treasures, and your storehouses within you. From the day when you were created along with the cherubim, I placed you in the holy mount of God. You were in the midst of the fiery stones: you were stainless in your days, from the day when you were created, until iniquities were found in you: from the greatness of your trade, you filled your storehouses with iniquity, and sinned, and were wounded from the mount of God. And a cherub drove you forth from the midst of the burning stones; and your heart was elated because of your comeliness, your discipline was corrupted along with your beauty: on account of the multitude of your sins, I cast you forth to the earth before kings; I gave you for a show and a mockery on account of the multitude of your sins, and of your iniquities: because of your trade you have polluted your holy places. And I shall bring forth fire from the midst of you, and it shall devour you, and I shall give you for ashes and cinders on the earth in the sight of all who see you: and all who know you among the nations shall mourn over you. You have been made destruction, and you shall exist no longer forever. Seeing, then, that such are the words of the prophet, who is there that on hearing, You were a seal of a similitude, and a crown of comeliness among the delights of paradise, or that From the day when you were created with the cherubim, I placed you in the holy mount of God, can so enfeeble the meaning as to suppose that this language is used of some man or saint, not to say the prince of Tyre? Or what fiery stones can he imagine in the midst of which any man could live? Or who could be supposed to be stainless from the very day of his creation, and wickedness being afterwards discovered in him, it be said of him then that he was cast forth upon the earth? For the meaning of this is, that He who was not yet on the earth is said to be cast forth upon it: whose holy places also are said to be polluted. We have shown, then, that what we have quoted regarding the prince of Tyre from the prophet Ezekiel refers to an adverse power, and by it it is most clearly proved that that power was formerly holy and happy; from which state of happiness it fell from the time that iniquity was found in it, and was hurled to the earth, and was not such by nature and creation. We are of opinion, therefore, that these words are spoken of a certain angel who had received the office of governing the nation of the Tyrians, and to whom also their souls had been entrusted to be taken care of. But what Tyre, or what souls of Tyrians, we ought to understand, whether that Tyre which is situated within the boundaries of the province of Phœnicia, or some other of which, this one which we know on earth is the model; and the souls of the Tyrians, whether they are those of the former or those which belong to that Tyre which is spiritually understood, does not seem to be a matter requiting examination in this place; lest perhaps we should appear to investigate subjects of so much mystery and importance in a cursory manner, whereas they demand a labour and work of their own.,Again, we are taught as follows by the prophet Isaiah regarding another opposing power. The prophet says, How is Lucifer, who used to arise in the morning, fallen from heaven! He who assailed all nations is broken and beaten to the ground. You indeed said in your heart, I shall ascend into heaven; above the stars of heaven shall I place my throne; I shall sit upon a lofty mountain, above the lofty mountains which are towards the north; I shall ascend above the clouds; I shall be like the Most High. Now shall you be brought down to the lower world, and to the foundations of the earth. They who see you shall be amazed at you, and shall say, This is the man who harassed the whole earth, who moved kings, who made the whole world a desert, who destroyed cities, and did not unloose those who were in chains. All the kings of the nations have slept in honour, every one in his own house; but you shall be cast forth on the mountains, accursed with the many dead who have been pierced through with swords, and have descended to the lower world. As a garment cloned with blood, and stained, will not be clean; neither shall you be clean, because you have destroyed my land and slain my people: you shall not remain for ever, most wicked seed. Prepare your sons for death on account of the sins of your father, lest they rise again and inherit the earth, and fill the earth with wars. And I shall rise against them, says the Lord of hosts, and I shall cause their name to perish, and their remains, and their seed. Most evidently by these words is he shown to have fallen from heaven, who formerly was Lucifer, and who used to arise in the morning. For if, as some think, he was a nature of darkness, how is Lucifer said to have existed before? Or how could he arise in the morning, who had in himself nothing of the light? Nay, even the Saviour Himself teaches us, saying of the devil, Behold, I see Satan fallen from heaven like lightning. For at one time he was light. Moreover our Lord, who is the truth, compared the power of His own glorious advent to lightning, in the words, For as the lightning shines from the height of heaven even to its height again, so will the coming of the Son of man be. And notwithstanding He compares him to lightning, and says that he fell from heaven, that He might show by this that he had been at one time in heaven, and had had a place among the saints, and had enjoyed a share in that light in which all the saints participate, by which they are made angels of light, and by which the apostles are termed by the Lord the light of the world. In this manner, then, did that being once exist as light before he went astray, and fell to this place, and had his glory turned into dust, which is peculiarly the mark of the wicked, as the prophet also says; whence, too, he was called the prince of this world, i.e., of an earthly habitation: for he exercised power over those who were obedient to his wickedness, since the whole of this world — for I term this place of earth, world — lies in the wicked one, and in this apostate. That he is an apostate, i.e., a fugitive, even the Lord in the book of Job says, You will take with a hook the apostate dragon, i.e., a fugitive. Now it is certain that by the dragon is understood the devil himself. If then they are called opposing powers, and are said to have been once without stain, while spotless purity exists in the essential being of none save the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but is an accidental quality in every created thing; and since that which is accidental may also fall away, and since those opposite powers once were spotless, and were once among those which still remain unstained, it is evident from all this that no one is pure either by essence or nature, and that no one was by nature polluted. And the consequence of this is, that it lies within ourselves and in our own actions to possess either happiness or holiness; or by sloth and negligence to fall from happiness into wickedness and ruin, to such a degree that, through too great proficiency, so to speak, in wickedness (if a man be guilty of so great neglect), he may descend even to that state in which he will be changed into what is called an opposing power.

nanAn end or consummation would seem to be an indication of the perfection and completion of things. And this reminds us here, that if there be any one imbued with a desire of reading and understanding subjects of such difficulty and importance, he ought to bring to the effort a perfect and instructed understanding, lest perhaps, if he has had no experience in questions of this kind, they may appear to him as vain and superfluous; or if his mind be full of preconceptions and prejudices on other points, he may judge these to be heretical and opposed to the faith of the Church, yielding in so doing not so much to the convictions of reason as to the dogmatism of prejudice. These subjects, indeed, are treated by us with great solicitude and caution, in the manner rather of an investigation and discussion, than in that of fixed and certain decision. For we have pointed out in the preceding pages those questions which must be set forth in clear dogmatic propositions, as I think has been done to the best of my ability when speaking of the Trinity. But on the present occasion our exercise is to be conducted, as we best may, in the style of a disputation rather than of strict definition.,Seeing, then, that such is the end, when all enemies will be subdued to Christ, when death — the last enemy — shall be destroyed, and when the kingdom shall be delivered up by Christ (to whom all things are subject) to God the Father; let us, I say, from such an end as this, contemplate the beginnings of things. For the end is always like the beginning: and, therefore, as there is one end to all things, so ought we to understand that there was one beginning; and as there is one end to many things, so there spring from one beginning many differences and varieties, which again, through the goodness of God, and by subjection to Christ, and through the unity of the Holy Spirit, are recalled to one end, which is like the beginning: all those, viz., who, bending the knee at the name of Jesus, make known by so doing their subjection to Him: and these are they who are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: by which three classes the whole universe of things is pointed out, those, viz., who from that one beginning were arranged, each according to the diversity of his conduct, among the different orders, in accordance with their desert; for there was no goodness in them by essential being, as in God and His Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. For in the Trinity alone, which is the author of all things, does goodness exist in virtue of essential being; while others possess it as an accidental and perishable quality, and only then enjoy blessedness, when they participate in holiness and wisdom, and in divinity itself. But if they neglect and despise such participation, then is each one, by fault of his own slothfulness, made, one more rapidly, another more slowly, one in a greater, another in a less degree, the cause of his own downfall. And since, as we have remarked, the lapse by which an individual falls away from his position is characterized by great diversity, according to the movements of the mind and will, one man falling with greater ease, another with more difficulty, into a lower condition; in this is to be seen the just judgment of the providence of God, that it should happen to every one according to the diversity of his conduct, in proportion to the desert of his declension and defection. Certain of those, indeed, who remained in that beginning which we have described as resembling the end which is to come, obtained, in the ordering and arrangement of the world, the rank of angels; others that of influences, others of principalities, others of powers, that they may exercise power over those who need to have power upon their head. Others, again, received the rank of thrones, having the office of judging or ruling those who require this; others dominion, doubtless, over slaves; all of which are conferred by Divine Providence in just and impartial judgment according to their merits, and to the progress which they had made in the participation and imitation of God. But those who have been removed from their primal state of blessedness have not been removed irrecoverably, but have been placed under the rule of those holy and blessed orders which we have described; and by availing themselves of the aid of these, and being remoulded by salutary principles and discipline, they may recover themselves, and be restored to their condition of happiness. From all which I am of opinion, so far as I can see, that this order of the human race has been appointed in order that in the future world, or in ages to come, when there shall be the new heavens and new earth, spoken of by Isaiah, it may be restored to that unity promised by the Lord Jesus in His prayer to God the Father on behalf of His disciples: I do not pray for these alone, but for all who shall believe in Me through their word: that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us; and again, when He says: That they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one. And this is further confirmed by the language of the Apostle Paul: Until we all come in the unity of the faith to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. And in keeping with this is the declaration of the same apostle, when he exhorts us, who even in the present life are placed in the Church, in which is the form of that kingdom which is to come, to this same similitude of unity: That you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.,It is to be borne in mind, however, that certain beings who fell away from that one beginning of which we have spoken, have sunk to such a depth of unworthiness and wickedness as to be deemed altogether undeserving of that training and instruction by which the human race, while in the flesh, are trained and instructed with the assistance of the heavenly powers; and continue, on the contrary, in a state of enmity and opposition to those who are receiving this instruction and teaching. And hence it is that the whole of this mortal life is full of struggles and trials, caused by the opposition and enmity of those who fell from a better condition without at all looking back, and who are called the devil and his angels, and the other orders of evil, which the apostle classed among the opposing powers. But whether any of these orders who act under the government of the devil, and obey his wicked commands, will in a future world be converted to righteousness because of their possessing the faculty of freedom of will, or whether persistent and inveterate wickedness may be changed by the power of habit into nature, is a result which you yourself, reader, may approve of, if neither in these present worlds which are seen and temporal, nor in those which are unseen and are eternal, that portion is to differ wholly from the final unity and fitness of things. But in the meantime, both in those temporal worlds which are seen, as well as in those eternal worlds which are invisible, all those beings are arranged, according to a regular plan, in the order and degree of their merits; so that some of them in the first, others in the second, some even in the last times, after having undergone heavier and severer punishments, endured for a lengthened period, and for many ages, so to speak, improved by this stern method of training, and restored at first by the instruction of the angels, and subsequently by the powers of a higher grade, and thus advancing through each stage to a better condition, reach even to that which is invisible and eternal, having travelled through, by a kind of training, every single office of the heavenly powers. From which, I think, this will appear to follow as an inference, that every rational nature may, in passing from one order to another, go through each to all, and advance from all to each, while made the subject of various degrees of proficiency and failure according to its own actions and endeavours, put forth in the enjoyment of its power of freedom of will.,But since Paul says that certain things are visible and temporal, and others besides these invisible and eternal, we proceed to inquire how those things which are seen are temporal — whether because there will be nothing at all after them in all those periods of the coming world, in which that dispersion and separation from the one beginning is undergoing a process of restoration to one and the same end and likeness; or because, while the form of those things which are seen passes away, their essential nature is subject to no corruption. And Paul seems to confirm the latter view, when he says, For the fashion of this world passes away. David also appears to assert the same in the words, The heavens shall perish, but You shall endure; and they all shall wax old as a garment, and You shall change them like a vesture, and like a vestment they shall be changed. For if the heavens are to be changed, assuredly that which is changed does not perish, and if the fashion of the world passes away, it is by no means an annihilation or destruction of their material substance that is shown to take place, but a kind of change of quality and transformation of appearance. Isaiah also, in declaring prophetically that there will be a new heaven and a new earth, undoubtedly suggests a similar view. For this renewal of heaven and earth, and this transmutation of the form of the present world, and this changing of the heavens will undoubtedly be prepared for those who are walking along that way which we have pointed out above, and are tending to that goal of happiness to which, it is said, even enemies themselves are to be subjected, and in which God is said to be all and in all. And if any one imagine that at the end material, i.e., bodily, nature will be entirely destroyed, he cannot in any respect meet my view, how beings so numerous and powerful are able to live and to exist without bodies, since it is an attribute of the divine nature alone — i.e., of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— to exist without any material substance, and without partaking in any degree of a bodily adjunct. Another, perhaps, may say that in the end every bodily substance will be so pure and refined as to be like the æther, and of a celestial purity and clearness. How things will be, however, is known with certainty to God alone, and to those who are His friends through Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

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1. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 2.7, 3.1 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2.7. וַיִּיצֶר יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן־הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה׃ 3.1. וַיֹּאמֶר אֶת־קֹלְךָ שָׁמַעְתִּי בַּגָּן וָאִירָא כִּי־עֵירֹם אָנֹכִי וָאֵחָבֵא׃ 3.1. וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה עָרוּם מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־הָאִשָּׁה אַף כִּי־אָמַר אֱלֹהִים לֹא תֹאכְלוּ מִכֹּל עֵץ הַגָּן׃ 2.7. Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." 3.1. Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman: ‘Yea, hath God said: Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?’"
2. Origen, Commentary On Matthew, 14.16, 17.33 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

14.16. After this it is written that there came unto Him the Pharisees tempting Him and saying, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Matthew 19:3 Mark, also, has written to the like effect. Mark 10:2 Accordingly, of those who came to Jesus and inquired of Him, there were some who put questions to tempt Him; and if our Saviour so transcendent was tempted, which of His disciples who is ordained to teach need be vexed, when he is tempted by some who inquire, not from the love of learning, but from the wish to tempt? And you might find many passages, if you brought them together, in which the Pharisees tempted our Jesus, and others, different from them, as a certain lawyer, Matthew 22:35 and perhaps also a scribe, Mark 12:28 that by bringing together what is said about those who tempted Him, you might find by investigation what is useful for this kind of inquiries. Only, the Saviour, in response to those who tempted Him, laid down dogmas; for they said, Is it lawful for a man to put away his own wife for every cause? and He answered and said, Have ye not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female? Matthew 19:4 etc. And I think that the Pharisees put forward this word for this reason, that they might attack Him whatever He might say; as, for example, if He had said, It is lawful, they would have accused Him of dissolving marriages for trifles; but, if He had said, It is not lawful, they would have accused Him of permitting a man to dwell with a woman, even with sins; so, likewise, in the case of the tribute-money, Matthew 22:17 if He had told them to give, they would have accused Him of making the people subject to the Romans, and not to the law of God, but if He had told them not to give, they would have accused Him of creating war and sedition, and of stirring up those who were not able to stand against so powerful an army. But they did not perceive in what way He answered blamelessly and wisely, in the first place, rejecting the opinion that a wife was to be put away for every cause, and, in the second place, giving answer to the question about the bill of divorcement; for He saw that not every cause is a reasonable ground for the dissolution of marriage, and that the husband must dwell with the wife as the weaker vessel, giving honour, 1 Peter 3:7 and bearing her burdens in sins; Galatians 6:2 and by what is written in Genesis, He puts to shame the Pharisees who boasted in the Scriptures of Moses, by saying, Have ye not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, etc., and, subjoining to these words, because of the saying, And the two shall become one flesh, teaching in harmony with one flesh, namely, So that they are no more two, but one flesh. Matthew 19:4-6 And, as tending to convince them that they should not put away their wife for every cause, is it said, What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Matthew 19:6 It is to be observed, however, in the exposition of the words quoted from Genesis in the Gospel, that they were not spoken consecutively as they are written in the Gospel; and I think that it is not even said about the same persons, namely, of those who were formed after the image of God, and of those who were formed from the dust of the ground and from one of the ribs of Adam. For where it is said, Male and female made He them, Genesis 1:27 the reference is to those formed after the image, but where He also said, For this cause shall a man leave his own father and mother, Genesis 2:24 etc., the reference is not to those formed after the image; for some time after the Lord God formed the man, taking dust from the ground, and from his side the helpmate. And mark, at the same time, that in the case of those who are formed after the image, the words were not husband and wife but male and female. But we have also observed this in the Hebrew, for man is indicated by the word is, but male by the word zachar, and again woman by the word essa, but female by the word agkeba. For at no time is it woman or man after the image, but the superior class, the male, and the second, the female. But also if a man leave his mother and his father, he cleaves not to the female, but to his own wife, and they become, since man and woman are one in flesh, one flesh. Then, describing what ought to be in the case of those who are joined together by God, so that they may be joined together in a manner worthy of God, the Saviour adds, So that they are no more two; Matthew 19:6 and, wherever there is indeed concord, and unison, and harmony, between husband and wife, when he is as ruler and she is obedient to the word, He shall rule over you, Genesis 3:16 then of such persons we may truly say, They are no more two. Then since it was necessary that for him who was joined to the Lord, it should be reserved that he should become one spirit with Him, 1 Corinthians 6:17 in the case of those who are joined together by God, after the words, So that they are no more two, it is said, but one flesh. And it is God who has joined together the two in one so that they are no more two, from the time that the woman is married to the man. And, since God has joined them together, on this account in the case of those who are joined together by God, there is a gift; and Paul knowing this, that marriage according to the Word of God was a gift, like as holy celibacy was a gift, says, But I would that all men were like myself; howbeit, each man has his own gift from God, one after this manner, and another after that. 1 Corinthians 7:7 And those who are joined together by God both mind and keep the precept, Husbands love your wives, as Christ also the church. Ephesians 5:25 The Saviour then commanded, What God has joined together, let not man put asunder, Matthew 19:6 but man wishes to put asunder what God has joined together, when, falling away from the sound faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron, forbidding, not only to commit fornication, but to marry, 1 Timothy 4:1-3 he dissolves even those who had been before joined together by the providence of God. Let these things then be said, keeping in view what is expressly said concerning the male and the female, and the man and the woman, as the Saviour taught in the answer to the Pharisees.
3. Origen, Against Celsus, 4.37 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

4.37. He charges us, moreover, with introducing a man formed by the hands of God, although the book of Genesis has made no mention of the hands of God, either when relating the creation or the fashioning of the man; while it is Job and David who have used the expression, Your hands have made me and fashioned me; with reference to which it would need a lengthened discourse to point out the sense in which these words were understood by those who used them, both as regards the difference between making and fashioning, and also the hands of God. For those who do not understand these and similar expressions in the sacred Scriptures, imagine that we attribute to the God who is over all things a form such as that of man; and according to their conceptions, it follows that we consider the body of God to be furnished with wings, since the Scriptures, literally understood, attribute such appendages to God. The subject before us, however, does not require us to interpret these expressions; for, in our explanatory remarks upon the book of Genesis, these matters have been made, to the best of our ability, a special subject of investigation. Observe next the malignity of Celsus in what follows. For the Scripture, speaking of the fashioning of the man, says, And breathed into his face the breath of life, and the man became a living soul. Whereon Celsus, wishing maliciously to ridicule the inbreathing into his face of the breath of life, and not understanding the sense in which the expression was employed, states that they composed a story that a man was fashioned by the hands of God, and was inflated by breath blown into him, in order that, taking the word inflated to be used in a similar way to the inflation of skins, he might ridicule the statement, He breathed into his face the breath of life,- terms which are used figuratively, and require to be explained in order to show that God communicated to man of His incorruptible Spirit; as it is said, For Your incorruptible Spirit is in all things. Wisdom 12:1
4. Origen, On First Principles, 1.5-1.6, 2.10.1, 3.6 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

2.10.1. But since the discourse has reminded us of the subjects of a future judgment and of retribution, and of the punishments of sinners, according to the threatenings of holy Scripture and the contents of the Church's teaching — viz., that when the time of judgment comes, everlasting fire, and outer darkness, and a prison, and a furnace, and other punishments of like nature, have been prepared for sinners — let us see what our opinions on these points ought to be. But that these subjects may be arrived at in proper order, it seems to me that we ought first to consider the nature of the resurrection, that we may know what that (body) is which shall come either to punishment, or to rest, or to happiness; which question in other treatises which we have composed regarding the resurrection we have discussed at greater length, and have shown what our opinions were regarding it. But now, also, for the sake of logical order in our treatise, there will be no absurdity in restating a few points from such works, especially since some take offense at the creed of the Church, as if our belief in the resurrection were foolish, and altogether devoid of sense; and these are principally heretics, who, I think, are to be answered in the following manner. If they also admit that there is a resurrection of the dead, let them answer us this, What is that which died? Was it not a body? It is of the body, then, that there will be a resurrection. Let them next tell us if they think that we are to make use of bodies or not. I think that when the Apostle Paul says, that it is sown a natural body, it will arise a spiritual body, they cannot deny that it is a body which arises, or that in the resurrection we are to make use of bodies. What then? If it is certain that we are to make use of bodies, and if the bodies which have fallen are declared to rise again (for only that which before has fallen can be properly said to rise again), it can be a matter of doubt to no one that they rise again, in order that we may be clothed with them a second time at the resurrection. The one thing is closely connected with the other. For if bodies rise again, they undoubtedly rise to be coverings for us; and if it is necessary for us to be invested with bodies, as it is certainly necessary, we ought to be invested with no other than our own. But if it is true that these rise again, and that they arise spiritual bodies, there can be no doubt that they are said to rise from the dead, after casting away corruption and laying aside mortality; otherwise it will appear vain and superfluous for any one to arise from the dead in order to die a second time. And this, finally, may be more distinctly comprehended thus, if one carefully consider what are the qualities of an animal body, which, when sown into the earth, recovers the qualities of a spiritual body. For it is out of the animal body that the very power and grace of the resurrection educe the spiritual body, when it transmutes it from a condition of indignity to one of glory.
5. Origen, Homiliae In Genesim (In Catenis), 1.13, 1.15, 2.2 (3rd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
adam Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
biblical interpretation, origen Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 1012
cosmogony Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
divine Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
epiphanius O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295; Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
eusebius, canons O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
eusebius O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
eve Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
god Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
jerome, translates and continues eusebius canons O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
jerome O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
josephus O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 294
marriage Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
origen, generally Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 1012
origen, scriptural hermeneutic Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 1012
origen, theology Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 1012
origen, writings Esler, The Early Christian World (2000) 1012
origen O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 294, 295; Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
paulinus of milan O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
philo of alexandria O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 294
rational Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
rufinus of aquileia' O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 295
rufinus of aquileia O'Daly, Augustine's City of God: A Reader's Guide (2nd edn) (2020) 294
sexuality Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
soul Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21
woman Xenophontos and Marmodoro, The Reception of Greek Ethics in Late Antiquity and Byzantium (2021) 21