Journey Back to God: Origen on the Problem of Evil by Mark S.M. Scott

By Mark S.M. Scott

Journey again to God explores Origen of Alexandria's artistic, advanced, and debatable remedy of the matter of evil. It argues that his layered cosmology features as a theodicy that deciphers deeper that means underneath cosmic disparity. Origen asks: why does God create a global the place a few undergo greater than others? at the floor, the unfair association of the realm defies theological coherence. in an effort to protect divine justice opposed to the cost of cosmic mismanagement, Origen develops a theological cosmology that explains the ontological prestige and starting place of evil in addition to its cosmic implications. Origen's theodicy hinges at the trip of the soul again to God. Its topics correlate with the soul's production, fall and descent into materiality, sluggish purification, and eventual divinization. the realm, for Origen, features as a college and sanatorium for the soul the place it undergoes the required schooling and purgation. Origen rigorously calibrates his cosmology and theology. He portrays God as a compassionate and really apt instructor, health care professional, and father who employs anguish for our amelioration.

Journey again to God frames the systematic learn of Origen's theodicy inside of a broader conception of theodicy as navigation, which indicates the dynamic method wherein we impute desiring to soreness. It unites the logical and non secular aspects of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century old, theological, and philosophical context, correcting the distortions that proceed to plague Origen scholarship. moreover, the research clarifies his ambiguous place on universalism in the context of his eschatology. eventually, it assesses the cogency and modern relevance of Origen's theodicy, highlighting the issues and clients of his daring, positive, and confident vision.

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Origen utilizes his theory of pre-existence to explain the unjust suffering and disparity we encounter throughout the cosmos. 50) According to his hypothesis, our station in life has been determined by our free pre-existent choices. Few aspects of Origen's theology have been as controversial and as misunderstood as his notion of pre-existence. ”6 Here I will suggest that we interpret Origen's theory of pre-existence Christologically. My reinterpretation navigates between two common interpretations that are partly right and partly wrong.

These two explanations cannot be completely harmonized, as we will discuss later, but they are designed to work in concert to explain the cosmic and personal origin of evil and its relation to the fall. They function theologically to defend God against the charge of injustice for the present state of the world and as a map that will help the soul find its way back to God. Free Will Defense We have seen in the foregoing discussion that Origen locates the origin of evil in the misuse of freedom. Thus far we have focused on the agents responsible for the fall, namely, the Devil and the rational minds, and on thecauses of the fall: sloth, satiety, and negligence.

Origen begins to navigate the problem of evil by identifying the source of the theoretical storm, that is, by explaining how evil intrudes into God's good creation in the first place. Whence Evil? 65–67, Origen delineates his conception of the origin of evil in polemical dialogue with Celsus, a second-century pagan philosopher who composed On True Doctrine (Ἁληθὴς Λόγος). Origen begins with the question: who has access to knowledge about the origin of evil? 8 Reason alone, Origen suggests, takes us only partway into the mystery of the origin of evil: “to be able to know it absolutely” requires divine inspiration.

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