By Mark S.M. Scott
Journey again to God explores Origen of Alexandria's inventive, complicated, and arguable therapy of the matter of evil. It argues that his layered cosmology services as a theodicy that deciphers deeper which means underneath cosmic disparity. Origen asks: why does God create an international the place a few undergo greater than others? at the floor, the unfair association of the area defies theological coherence. with the intention to shield divine justice opposed to the cost of cosmic mismanagement, Origen develops a theological cosmology that explains the ontological prestige and foundation 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 construction, fall and descent into materiality, slow purification, and eventual divinization. the realm, for Origen, features as a college and medical institution for the soul the place it undergoes the required schooling and purgation. Origen conscientiously calibrates his cosmology and theology. He portrays God as a compassionate and really appropriate instructor, health care professional, and father who employs pain 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 procedure wherein we impute desiring to anguish. It unites the logical and religious aspects of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century ancient, theological, and philosophical context, correcting the distortions that proceed to plague Origen scholarship. additionally, the learn clarifies his ambiguous place on universalism in the context of his eschatology. ultimately, it assesses the cogency and modern relevance of Origen's theodicy, highlighting the issues and clients of his daring, optimistic, and confident vision.
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Additional info for Journey Back to God: Origen on the Problem of Evil
At this stage in the discussion, Celsus forwards an explanation for evil that Origen categorically rejects. ”16Contrary to much of the assumed knowledge about Origen, he does not conceive of matter as intrinsically evil. In fact, as we will discuss in the next chapter, material creation breaks our metaphysical free fall, enabling our ascent to God. Matter, then, positively expresses God's providential care. ”17 So what or who is responsible for evil? Not matter, fate, or external evil forces, in his view.
Moreover, Origen does not equate the precosmic realm to the Platonic world of ideas, even though they share many of the same features. ”70 Contrary to the common scholarly assumption, he does not construe pre-existence Platonically. Instead, he transforms it to cohere with his Christian cosmology. 71 There has been a major reevaluation of Origen's doctrine of pre-existence in recent Origen scholarship. 73 According to this theory, Origen does not posit a precosmic, suprasensible realm wherein the pre-existent souls exist before they become embodied in the world after they fall.
93 But if the geometrician or doctor returns to his studies after only a brief period of negligence, he would recover his knowledge and thereby retain his expertise. This analogy conveys the plight of creation. Just as the skill of the doctor will “vanish into oblivion” (abeunt in obliuionem) through neglect, so the rational minds, after extensive neglect, were in danger of vanishing into oblivion. The illustration of the geometrician or doctor who loses his skill through neglect explains the gradual process of the soul's descent from heaven.