Who is Origenes?June 26, 2021
Raised in the Eastern part of the Greek world, Origenes attended Clemens’ school in Alexandria. He is a very important and characteristic thinker for the first period of Christianity.
The characteristic feature of Origenes, a student of Ammonios Sakkas, is that he oscillates between Christianity and Neoplatonism. As a matter of fact, this “indecision” brought him into conflict with the Church and eventually led to his expulsion from the Christian community.
One of the main differences between Neoplatonism and Christianity is the “understanding of God”. Christianity took the understanding of God from Judaism, that is, according to Christianity, God is a “Creator” who created the universe out of nothing. However, Neoplatonism considers the universe as an image of God. The universe is “an emanation of sacred meaning,” like light emanating from the sun. Origenes is closer to Neoplatonism in his understanding of God.
Christianity and Neoplatonism also think differently about the relationship between “God and man”. According to Christianity, man is a creature “created” by God, and therefore the relationship between God and man is the creator and the creature. Therefore, there is an “insurmountable chasm” between the two. However, for Neoplatonism, man is an aspect of God. In the state of ecstasy (cezbe), man has the opportunity to “unite” with God again, but this ecstasy (cezbe) must be in a sacred sense.
As a result, Christianity believes that the universe was created “in a certain time”, that is, at the beginning of time. Also, according to Christianity, God’s incorporation into human form happened “once” and this happened at a certain date, and it will not happen again.
Origenes, on the other hand, tends to understand the once event of Christianity as the event that is “above time” and also as the eternal event. This tendency has led him to understand the universe as “an iterative development”. According to Origenes, man, a creature created by God, sinned and separated from God simply because he was weak.
So, “sin” is not a result of rebellion against God, but only because of human weakness. However, Allah will help this lowly creature, intercede (forgive) and bring him out of the pit of sin he fell into. As a matter of fact, man was created with a body only as punishment, or rather, to be “purified” from sin.
Since punishment is a means of correction, all sinners have the opportunity to eventually be cleansed of their sins and return to God. As a matter of fact, all creatures (including the devil) will eventually be saved and reunited with Allah. However, since the creations will continue to be weak, they will be separated from Allah again, and this movement will continue in this way countless times.
Origen’s view that the universe is in a continuous cycle is not Christian at all, but rather Gnosis. This and similar anti-Christian ideas caused Origenes to fall out with the Church.