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 inventive, advanced, and debatable therapy of the matter of evil. It argues that his layered cosmology services as a theodicy that deciphers deeper that means underneath cosmic disparity. Origen asks: why does God create an international the place a few endure greater than others? at the floor, the unfair association of the area defies theological coherence. for you to guard divine justice opposed to the cost of cosmic mismanagement, Origen develops a theological cosmology that explains the ontological prestige and beginning 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, slow purification, and eventual divinization. the realm, for Origen, features as a faculty and clinic 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, medical professional, and father who employs anguish for our amelioration.

Journey again to God frames the systematic examine of Origen's theodicy inside of a broader idea of theodicy as navigation, which indicates the dynamic approach wherein we impute intending to affliction. It unites the logical and non secular points of his theodicy, and situates it in its third-century ancient, 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. ultimately, it assesses the cogency and modern relevance of Origen's theodicy, highlighting the issues and clients of his daring, confident, and positive vision.

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Extra resources for Journey Back to God: Origen on the Problem of Evil

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First, I will introduce the main themes of his etiology of evil as he outlines them in his apologetic work Contra Celsum. Second, I will clarify his theory of pre-existence by dispelling two common misinterpretations and by advancing a Christological interpretation that highlights his theological reasons for positing the theory. Third, I will explicate his account of the fall of the rational minds in the precosmic realm, which he conceives of Christologically. Fourth, I will analyze his theory of pre-existence and his twofold account of the origin of evil and ask whether they provide a cogent explanation of the origin of evil or merely defer the problem.

17 So what or who is responsible for evil? Not matter, fate, or external evil forces, in his view. No, for Origen the causes of evil are within us, not outside us: “Each person's mind (ἡγεμονικὸν) is responsible for the evil which exists in him, and this is what evil is. Evils are the actions which result from it. ”18 Here we have an early version of the classic free will defense, later famously enunciated by Augustine. The polemic between Origen and his pagan interlocutor Celsus in Contra Celsum exposes the basic counters of his etiology of evil.

The rationality of a concept depends, in his view, on its coherence with the logic of Christianity. Since Christian truth and sound human reason never disagree, he posits the perfect alignment or harmonization between theology and philosophy. In other words, he filters philosophy through theology, not reason alone. With respect to Christianity, Origen was too intellectually venturesome for the comfort of many church leaders. His immersion in Greek philosophy and creative redeployment of philosophy for theological ends alarmed some of his Christian contemporaries.

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