2011 - Vol. 55
Wonder of Christ
Origen (185-254 AD)
Of all the marvelous and splendid things about the Son of God there
is one that utterly transcends the limits of human wonder and is beyond
the capacity of our weak mortal intelligence to think of or understand,
namely, how this mighty power of the divine majesty, the very Word of the
Father, and the very Wisdom of God, in which were created
"all things visible and invisible," can be believed to have existed
within the compass of that man who appeared in Judaea; yes, and how the
wisdom of God can have entered into a woman's womb and been born as a child
and uttered noises like those of crying children; and further, how it was
that he was troubled, as we are told, in the hour of death, as he himself
confesses when he says, "My soul is sorrowful even unto death"; and how
at the last he was led to that death which is considered by men to be the
most shameful of all-even though on the third day he rose again.
When, therefore, we see in him some things so human that they appear
in no way to differ from the common frailty of mortals, and some things
so divine that they are appropriate to nothing else but the ...nature of
deity, the human understanding with its narrow limits is baffled, and struck
with amazement at so mighty a wonder knows not which way to turn, what
to hold to, or whither to betake itself. If it thinks of God, it sees a
man; if it thinks of a man, it beholds one returning from the dead with
spoils after vanquishing the kingdom of death.
For this reason we must pursue our contemplation with all fear and reverence,
as we seek to prove how the reality of each nature exists in one and the
same person, in such a way that nothing unworthy or unfitting may be thought
to reside in that divine and ineffable existence, nor on the other hand
may the events of his life be supposed to be the illusions caused by deceptive
But to utter these things in human ears and to explain them by words
far exceeds the powers we possess either in our mortal worth or in mind
and speech. I think indeed that it transcends the capacity even of the
holy apostles; nay more, perhaps the explanation of this mystery lies beyond
the reach of the whole creation of heavenly things.
(185-254 AD) was a Bible scholar and philospher based in Alexandria, Egypt
later in Caesarea in Palestine.
He lived during a turbulent
time of barbarian invasians, periodic persecutions, and rampant Gnostic
heresy. The death of his father as a Christian martyr deeply affected him.
The Christian historian Eusebius tells us that Origen was only seventeen
when he took over as headmaster of the Christian Catechetical School at
Alexandria. He was a prolific writer of homilies, scripture commentaries,
Under the persecution of
Decius in 250, Origen was imprisoned and underwent appalling tortue. After
his release he died at the age of 69 in 254.