Origen Was a Preterist

Origen was a Preterist!

Kurt Simmons

 

In this article, we show that the earliest and greatest of the “church fathers” was a confirmed Preterist.

Orthodoxy and the Patristic Writers 

Overall, Christians today probably are not as familiar with the “patristic writers” and “church fathers” as men of former ages were. We do not read early church history or the treasury of writings that have come down to us as perhaps we should.  We take for granted the apologetic proofs of Christ in the Old Testament and Psalms that fill so much of their writings.  The issues that fill their pages seem obscure or irrelevant to our day; the heresies they wrote about no longer exist and we feel no need to acquaint ourselves with them.  Hence, we tend to neglect the writings of early church fathers.   

If there is an up-side to this, it is that we tend to rely more upon the Bible as our rule of faith and practice, rather than the example and precedent of former times.  However, the down-side of not reading the church fathers is that we lose an important source for defending ourselves and demonstrating our place in the historical faith of the church.  When men accuse us of being “unorthodox” because we are Preterists, charging that we have departed from the traditional teaching of the church, what are we to answer? What if one of the earliest and greatest church fathers was a Preterist? Would not that information be useful in answering a charge that Preterism is heterodox?  Preterists may take heart:  We have just such a witness in Origen. 

Who Was Origen? 

In the period following the apostles, Antioch in Syria became the chief city and center of Christian faith.  But by the third century, Alexandria, Egypt, rose to predominance, first, through the genius first of Clement, then Origen.[1] 

Origen (A.D. 185-254) was born in Alexandria to Christian parents. His father, Leonides, instructed him in the various branches of Greek learning, and also required that he daily recite and commit to memory portions of scripture.  When Origen was about seventeen years old, his father died a martyr (A.D. 202) in the persecution under Septimius Severus, and the family fortune was forfeit to the crown.  The oldest of seven brothers, support of the family fell to Origen who thus began a career as a teacher of grammar.  His abilities soon brought him many pupils and great renown.  Included among his students were members of the Christian community who sought him out for his learning in the scriptures.  Origen was soon advanced to the position of master of the Catechetical School by Demetrius, Bishop of Alexandria, filling the position Clement left vacant when he quit the city at the outbreak of persecution.  Thrust into the teacher’s chair, Origen broke off his instructions in grammar and devoted himself exclusively to the work of teaching in the Catechetical School.  He refused all remuneration, selling his books and manuscripts to support himself and continue his education.  Origen was easily the most illustrious and learned man of his day.  His erudition became so widely admired that he was called to various foreign cities to help settle theological issues and dispel the heresies of the day.  He was imprisoned in Tyre during the persecution under Decius, where he suffered many cruelties by his persecutors. Although later released, the effect of his imprisonment so weakened him that he died in Tyre in A.D. 254.   

Origen’s writings were voluminous.  His friend and patron, Ambrosius, bore the expense of seven amanuenses and an equal number of transcribers, as well as girls practiced in calligraphy, to make copies for publication of the works dictated by Origen.  Jerome says that he wrote more than any individual could read. Epiphanius related that his works amounted to 6,000 writings. His magnum opus was the Hexapala, a critical edition of the Greek and Hebrew scriptures set in six columns, including versions of the 1) Hebrew, 2) Hebrew transliterated into Greek, 3) Aquila of Sinope, 4) Symmachus the Ebionite, 5) a recension of the Septuagint, 6) Theodotion.  His works published in the Ante-Nicene Fathers include De Principiis, A Letter to Africanus about the History of Susanna, A Letter to Gregory, and Contra Celsus. 

Origen’s Early Writings 

Origen’s reputation has been forever marred due to some of his early errors.  The introduction to the Ante-Nicene Fathers gives the following as points where Origen departed from the mainstream in his De Principiis: 

1)       The souls of men had existed in a previous state, and that their imprisonment in material bodies was a punishment for sins which they had then committed.

2)       The human soul of Christ had also previously existed, and been united to the Divine nature before that incarnation of the Son of God which is related in the Gospels.

3)       Our material bodies shall be transformed into absolutely ethereal ones at the resurrection.[2]

4)       All men, and even devils, shall be finally restored through the mediation of Christ. 

The first and fourth admittedly are serious.  The second seems to affirm only that Jesus was God, or the Spirit of God, before his incarnation and became a “Son” only by his conception the virgin’s womb, a view that is quite prevalent and perfectly orthodox today.  The third, that only the spirit of man is the object of the resurrection, not physical bodies, represents the view held today by the probable majority of Christians and all Preterists.  The first, that the soul of man preexisted, has close affinity to Greek notions about the immortality of the soul and its reincarnation after a thousand-year sojourn in Hades.  It would thus appear that Origen retained certain notions derived from the Greeks, and that they found their way into his theology, in the same way “purgatory” would later take up permanent residence in the Catholic Church.[3]  The fourth, Universalism, was attached to Origen’s eschatology. When he composed De Principiis, Origen was still a futurist, who believed in the impending destruction of the world.[4] His understanding of Isaiah’s “new heavens and earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; cf. II Pet. 3:13), coupled with St. Paul’s comment that the “whole creation” would be loosed from the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:19-23), led Origen to suppose that the material creation would be freed from its corporeal existence unto ethereal liberty of the sons of God at the resurrection: 

“So then, when the end has been restored to the beginning, and the termination of things compared with their commencement, that condition of things will be re-established in which rational nature was placed, when it had no need to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; so that when all feeling of wickedness has been removed, and the individual has been purified and cleansed, He who alone is the one good God becomes to him ‘all,’ and that not in the case of a few individuals, or in a considerable number, but He  Himself is ‘all in all.’”[5] 

Origen rejected the idea that the physical creation would be wondrously regenerated, and chided those holding such view as thinking no deeper than the “letter” and falling into the literalism of the Jews: 

“Certain persons, then, refusing the labour of thinking, and adopting a superficial view of the letter of the law…say that after the resurrection there will be marriages, and the begetting of children, imaging to themselves that the earthly city of Jerusalem is to be rebuilt, its foundations laid with precious stones…Such are the views of those who, while believing in Christ, understand the divine Scriptures in a  sort of Jewish sense, drawing from them nothing worthy of the divine promises.”[6] 

The literalism described by Origen is identical with Lactantius’ view of the earth after the second coming[7], and reminds us Justin Martyr’s and Tertullian’s notions of the earth during the millennium.  It is also identical with the “material new creation” of modern day Postmillennialsts like Keith Mathison and Kenneth Gentry Jr.[8] How much more blameworthy Origen should be deemed for his views than these others we will not venture to say.  There is reason to believe, however, that Origen eventually renounced his Universalism, for he speaks of God abandoning the wicked, and of eternal punishment.[9]  Thus, we may look with charity upon this great man and early church father.  Certainly, that was the view of Eusebius who devoted almost the entire sixth book of his "Ecclesiastical History" to Origen and, in collaboration with the martyr Pamphilius, composed the "Apology for Origen."  

His Later Writings – Origen the Preterist 

Whatever errors show up in Origen’s early works, Contra Celsus was composed in his old age and should be received as the final statement of Origen’s views.[10]  It is also in Contra Celsus that we find Origen abandoned his futurism, and became a Preterist. Written against a Greek Philosopher, Book IV opens with Origen stating that Celsus had arrayed himself against both Jews and Christians, deriding the idea that God would come to earth: 

“Above all is it necessary to show, as against the assertions of Celsus which follow those he has already made, that the prophecies regarding Christ are true predictions. For, arraying himself at the same time against both parties – against the Jews on the one hand, who deny that the advent of Christ has taken place, but who expect it as future, and against Christians on the other, who acknowledge that Jesus is the Christ spoken of in prophecy – he makes the following statement: ‘But that certain Christians and (all) Jews should maintain, the former that there has already descended, the latter there will descend, upon the earth a certain God, or Son of God, who will make the inhabitants of the earth righteous, is a most shameless assertion and one the refutation of which does not need many words.’”[11] 

Notice at the outset that where we would expect Celsus to allege all Christians held that Christ was already come or descended, instead we find that only certain Christians affirmed this. All Christians naturally affirm that Jesus is the Christ and the historical facts recorded in the gospels.  But only some Christians (apparently a goodly number) were affirming Christ’s "full descent."  The explanation for this anomaly becomes clear as Origen’s book unfolds: The “descent” of God Celsus derides is not merely the incarnation, but his coming in wrath and judgment. 

It should be borne in mind that the prophets did not distinguish between the “first” and “second” comings of Christ, but treated the coming of the Messiah as a singular event.  All through the Old Testament, there is but one coming of the Messiah.  The scriptures treat Christ’s first and second comings as an historical unit, with no appreciable separation in time or event intervening between them.  So closely conjoined were Christ’s comings that it is only by hindsight that we are able to distinguish them in the prophets; readers in Old Testament times could not have done so.  Indeed, the very notion of a “second coming" is conspicuously absent from the Old Testament and could not have occurred to the disciples had Christ not instructed them concerning his temporary departure “to receive unto himself a kingdom, and to return” (Lk. 19:12-27).  To mention but a few examples, Isaiah describes the birth of the Savior to the virgin, his rejection and death, and the destruction of his enemies without anything to distinguish these events in point of time (Isa. 7:14; 9:6, 7; 53; 66:1-6, 15).  Similarly, Zechariah describes scenes of Christ’s death and crucifixion in one breath, only to describe his coming in wrath in the next (Zech. 12:11; 13:6; 14:1-3) and Joel, Haggai, Habakkuk, and Malachi omit Christ’s “first” coming altogether (Joel 2:28-32; Hag 2:6, 7; Hab. 2:3; Mal. 3:2; 4:1-6).   

Celsus and certain Christians apparently recognized this fact and it is the full descent of Christ that is thus being questioned.  Hence, in chapter eleven, Celsus charges that Jews and Christians, misunderstanding that floods and conflagrations occur in regular cycles determined by the planets, wrongly attribute these to the wrath of God: 

“The belief has spread among them, from a  misunderstanding of the accounts of these occurrences, that after lengthened cycles of time, and the returns of and conjunctions of planets, conflagrations and floods are wont to happen, and because after the last flood, which took place in the time of Deucalion, the lapse of time, agreeably to the vicissitude of all things, requires a conflagration; and this made them give utterance to the erroneous opinion that God will descend, bringing fire like a torturer” (emphasis added).[12] 

Here then is the descent which Celsus mocked and Origen is concerned to prove Christ has fulfilled: a coming or descent with fire.  In response to the charge of Celsus, Origen first denies that the deluge or conflagration were the result of planetary conjunctions occurring at regular cycles, and rather attributes them to divine wrath; 

“But we do not refer either the deluge or the conflagration to cycles and planetary periods; but the cause of them we declare to be the extensive wickedness, and its (consequent) removal by a deluge or a conflagration.”[13] 

This said, Origen defends the idea of God “coming down” to earth, affirming that scriptural usage shows that this language is figurative: 

“And if the voices of the prophets say that God ‘comes down,’ who has said, ‘Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord,’ the term is used in a figurative sense. For God ‘comes down’ from His own height and greatness when He arranges the affairs of men, and especially those of the wicked.”[14]   

Furthermore, the bodily descent of God is also accommodative language, not to be taken literally: 

“And as custom leads men to say that teachers ‘condescend’ to children, and wise men to those youths who have just betaken themselves to philosophy, not by ‘descending in a bodily manner; so, if God is said anywhere in the holy Scriptures to ‘come down, it is understood as spoken in conformity with the usage which so employs the word, and in like manner also with the expression, ‘go up.’[15] 

But if the “coming down” of God is figurative, and is not literal or bodily, Origen also affirms that the fire of Christ’s conflagration is merely figurative: 

“But it is in mockery that Celsus says we speak of ‘God coming down like a torturer bearing fire,’ and thus compels us unseasonably to investigate words of deeper meaning, we shall make a few remarks, sufficient to enable our hearers to form an idea of the defense which disposes of the ridicule of Celsus against us, and then we shall turn to what follows.  The divine word says that our God is ‘a consuming fire,’ and that ‘He draws rivers of fire before Him;’ nay, that he even entereth in as ‘a refiner’s fire, and as a fuller’s herb,’ to purify His own people. But when He is said to be a ‘consuming fire,” we inquire what are the things which are appropriate to be consumed by God. And we assert that they are wickedness, and the works which result from it, and which, being figuratively called ‘wood, hay, stubble,’ God consumes as a fire.  The wicked man, accordingly, is said to build upon the previously-laid foundation of reason, ‘wood, and hay, and stubble.’  If, then, any one can show that these words were differently understood by the writer, and can prove that the wicked man literally builds up ‘wood, or hay, or stubble,’ it is evident that the fire must be understood to be material, and an object of sense. But if, on the contrary, the works of the wicked man are spoken of figuratively, under the names of ‘wood, or hay, or stubble,” why does it not once occur (to inquire) in what sense the word ‘fire’ is to be taken, so that ‘wood’ of such a kind should be consumed? For (the scripture) says: “The fire will try each man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work be burned, he shall suffer loss.”[16] 

Here we have Origen’s answer to Celsus’ mock that God comes down as a “torturer bearing fire.”  First, the coming down is figurative; second, the bodily form is merely accommodative, not literal; third, the fire of Christ’s wrath is also figurative. In connection with this last, a survey of the texts quoted by Origen shows all are traditional “second coming” passages: 

Heb. 12:26-29 - “Our God is a consuming fire.” 

Dan. 7:9, 10 - “His throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him.” 

Mal. 3:2, 3 – “But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap.” 

I Cor. 3:13 - “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 

These “second coming” passages, coupled with Origen’s figurative understanding of prophetic language, show that Origen viewed the second coming in terms precisely as Preterists do today, and prima facie prove Origen was firmly in the Preterist camp. 

Destruction of the World by Fire 

As we have seen, in his early days Origen believed the scriptures taught that creation was marked for impending destruction associated with Christ’s return. His later writings, however, show that Origen changed, and came to understand the language of prophecy in less literal terms.  Specifically, Origen believed Christ’s bodily descent with fire at his second coming was to be figuratively understood.  However, there is more.  If the “fire” associated with Christ’s advent was figurative, then the destruction of the world by conflagration was also figurative (non-physical).  And if its destruction was figurative, then the new heavens and earth were also necessarily figurative (non-physical).  These are logical corollaries from which there is no escape.  Thus, Origen’s writings evidence a profound paradigm shift away from the literalism normally associated with futurism, to a paradigm more in terms with Preterism. But understanding prophetic language figuratively is not the same as believing that the prophecies were already fulfilled.  What proof do we have of this?  In chapters twenty through twenty-two, Origen provides full evidence of his Preterism. 

“In the next place, as he represents the Jews account in a way peculiar to themselves for their belief that the advent of Christ among them is still in the future, and the Christians as maintaining in their way that the coming of the Son of God into the life of men has already taken place, let us, as far as we can, briefly consider these points. According to Celsus, the Jews say that ‘(human) life, being filled with all wickedness, needed one sent from God, that the wicked might be punished, and all things purified in a manner analogous to the first deluge which happened.’  And as the Christians are said to make statements additional to this, it is evident that he alleges that they admit these.  Now, where is the absurdity in the coming of one who is, on account of the prevailing flood of wickedness, to purify the world, and to treat every one according to his deserts? For it is not in keeping with the character of God that the diffusion of wickedness should not cease, and all things be renewed.”[17] 

Several points here should be noted:  1) Christians affirmed that the advent of Christ had already taken place.  As we will see, this included the second coming.  2) Both the Jews and Christians affirmed a universal flood. 3) The Christians made statements additional to those regarding the flood.  These statements were comprehended in 4) the coming of Christ to 5) purify the world and render everyman according to his works.   

Origen’s statements in No.’s 4 (“render everyman according to his deserts”) and 5 (“all things be renewed”) are almost certainly references to Matt. 16:27, 28 and Rev. 21:5, and confirm that the “additional statements” of Christians (No. 3) are to the conflagration associated with Christ’s second coming. 

 

Matt. 16:27, 28

 

Rev. 21:5

 

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming his kingdom.”

 

 

 

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

 

 

Thus prefaced, Origen then states that the world has already undergone destruction by fire and was being renewed: 

“We do not deny, then, that the purificatory fire and the destruction of the world took place in order that evil might be swept away, and all things be renewed; for we assert that we have learned these things from the sacred books of the prophets.”[18] 

Origen has told us that the “fire” of prophetic utterance is not literal, but figurative.  Hence, it is not to a literal conflagration in history (e.g., Sodom and Gomorrah) that Origen refers.[19] What event does he associate with this destruction? The fall of Jerusalem 

“But according to Celsus, ‘the Christians making certain additional statements to those of the Jews, assert that the Son of God has been already sent on account of the sins of the Jews; and that the Jews having chastised Jesus, and given him gall to drink, have brought upon themselves the divine wrath.’  And any one who likes may convict this statement of falsehood, if it be not the case that the whole Jewish nation was overthrown within one single generation after Jesus had undergone these sufferings at their hands. For forty and two years, I think, after the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, did the destruction of Jerusalem take place.”[20] 

Earlier (No. 3, above), Origen mentioned certain “additional statements” of the Christians in reference to the coming of One to purify the world.  Here, the identical phrase occurs again, showing that he is now explaining what the substance of those “additional statements” was; viz., that the Son of God had already been sent (No’s 1 and 4, above) within the very generation following Christ’s crucifixion to punish the Jews and destroy Jerusalem.  If we set out those things Origen associated with the coming of Christ and compare them with those he connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, we will see that each was fulfilled:o:p> 

Comparison of Origen’s Statements Regarding the Coming of Christ 

Comments on left reflect what Origen said would occur at Christ’s coming; those on right show that he saw them as already fulfilled. 

 

“In the next place, as he represents the Jews account in a way peculiar to themselves for their belief that the advent of Christ among them is still in the future, and the Christians as maintaining in their way that the coming of the Son of God into the life of men has already taken place, let us, as far as we can, briefly consider these points. According to Celsus, the Jews say that ‘(human) life, being filled with all wickedness, needed one sent from God, that the wicked might be punished, and all things purified in a manner analogous to the first deluge which happened.’  And as the Christian are said to make statements additional to this, it is evident that he alleges that they admit these.  Now, where is the absurdity in the coming of one who is, on account of the prevailing flood of wickedness, to purify the world, and to treat every one according to his deserts? For it is not in keeping with the character of God that the diffusion of wickedness should not cease, and all things be renewed.

 

 

 

“We do not deny, then, that the purificatory fire and the destruction of the world took place in order that evil might be swept away, and all things be renewed; for we assert that we have learned these things from the sacred books of the prophets.”

 

“But according to Celsus, ‘the Christians making certain additional statements to those of the Jews, assert that the Son of God has been already sent on account of the sins of the Jews; and that the Jews having chastised Jesus, and given him gall to drink, have brought upon themselves the divine wrath.’  And any one who likes may convict this statement of falsehood, if it be not the case that the whole Jewish nation was overthrown within one single generation after Jesus had undergone these sufferings at their hands. For forty and two years, I think, after the date of the crucifixion of Jesus, did the destruction of Jerusalem take place.”

 

 

Sense in which World Destroyed and All Renewed 

Obviously, Jerusalem is not the world. Hence, it is worth inquiring how it happens that Origen equated the fall of a city with the end of the world.  The most plausible explanation is that when Origen wrote Contra Celsus he had not yet attained a full understanding of the eschaton.  There is great emphasis upon the destruction of Jerusalem in the Old Testament, which, coupled with the Olivet Discourse, tends to direct our attention to that event.  This tendency is so profound that most Preterists, at least at first, attempt to explain the second coming in terms confined to the end of the Jewish state.  Verses (of which there are not a few) that do not fit neatly into this paradigm we tend to ignore (see for example Dan. 2 and 7).  Although we see enough of the puzzle to recognize the picture and that the second coming was indeed fulfilled in the first century, we cannot figure out how those "other" verses fit it.  Later, as we learn more about the history of the era, the year of four emperors, the Roman civil wars, the natural disasters, pestilences, famines, hurricanes, earthquakes, tidal waves, fires, and navel disasters that beset the empire in those days, our view of the eschaton broadens and we see that it was, in fact, world-wide.  This pattern being everywhere so prevalent, it is very likely that Origen fell into the same error when he wrote. Had he lived long enough, we may well suspect that he would have come to a fuller understanding of those momentous days. Indeed, he mentions Christ's defeat of the Romans and the whole world, suggesting he may have been already on his way. 

But in the case of the Christians, the Roman Senate, and the princes of the time, and the soldiery, and the people, and the relatives of those who had become converts to the faith, made war upon their doctrine, and would have prevented (its progress), overcoming it by a confederacy of so powerful a nature, had it not, by the help of God, escaped the danger, and risen above it, so as to defeat the whole world in its conspiracy against it."[21] 

Conclusion 

The evidence of Origen's Preterism is irrefutable. He interpreted the "coming down" of God, his bodily descent, the fire of  his wrath in terms exactly as Preterists do today, and he expressly states that Christ came to destroy the Jewish nation, styling this event the destruction of the world and its purification by "purgatorial fire."  Preterists may thus rest easy knowing their convictions in fulfilled eschatology are within the pale of the historic faith of the early church.



[1] Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p 223.

[2] From this view, Origen never changed: “We, therefore, do not maintain that the body which has undergone corruption resumes its original nature, any more than the grain of wheat which has decayed returns to its former condition. But we do maintain, that as above the grain of wheat there arises a stalk, so a certain power is implanted in the body, which is not destroyed, and from which the body is raised up in incorruption.”  Origen, Contra Celsus V, xxiii.

[3] In fact, purgatory shows up in Origen’s Contra Celsus: VI, xxvi, Ante-Nicene Fathers VI, pg. 585.

[4] “So, in the last times, when the end of the world is already imminent and near, and the whole human race is verging upon the last destruction…”

[5] Origen, De Principiis, III, vi, 3; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, pg. 345. Cf. De Principiis, I, vi, 1-viii, 4; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, pp. 260-267.

[6] Origen, Contra Celsus, II, xi, 2; Ante-Nicene Fathers IV, pg. 297.

[7] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho,  LXXXIX- LXXXI, Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. I, pp. 238-240; Tertullian, Against Marcion, III, xxv; Ante Nicene Fathers, Vol III, p. 342; Lactantius, Divine Institutes, XXIV; Ante-Nicine Fathers, Vol. VII, p. 219.

[8] “The same omnipotent God who made all the nations will convert all the nations…The whole creation will not be completely set free from corruption until the Second Coming (cf. Rom. 8:19-23). It is the progressive aspect of the redemption of creation. Sin affected more than the souls of men; it affected all of creation.  In Revelation 21-22, we see that the redemptive work of Christ is as world wide in scope as were the effects of God’s curse. The original purpose of God for creation will finally be accomplished.” 

Keith A. Mathison, Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope (P&R, Publishing, 1999), p. 82, 157.

[9] “But we say that the soul of the bad man, and of him who is overwhelmed in wickedness, is abandoned by God.”  Contra Celsus, IV, v; Ante-Nicene Fathers,  IV, p. 499.  “The multitude needs no further instruction than that which the punishment of sinners; while to ascend beyond this is not expedient, for the sake of those who are with difficulty restrained, even by fear of eternal punishment, from plunging in any degree of wickedness, and into the flood of evils which result from sin.” Contra Celsus: VI, xxvi, Ante-Nicene Fathers VI, pg. 585 

[10] “This work was written in the old age of our author, and is composed with great care; while it abounds with proofs of the widest erudition.  It is also perfectly orthodox; and, as Bishop Bull has remarked, it is only fair that we should judge from a work written with the view of being considered by the world at large, and with the most elaborate care, as to the mature and finally accepted views of the author.”  Rev. Fredrick Crombie, Introductory Note to the Translation of Origen, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, p. 233.

[11] Contra Celsus, IV, i; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, pg. 497.

[12] Contra Celsus, IV, xi; Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. IV, pg. 501.

[13] Contra Celsus,  IV, xii; Ante-Nicene Father, Vol IV, pg. 501.

[14] Contra Celsus, IV, xiii; Ante-Nicene Father, Vol IV, pg. 501, 2.

[15] Contra Celsus, IV, xii; Ante-Nicene Father, Vol. IV, pg. 502.

[16] Contra Celsus, IV, xiii; Ante-Nicene Fathers IV, pg. 502.

[17] Contra Celsus, IV, xx; Ante-Nicene Fathers IV, pg. 505.

[18] Contra Celsus, IV, xxi; Ante-Nicene Fathers IV, pg. 505.

[19] We were recently challenged on this statement of Origen, our detractor alleging that Sodom and Gomorrah were in view. However, this is easily dismissed: 1) The fire of Sodom was literal, not figurative as those here spoken of by Origen; 2) the prophets do not relate the history of Sodom, Moses does, a distinction maintained by both scripture and Origen who always refer these by the appellation “Moses and the prophets”; 3) Celsus does not refer to Sodom and Gomorah, thus there is no reason for Origen to do so; 4) the destruction of Sodom was not published or prophesied beforehand, but merely announced the day before to Abraham; 5) Origen’s reference to “all things renewed” is almost certainly to Rev. 21:5, not Genesis; 6) “all things renewed” in the quote refers to the work of the Messiah, not to the remote past.

[20] Contra Celsus, IV, xxii; Ante-Nicene Fathers IV, pg. 506.

[21] Contra Celsus, I, v; Ante-Nicene-Fathers, pg 398.

 


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