Re: Origen (God bless him)

> There has previously been a quote from someone characterizing Origen's view of 
> John 1:1 that could be quite misleading (unintentional, I'm sure).
> Of course, we all know that Origen could be a little inconsistent, but to put 
> his subordinationalist tendencies in proper context, it must be conceded that 
> Origen maintained a Trinitarian framework for his views.
> Eirhvh,
> Bob

Amen and Amen. I am a fan of Origen too, and my quotation from him was
in no way meant to label him as a "subordinationist" - or anything else.
I find these labels less than illuminating. They end up as just rallying
cries and substitutes for actual understanding. (Excellent for passing
exams, of course!)

There is not a lot of point in forcing either John or Origen into the
small shoe of later "orthodoxies". In that case, why stop at post-Nicene
orthodoxy? Why not equally force them into the shoe of Thomas Aquinas'
neo-Aristotelianism? Others have tried that too.

Both John and Origen were creative, intelligent and spiritual writers.
We need to read them in the same spirit, not just force them into the
moulds of later patterns.

In SOME sense, John is making a distinction between "ho Theos" and the
Logos as "Theos". It is up to us to try to understand what that
distinction was, not to just slide over it because it is in danger of
infringing a later taboo. In SOME sense, John makes it clear that "the
Father is greater than I" (and this is clearly a *theological*
statement, not just a description of the "manhood" - a nice later
wriggle). To be frightened to face these issues without resorting to
quick evasive footwork, is to preclude oneself from any chance of getting
inside John's mind.

The same is true of Origen. These facile labels of "subordinationism",
"Sabellianism" etc. are worn out blanket bombing tactics. Let us try to
understand these writers *creatively* and without preconceptions based on
battle lines drawn by later and now largely meaningless wars. I want to
understand what John himself was trying to say. When I have done that, I
am perfectly happy to also look at what Augustine and others thought
John must have been trying to say. It may be the same - but it aint
necessarily so.

John Richards                                       Stackpole Elidor (UK)