Origen and the Trinity


This week in Historical Theology we’re talking about a number of things.  Specifically we’re reading some good stuff by the early church fathers, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen (of Alexandria).  Also we’re reading Alister McGrath’s Historical Theology as our continual text and a book by Justo Gonzales that takes a fresh look at the typical thought of these great early theologians.

One of the thought questions this week was:  4.      Summarize and comment on Origen’s trinitarianism.  What is the relationship between the Father, Son and Spirit?  What is the economic function of each?

Interesting question…  To save you from going down to the dusty section of the Christian book library, I’ll do my best to summarize Origen’s thought on the subject, and my post to our class in attempt to answer it!

 – I’ll try to summarize and then offer some specific points from the text.  For Origen, God
is the fullness of all things, “admitting within Himself no addition of any kind.”  He is the
autotheos (or God-in-Himself) and he is above all things.  He is the one of preeminence
in the Godhead, and the one to whom the Son and the Spirit submit.  The SON is Theos (God)
but is not the autotheos (God-in-Himself.  The SON is the
incarnational wisdom and truth of the FATHER, and no wisdom and/or truth can be
discerned except what was first brought into creation through the Son.  He is the
embodiment of wisdom and truth, and as John says, Christ is “the way, the truth, and the
life, and no one comes to the Father but by him.”  The SPIRIT is the means by which God
takes up his dwelling in his people.  God cannot dwell with his people except by the
Spirit’s presence. 

In terms of ECONOMIC function, God doesn’t need money.  🙂  The Father is ALL – lacking in nothing
and being far more glorious than we can perceive, almost like the SUN from our human
eyes.  The Son and Spirit are the ways for us to recognize God and come to him, and for
him – in return to COME INTO us. 
I must say, after reading this amazing document, I am far more “illumined” about the
nature of the Son and Spirit than I am the Father.  When I was a kid (14 or 15) and
became a disciple of Christ, the elders of our church told me, “you can preach/talk about
anything, except the ‘indwelling of the Holy Spirit.'”  I know know they were speaking
tongue-in-cheek, although there definitely was a stigma of mystery surrounding the
nature of the Spirit and His role.  Nobody wanted it talked about because nobody really
knew the mysteries of the Spirit.  Perhaps – according to Origen – that was one reason
many of them did not seem to have God LIVING within them… their deep confusion
about the Spirit being merely a facade for their own lack of God’s presence (the Spirit
himself) in their lives.  The Son, Jesus is REAL!!  How amazing is God that he would send
himself in Human form, and what amazing life would that man have lived, because he
was, in fact, God? 

Far too much for one post.  Maybe a research paper… or a book, or a thousand books! 
Thank you all for reading.

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