The First Centuries – Part 07 – Origen The History of the Christian Church

    • Christianity

As I record  & post this episode, a new movie’s out called Logan. It’s appears to be the last installment for the venerable X-Men character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. Logan was an immortal who became the subject of a secret military experiment gone wrong. His skeleton was infused with a fictional metal called adamantium that bears the hardness of a diamond.Why, you wonder, am I sharing this. What’s this have to do with Church History? I mention it, not because I’ve seen the movie, but because of the name of the church father we’re going to take a look at today. Or I should say his nickname; it was Adamantius. Roughly meaning, “Man of Steel” or if you prefer, “Tough Guy.”Can you guess who we’re talking about, what his more common name was? Origen, a man both honored & despised. Honored because when he was good, he was very, very good and when he was bad he was awful!I’ve come to think of Origen as a really smart guy with a basically good heart, who went off into weirdness because of one simple error, which we’ll take a look at later.Origen Adamantius was born at Alexandria in Egypt around AD 185, the eldest of 7. His parents were committed Christians who diligently raised their family in the Scriptures. Persecution led to his father Leonidas’ beheading in 202. Origen was 17, and saw it as his duty to follow his dad’s example. His mother hid his clothes to keep him from going out of the house. As he searched for them, she persuaded him to consider that as the eldest son, it was now his responsibility to provide for her & his siblings.To do just that, Origen opened a school for the wealthy children of Alexandria. He made extra money copying texts, and tutoring those seeking to become church members.It became clear to all who engaged him that he was a genius. A wealthy patron offered to assist him in further schooling. Origen wanted to parlay his emerging intellect as a tool for the defense of the Christian faith and decided the best way to do that was by making sure he understood the arguments of the major contenders. So he enrolled in a school of the pagan philosopher Ammonius Saccas. It was during this time Origen began putting together his ideas that would later come out in his work refuting the challenges of the pagan critic Celsus that we’ll get to a bit later.As Origen’s output grew, a wealthy friend supplied him with secretaries to capture his dictation and run his affairs.When Origen was installed by the pastor of the church at Alexandria, Bishop Demetrius, as the head of the Catechetical, or we might say, new-member school, Origen began a life of ultra strict asceticism. He slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, fasted twice a week, owned no shoes, and according to the ancient church historian Eusebius, castrated himself in mistaken obedience of what Jesus said about eunuchs in Matt 19. There’s some debate if Origen actually did this, or just chose to stay celibate.Reflecting the safety of travel on the now Roman Lake of the Med, Origen made several trips to Rome, and one to Arabia. In 215, when he was about 30, unrest in Alexandria caused by a visit from the Emperor Caracalla, moved Origen to make a visit to Palestine. While there, he was asked by the pastors of both Caesarea and Jerusalem to preach in their churches. He did, though he was only a layman. He’d never been ordained a pastor. When he got home, his pastor, Bishop Demetrius was livid as this was regarded as a serious breach of ecclesiastical protocol.From 218 to 230, Origen devoted himself exclusively to writing. Then in 230 again set out for Palestine, where he the same pastor-bishops as before asked him to preach again. When he declined lest it create another brueha with Demetrius, they offered to ordain him then and there. Sounded good to Origen, so the deed was done.Yeah, Demetrius wasn’t pleased and when Origen got back, fired him & revoked his ordination, claiming the othe

As I record  & post this episode, a new movie’s out called Logan. It’s appears to be the last installment for the venerable X-Men character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. Logan was an immortal who became the subject of a secret military experiment gone wrong. His skeleton was infused with a fictional metal called adamantium that bears the hardness of a diamond.Why, you wonder, am I sharing this. What’s this have to do with Church History? I mention it, not because I’ve seen the movie, but because of the name of the church father we’re going to take a look at today. Or I should say his nickname; it was Adamantius. Roughly meaning, “Man of Steel” or if you prefer, “Tough Guy.”Can you guess who we’re talking about, what his more common name was? Origen, a man both honored & despised. Honored because when he was good, he was very, very good and when he was bad he was awful!I’ve come to think of Origen as a really smart guy with a basically good heart, who went off into weirdness because of one simple error, which we’ll take a look at later.Origen Adamantius was born at Alexandria in Egypt around AD 185, the eldest of 7. His parents were committed Christians who diligently raised their family in the Scriptures. Persecution led to his father Leonidas’ beheading in 202. Origen was 17, and saw it as his duty to follow his dad’s example. His mother hid his clothes to keep him from going out of the house. As he searched for them, she persuaded him to consider that as the eldest son, it was now his responsibility to provide for her & his siblings.To do just that, Origen opened a school for the wealthy children of Alexandria. He made extra money copying texts, and tutoring those seeking to become church members.It became clear to all who engaged him that he was a genius. A wealthy patron offered to assist him in further schooling. Origen wanted to parlay his emerging intellect as a tool for the defense of the Christian faith and decided the best way to do that was by making sure he understood the arguments of the major contenders. So he enrolled in a school of the pagan philosopher Ammonius Saccas. It was during this time Origen began putting together his ideas that would later come out in his work refuting the challenges of the pagan critic Celsus that we’ll get to a bit later.As Origen’s output grew, a wealthy friend supplied him with secretaries to capture his dictation and run his affairs.When Origen was installed by the pastor of the church at Alexandria, Bishop Demetrius, as the head of the Catechetical, or we might say, new-member school, Origen began a life of ultra strict asceticism. He slept on the floor, ate no meat, drank no wine, fasted twice a week, owned no shoes, and according to the ancient church historian Eusebius, castrated himself in mistaken obedience of what Jesus said about eunuchs in Matt 19. There’s some debate if Origen actually did this, or just chose to stay celibate.Reflecting the safety of travel on the now Roman Lake of the Med, Origen made several trips to Rome, and one to Arabia. In 215, when he was about 30, unrest in Alexandria caused by a visit from the Emperor Caracalla, moved Origen to make a visit to Palestine. While there, he was asked by the pastors of both Caesarea and Jerusalem to preach in their churches. He did, though he was only a layman. He’d never been ordained a pastor. When he got home, his pastor, Bishop Demetrius was livid as this was regarded as a serious breach of ecclesiastical protocol.From 218 to 230, Origen devoted himself exclusively to writing. Then in 230 again set out for Palestine, where he the same pastor-bishops as before asked him to preach again. When he declined lest it create another brueha with Demetrius, they offered to ordain him then and there. Sounded good to Origen, so the deed was done.Yeah, Demetrius wasn’t pleased and when Origen got back, fired him & revoked his ordination, claiming the othe