Mystics for Advent Part Three: Origen of Alexandria

Philosopher and theologian Origen of Alexandria (182-251) is best known for his treatise On First Principles. He could skillfully adapt Platonist and other contemporary philosophical structures to develop a Christian world view.

Origen taught that, based on Ephesians 4:6, “the coming of the power of God (is) made manifest in the ‘all in all'”. We receive the Advent of God in Jesus so that the consummation of all things when all “are made capable of receiving God” can be realized. Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

One God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.            Ephesians 4:6

Of Us All

As with any giddy-making Mystery

you might hope to grip, in part

to apprehend, you’ll have to settle

for a relatively local image to suggest

the God’s surpassing all-sufficiency.

The sun, say, by its obvious position,

is patently above all things that crowd

our blue-green globe, and by its rays

it can be said to shine through all.

And more: when the power of its light

has pierced through every depth,

it is said thereby to be in all. In just

this way, we might surmise — in keeping

with our spinning apprehensions —

that its supremacy is underscored

by the words above all, and its sufficiency

for every being in the through all,

and still the coming of the power

of God made manifest in the in all.

The result, then, is

that no one is found, ever,

to be empty, due to our God’s

truly being, and of His being all in all.


All in All

In this way, (and note) accordingly,

we might suppose that at the someday

consummation — what I would call

the promised restoration of all things —

those who make their gradual advance,

as well as those ascending

will step surprised into that land, into

the healing action of its elements.

Here, each will be prepared for all

immense occasions to which

nothing further can be added.

And here, the King of all, Himself,

will school each blinking creature

in this the holy enterprise, instructing

all and reigning in them ’til He has

led them wholly to the father — who

you’ll find has joined all things to Himself

— that is, until they are made capable

of receiving God, so that the God

may ever be to them The All in All.

The words of Origen have been arranged in verse form by poet Scott Cairns as presented in his book Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life, Paraclete Press, 2007


Our next Mystic for Advent will the Saint Ephraim of Syria who proclaims to us, “Blessed is the Messenger who came, bearing as He strove a lasting peace.”

Steve Bailey is a deacon at St. Laurence, Coquitlam, and one of the blog masters of New Westminster Anglican Blog. Your comments and contributions are always welcome.


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