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.