11.05.2010

Today's Project: Origen - Introduction

One of the most consistent accusations made against Origen is that he espoused a subordinate view of Jesus.  No one denies that Origen taught the subordination of Jesus to the Father, and it’s obvious within his works.  However, most fail to state explicitly how Christ is subordinate to the Father.  There are a few exceptions, however:  Bloesch, implies that Origen believed that Christ is ontologically subordinate to the Father by stating that the outcome of his theology is either Arianism or polytheism (indeed, the Arian controversy may be partly blamed on Origen, or at least his followers).  Trigg, dubiously uses a quote from Plotinus (a pagan contemporary of Origen) and references Origen in order to conclude that Origen believed that Jesus was ontologically subordinate.  Barnard on the other hand recognizes that Origen’s followers diverged from his teachings.  He does not deny that Origen taught subordination, but understands that there are different kinds of subordination and thus discusses the specific nature of Jesus subordination:  “Although he teaches a subordination of the Son it is not of essence but only of person and office, which is quite another thing.”  Barnard’s distinction is the key to understanding Origen’s view on Christ as it can be shown that Origen steps into neither Arianism nor polytheism.  To Origen, Christ’s subordination is not of essence.

edit: updated