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Monday, April 2, 2018

Over the Ages

Sometimes I like to exercise my mind, take a mental walk or run a mental marathon. Right now I am doing this by reading and contemplating two of the greatest Christian minds of their day - Origen from 2nd and 3rd centuries, and John Dunne Scotus from the 13th and 14th centuries.

John argues God is first cause, his arguments relying heavily on Aristotle. It is clear, as I read his treatise, how deeply intertwined Greek philosophy is with Christian theology. For one thing, there is scarcely a page without Aristotle's name. In the day when Greek thinking was considered the highest, it is no wonder Aristotle, Plato, Stoicism, etc. found a home in the minds of Christian thinkers. It was the context in which they lived.

Origen rather humbly tried to reason against various "heresies" of his day, saying if anyone has better ideas, he will accept them.

Just a couple of Origen`s ideas this morning. The Holy Spirit has given Wisdom always, from the beginning, but only the prophets and great Holy people were able to hear. Christ's gift gave the Holy Spirit to everyone.

He argued against Marcion' s ideas, for example that there were two gods, the Old Testament God of judgement and fury and the Second Covenent God of Jesus, the God of love and forgiveness. Origen was certain there could only be one God, but understanding grew, and broke open through the Christ understanding poured upon the world.

He thought that since God created all, all creatures had a soul. He posited that the soul was between Spirit and body. That reminded me of Ernest Holmes' trinity - Spirit/First Cause/Mind/Superconsciousness; Soul/subconscious/servant; and body/result/Son. In his model, all began in the 1st set, moved through the 2nd set to produce the 3rd set. So all began in Spirit, moved through Soul to produce the Son. Substitute any of the words in the sets, and you have a working understanding of the creative process.

We, the two legeds of this planet, have long pondered the wonders of it all. Our musings have taken many directions. We arrive today without conclusive results, no final answer. Perhaps it is the journey we take to exercise our minds that is the point. It's all too vast for finite humans to fully comprehend. At least we can come to know we don't know, and neither does anyone else. We come to the place with no heretics to stamp out, just people thinking in the context of their culture, occasionally able to peek beyond.

I seek to peek beyond and open more fully to the Great Mystery.

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