Origen's Christology: A Response to the Cults

Sam Shamoun

It is common for heretics and apostates like Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims to misquote the early Church Fathers and to read their own post-biblical and heretical views back into the Patristic writings. One such Father that is often misquoted is Origen. Heretics and apostates often misquote Origen and define his use of terms in light of their own heretical views and then claim that Origen denied the essential Trinity and the eternal existence of the Son.

It is our aim in this article to cite authors that have studied Origen's Christological and Trinitarian views to see whether in fact Origen did deny the essential Trinity. It will hopefully be evident that once Origen's statements are viewed in light of Origen's entire writings and the historical context in which he wrote, the readers will then see that Origen did affirm the essential Trinity.

We begin with Henri Crouzel, considered the leading Origen scholar. The following quotations are taken from Crouzel's book titled, Origen, published by T&T Clark LTD, Edinburgh Scotland, 1999 edition. We start with Crouzel's comments regarding the common mistake of trying to read one's own views into Origen's use of words. All bold and capital emphasis ours:

"Origen would then be read in the context of heresies other than the ones he had in mind: as he had not foreseen these, some of his expressions or speculations could, with a bit of a push, be made to look as if he embraced these heresies, especially when no trouble was taken to look in other parts of his work for the key to his assertions. The main one was Arianism. Origen, whose trinitarian vocabulary was not yet sufficiently precise, might seem opposed to the unity of nature defined at Nicaea, although he held its equivalent in a dynamic rather than ontological mode. Some expressions could draw his subordinationism, which is in terms of origin and ‘economy’, towards the Arian subordinationism of inequality using texts which assert NOTHING MORE THAN A HIEARCHY OF ORIGIN. Besides, he is constantly accused, for reasons of vocabulary which we shall explain, of making the Son and the Holy Spirit creatures of the Father. In this detractors take no account of his speculations on the ETERNAL generation of the Word in the Treatise on First Principles itself and of the celebrated formula attested as being in Origen by Athanasius himself: ‘ouk en hote ouk en - there was not a moment when He (the Word) was not’. (Crouzel, pp. 171-172)


"In the accusations brought against Origen questions of vocabulary still have their part; through their lack of historical sense and knowledge his detractors read into the expressions he used the meaning they had in their day, WHICH WAS NOT ORIGEN'S. Thus in the preface of the Treatise on First Principles he declares, according to Rufinus' version, that the Christ ‘was born (natus) of the Father before all creation’ and then asks whether the Holy Spirit ‘is born or not born.’ In Letter 124 to Avitus Jerome thus transposes the first sentence: ‘The Christ, the Son of God, is not born but made (factum)’ and the second about the Holy Spirit ‘whether he is made or not made.’ Thus Origen is drawn towards Arianism. This discrepancy is easily explained: the text of Origen must comprise genetos and agenetos with a single n. For him, as for most before the Arian crisis, genetos and gennetos, agenetos and agennetos, with a single n or with two, are equivalent and interchangeable. In the 3rd century indeed the double consonants are no longer pronounced and Origen frequently in the Contra Celsum uses genesis with a single n not gennesis with two for the generation of Jesus by Mary. The need to distinguish generation from creation to answer Arianism would bring back the specialisation of forms with one n to signify creation (gignomai) and double n to indicate generation (gennao). Jerome, taking no account of what Origen says elsewhere, and in the Treatise on First Principles itself, about the generation of the Son, translates genetos and agenetos according to the theological usage of his time by factus and infectus. Origen would in that case make the Son and the Holy Spirit creatures. Rufinus was probably no more aware than Jerome of the difference of vocabulary, but he takes account of other texts and his good will helps him to avoid too serious a mistake.

The same remark can be made about the use by Origen and the Ante-Nicenes of the verb ktizein and its derivatives ktisis and ktisma. Prov. 8, 22 puts into the mouth of Wisdom, who for most of the early Fathers represents the Son, the words ‘ho kyrios ektisen me’ and a little further on it is a question of the generation (gennao) of Wisdom. Likewise Col. 1, 15 calls Christ the first-born of all ktisis, thus including Him in the ktisis. That is why these words do not have for Origen the strict meaning of creating: from Gen. 1-2, following the Septuagint, poiein denotes the creation of spiritual natures and plassein that of material ones. So ktizein applies to all God's production, by GENERATION or by creation." The series ktisma/poiema/plasma is found expressly with this sense in the Commentary on John. This usage of Origen's is also found in the letter of Pope Dionysius about Dionysius of Alexandria, in ‘the affair of the two Dionysii’: ‘The expression ektisen, as you well know, does not have A SINGLE SENSE’. The Arian quarrel will necessitate a stricter terminology. Because of this Ante-Nicene vocabulary, not suited to the more rigid theology to which reaction to Arianism would give rise, Origen would be accused by Epiphanius and by Jerome of making creatures of the Son and the Holy Spirit, IN SPITE OF MANY CLEAR AND INDISPUTABLE TEXTS." (Ibid., pp. 174-175)

Crouzel next comments on Origen's view of the Trinity and the Incarnation:

Origen scholars sometimes say that with him the fundamental distinction is not, as in the biblical tradition, between the Creator and the creature but, following the Platonist schemes, between the intelligible or spiritual world and the perceptible or material world. The second statement is not false but the first is. There is indeed, as several passages of the Treatise on First Principles show, a radical contrast between the deity and the rational creatures, the difference between ‘substantiality’ in the former and ‘accidentality’ in the latter. Although the Son and the Spirit have received all that they are from the Father, who is the origin of the deity and of the universe, they possess it as their own and perfectly, without possibility of increase or decrease. The rational creature on the other hand always partakes of the good things of the deity in an imperfect manner, and his share in them can increase or decrease in accordance with the movements of his own free will; it is thus precarious although progress in charity brings about progress towards immutability. This substantiality in all that the three Persons possess, which extends even to the human soul which the Word took on himself - although endowed like the other souls with free will, it is by its participation in the Word absolutely impeccable - distinguishes them clearly FROM THE CREATURES and establishes an equality between them which is not incompatible with there being hierarchy within the Trinity.

In a passage of the Commentary on John which has given rise to scandal, Origen remarks that in John 1, 1 ‘the God - Ho Theos’ stands for the Father, while the Son is called ‘Theos - God’ without the article. ‘The God’ is in a way the proper name of the Father, source and origin of the Deity. In the case of the son, ‘Theos’ is adjectival, it denotes the divinity that the Son receives from the Father. Karl Rahner has shown that these explanations are strictly in accordance with the New Testament: ‘There are in all six passages in which the predicate "Theos" is used to express the fact that the Christ has the divine nature. It is not without interest to note that in all these passages the word "Theos" taken absolutely, without any adjective, is never used with the article when it stands for Christ.’ But a considerable number of texts in the New Testament affirm the divinity of Christ by recourse to other expressions. In any case in Origen the term ‘Ho Theos’ without any qualification is normally applied to the Father. (pp. 181-182)

... The incorporeal character of the Father has an important place in this: the same incorporeality is true also of the other two Persons, with the exception of course of the Incarnation of the Son: in several places the Treatise on First Principles affirms that only the Trinity IS ABSOLUTELY INCORPOREAL, the rational creatures, though incorporeal as souls, being always united to a body, terrestrial or ethereal, even the angels and demons ... God is likewise incomprehensible, known only through his works. God is an absolutely simple intellectual nature, whose simplicity is expressed by Greek terms in Rufinus's [sic] Latin ‘monad’ from monos, alone, and ‘henad’ from heis, one. As a purely intellectual nature God IS NOT IN A PLACE and, strictly speaking, terms which only apply to a body, such as ‘size’, CANNOT BE APPLIED TO HIM ... (p. 183)

Of course, God acts in the world, as we shall see, through the intermediary agency of his Son and his Spirit. But Origen is very far from the idea of a ‘lazy God’ towards which certain tendencies in Greek philosophy were moving as they exaggerated God's impassibility. For through the Son, his minister, and through the Spirit, it is He who acts. From Him in some way emerge the decisions about the Trinity's actions, He is the centre of that unity of will which guides the activity of the three Persons. His role is primordial, as much in the internal operations of the Trinity, the generation of the Son and the procession of the Spirit, as in the creation, Providence, the divinisation of the rational creatures, and the last things. All that will be studied in connection with the Son, the Father's minister and collaborator. Here we simply say this. In the manner of the generation of the Son it is necessary to guard against a dilemma arising from our anthropomorphisms. If the divine freedom is imagined after the pattern of human freedom, then either one must say that the Father begets his Son freely, from which the conclusion is that the Son might not have been, or one must deny that He begets his Son freely and that is no more and no less than to take away his divinity by imposing on Him a necessity that governs Him. Origen did not fall into that trap. On the one hand he writes of the Son ‘born of Him (=the Father) as a will of his, proceeding from his intelligence’ thus: ‘I think that the will of the Father must suffice to make what the Father wills come to pass.’ ‘It is the goodness of the Father which is the source from which the Son is born and from which the Spirit proceeds.’ The generation of the Son is thus on the Father's part a free act. But this free act can also be said to be necessary, for with God freedom and necessity coincide. God is the Father from all eternity, for there is no change in Him: therefore He begets the Son FROM ALL ETERNITY. (pp. 184-185)

After quoting Origen's view regarding the Incarnation, Crouzel notes:

These are the words of Origen reproducing in the Preface to the Treatise on First Principles the rule of faith of his time about Christ. We have seen above the reasons why Jerome substituted factus for the natus of Rufinus. This exposition is aimed at several contemporary heresies: at modalism and adoptionism and also, by statement that his body is like our body, that he was born and suffered in truth and not in appearance, at docetism which at that time was mostly found among the Gnostics. Note also his insistence on the fact that ‘having become man, he remained what he was, God’. His kenosis DID NOT PUT AN END TO HIS DIVINE CHARACTER. To what contemporary heresy is that addressed? It is difficult to say.

Many times over Origen, starting from Scripture, meditated on the ineffable mystery of the generation of the Son by the Father. Because of the Stoic materialism that was infiltrating the ‘simple’ of the Great Church and affecting even so important a theologian as Tertullian, he wanted to rule out any bodily connotation. The Son is begotten by the Father as the reflection is by the light, as the will proceeds from the intellect, or as the word is emitted by the intellect. Origen applies to this generation the titles given to Wisdom in the Book of Wisdom, ‘a breath of the radiance of his eternal light, the stainless mirror of the activity of God and the image of his goodness’. Likewise those of Col. 1, 15: ‘The image of the invisible God, the first-born of all ktisis’, a term which does not express for him, as we have said, creation only, but is applied to everything that comes from God. Or indeed in Heb. 1, 3, ‘the effulgence of his glory and the very image of his substance’. CONTRARY TO WHAT ARIANISM WAS TO SAY, THE ETERNITY OF THIS GENERATION IS CLEARLY AFFIRMED, for it is inconceivable that the Father ever existed without his wisdom, his Reason, his Word, all expressions which, as we have seen, DENOTE THE SON. Nor did the Father begin to be Father, as if He had not been so before, since all change in God is inconceivable. TWICE in the Treatise on First Principles and ONCE in the Commentary on the Epistles to the Romans we find the famous sentence that was to be used AGAINST THE ARIANS: ‘ouk en hoti ouk en- There was not when He (the Son) was not’. THESE ARE NOT, as has sometimes been thought, ADDITIONS BY THE TRANSLATOR RUFINUS, for the second text from the Treatise on First Principles is quoted in Greek by Athanasius and explicitly attributed by him to Origen with the formulation that we have reproduced.

Eternal generation but also continuous generation: the Father is begetting the Son at each instant, just as light is always emitting its radiance. By eternity and continuity Origen expresses eternity conceived as a unique instant of which he has not a very clear notion. The words aion and aionios denote for him sometimes a very long time, sometimes a duration without beginning or end. The generation of the Son is identified with ‘the uninterrupted contemplation of the profundities of the Father’ who is making the Son of God or in other words, the Son is constantly ‘fed’ by the Father who communicates to Him at every instant his own divinity. Numerous texts, using all kinds of images, in forms that are dynamic rather than ontological, compel recognition that Origen is expressing THE EQUIVALENT OF THE NICENE homoousios. His attacks on the Valentinian probole or prolatio, which he tells us, made the divine generation like human or animal generation, involving separation of the begotten from the begetter, were not simply occasioned by the fact that that would implicitly imply a bodily process, but also by the fact that these ways of looking at the matter mean that the begotten comes out of the begetter, becomes external to him. Now the Son does not come out of the Father: he dwells in the Father and the Father in the Son, even in the Incarnation when the Son is at the same time on earth with his human soul. Everything that belongs to the Father belongs to the Son, and everything that belongs to the Son belongs to the Father: Father and Son are subjects and objects of the some [sic] love. The Son is an effulgence of all the glory of God, the only one who can fulfill all the Father's will. As He is the image of God, He is ‘of the same dimensions’ as Him. Father and Son are a SINGLE and IDENTICAL ALMIGHTINESS. That is confirmed with the greatest clarity in the Address of Thanks of Thaumaturgus, reproducing the teaching he received: the Father ‘made the Son one with Him’ and ‘so to speak wraps Himself up in Him by the power of the Son which is EQUAL to his own’.

Of course, Origen cannot express himself in the very terms of Nicaea, for ousia and hypostasis have not sufficiently precise meanings for him and he does not present the problem in an ontological way. Some texts seem clumsy to us because the question of the equality of the Father and the Son does not arise for him with clarity shown in the anti-Arian reaction after Nicaea and still more after Constantinople, and also because we read texts AND PROJECT A LATER THEOLOGY ONTO THEM, without understanding the precise point that he was trying to make. The ‘subordination’ of the Son to the Father DOES NOT BRING INTO QUESTION EITHER IDENTITY OF NATURE OR EQUALITY OF POWER. The Son is BOTH subordinate and EQUAL to the Father, a double affirmation that can be found again AFTER Nicaea in Athanasius and Hilary themselves. The subordination arises in the first place from the fact that the Father is Father, origin of the two other Persons and initiator of the Trinity. The latter role concerns the ‘economy’: the word oikonomia, the Latin equivalent of which is generally dispensatio denotes the activity of the Trinity externally, in the Creation and in the Incarnation-Redemption. The Father gives the orders, the Son and the Spirit receives them and are the envoys, the agents ad extra of the Trinity, each for his own part. If the Father is the center of decision, the Son and the Spirit are not mere executants of the paternal will, for while the Father's initiative is often emphasized, so is the unity of will and of action on the part of the Three Persons. Thus the subordination of the Son and the Spirit is closely linked to their ‘divine missions’. The mediating role of the Son in his divinity even rebounds in some measure onto his inner being, for if the Father is absolutely One, the Son, One in his hypostasis, is multiple in his titles, his epinoiai. That is the third reason for the ‘subordinationism’ and if on this point the relationship of Origen with Plotinus, probably through their common master, Ammonius Saccas, is clear, Origen's equivalences based on the unity of their nature must not be forgotten. When one speaks of Origen's ‘subordinationism’ it is easy to forget that it is a quite equivocal notion: as Marcus's [sic] book has shown, IT IS WRONG TO CONFUSE THE SUBORDINATIONISM OF THE ANTE-NICENES WITH THAT OF THE ARIANS. (pp. 186-188)

... The principle epinoia, the ‘most ancient’, by a priority of logic not of time, is Wisdom: according to Prov. 8, 22, he is the ‘beginning’ in which according to John 1, 1 the Logos is found: ‘In the beginning was the Logos.’ Wisdom contains in herself the Intelligible World in which are the ‘ideas’ in the Platonic and the general sense, as well as the Stoic ‘reasons’, taken in an individual sense, that is for Origen the plans of creation and the seeds of the beings: ‘ideas’ and ‘reasons’ have been confused since the Middle Stoicism of Poseidonius. The Intelligible World, present in the Son in that He is Wisdom, was created by the Father in the ETERNAL GENERATION of the Son: it constitutes that creation co-eternal with God which Origen affirmed and which caused so much scandal after the De Creatis of Methodius. (p. 189)

The second epinoia of the Son, in order of importance, is that of the Logos, in both senses of the Greek word: Word, brought out by the biblical and Johannine tradition, and Reason, flowing from the philosophical tradition of Heraclitus and the Stoics, but meaning in Origen the ETERNAL and supernatural Reason of God ...

Creation, like Providence, is the work of the Trinity. Origen reads this in Col. 1, 15: ‘For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through (dia) him and for (eis) him.’ Likewise Psalm 32 (33), 6, rendered thus by the Septuagint: ‘By the Word (logo) of the Lord the heavens have been established and by the breath (Or the Spirit, pneumati) of his mouth all their power.’ The Son thus assumes two of the roles distinguished by Plato in the Timaeus: as Wisdom, as the Intelligible World of the ‘ideas’ and the ‘reasons’. He is the model in conformity with which the world was created; as Logos He is the intelligent instrument, the Father's collaborator in the Creation, for He expresses the ‘ideas’ and the ‘reasons’ which are in Wisdom to make individual beings. But for Origen there is not one part of the creation that is the work of the Father and another part which is the work of the Son: ‘The Gospel does not say that the Son made similar works, but that He made the SAME works SIMILARLY.’

This double role, of model and agent, is seen again in the creation of man, ‘after the image’. Strictly speaking, the Son alone is the Image of God, man was created ‘after the image’, that is to say ‘after’ the Son. The famous plural of Gen. 1:26: ‘Let us make man after our image and likeness’ is explained, AS IN MANY ANCIENT FATHERS, as a conversation between the Father and the Son and the Father says to the Son something like: ‘Let us both make man after my image which Thou art.’ In the creation of man ‘after the image’ the Son is both the model, in that He is the Image of the Father, and the agent with the Father. (pp. 190-191)

So the Christ-man exists in the pre-existence, long before the Incarnation, and has quite a history before that event ... However, the Christ did not abandon His fallen Bride. In the days of the Old Testament, when the Church is indistinguishable from ancient Israel, He sends her patriarchs and prophets to prepare for his coming and these are, with the angels, the ‘friends of the Bridegroom’ so frequently mentioned in the Commentary on the Song of Songs. He himself visits the Church from time to time, since, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DOCTRINE GENERALLY HELD BY THE ANTE-NICENES, the theophanies described in the Old Scriptures are appearances OF THE SON, agent of the Trinity ad extra. In some of these appearances, for example the one to Abraham at the Oak of Mamre and the other one when He prevents the sacrifice of Isaac, the wrestling with Jacob, the appearance to Moses in the Burning Bush, it is a man or an angel who is seen and subsequently revealed as being God. It is in this context that Origen declares that the Christ made Himself man among men, angel among angels ... (pp. 192-193)

Here are Crouzel's statements regarding Origen's view of the Holy Spirit:

Before that date [360] the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, not having been called in question, had not taken up much space in patristic literature and questions about the Trinity seemed to be limited to the dual relationship of the Father and the Son rather than to extend to the triple one of the three Persons. Some would be tempted to say that reflection on the Holy Spirit was at that time non-existent: but that would certainly be a mistake, the same mistake that a historian of the 21st century would make if he attempted to write the history of the period in the 20th century relying solely and uncritically on newspapers that favoured the sensational at the expense of the ordinary facts of everyday life. What the Church holds as an undisputed possession takes up much less space in theological literature than that which is attacked and must be defended: the doctrine of the Holy Spirit before 360 is a good illustration of this. In spite of problems arising from certain passages in the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists the personality of the Holy Spirit and his Divinity are demonstrated by the numerous instances in which the three Persons are named one after the other: The Spirit's roles as inspirer of Scripture and the Church, and as sanctifier of souls, are likewise emphasised. Irenaeus offers in a few words a fairly complete doctrine. The personality and divinity of the Spirit are presupposed there also in trinitarian formulae and in those which place Him in parallel with the Son. The Spirit and the Son shared in the creation AS THE TWO HANDS OF THE FATHER. Both are inspirers of Scripture without their functions being clearly distinguished. The Spirit also played a part in the incarnation of the Son and follows up that incarnation in the Church; before all else He is the One who sanctifies, gives life, confers the spiritual gifts, effects our adoption as sons; that is the proper task of the Spirit. But Irenaeus says nothing of the way in which the Spirit proceeds from the Father.

In the preface to the Treatise on First Principles Origen expounds the points that were clear in the rule of his time:

(The Apostles) delivered that the Holy Spirit is associated with the Father and with the Son IN HONOUR AND DIGNITY. As far as He is concerned, it is not clear whether He is born or not born, whether He is to be considered as Son of God or not. But all that is to be enquired into, using the best of our power from holy scripture, inquiring with wisdom and diligence. It is, however, certainly taught with the utmost clearness in the Church, that the Spirit inspired each one of the saints, both the prophets and the apostles, and that there was not one spirit in the men of old and another in those who were inspired at the coming of Christ.

That the Holy Spirit is associated with the Father and the Son in honour and dignity implies that He is like them A PERSON AND THAT HE IS GOD, although this last term is not explicitly used of Him. But he possesses the same ‘substantiality as the other two:

But to be stainless is a quality which belongs essentially (substantialiter) to none except the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; for holiness is in every created being and accidental quality, and what is accidental may also be lost.

So the Spirit IS NOT A CREATURE. Belonging to the Trinity, He possesses the absolute incorporeality that is the privilege of the Trinity alone: He is indeed explicitly mentioned after the Father and the Son in two of the three passages in the Treatise on the First Principles which affirms that, the third of which uses according to Rufinus the word Trinity, a rare term in the Greek writings of Origen BUT NEVERTHELESS ATTESTED. (pp. 198-199)

... In this connection the Holy Spirit is called a subsistentia, an expression which means in Rufinus's [sic] Latin an individual substance, an individual being, as distinct from substantia which has a general sense, as the translator himself explains in the first book that he added to his translation of Eusebius's [sic] Ecclesiastical History. The same statement that the Holy Spirit is a subsistentia is found in an earlier passage: ‘The Holy Spirit is an intellectual being (subsistentia) and exists with an existence of his own (proprie subsistit et extat)’. As Origen has not got a word to express person other than hypostasis or ousia, the fact that the Spirit is person is thus clearly stated, at least through Rufinus, by the expression subsistentia intellectualis. Origen goes on to reproduce texts from both Testaments speaking of the Holy Spirit, notably the gift of the Holy Spirit by the apostles after baptism by the laying of the hands. The baptismal formula invoking the three persons shows ‘the great authority and dignity which the Holy Spirit has as a substantial being’ and so does even more the text about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which will not be remitted, while blasphemy against the Son may be.

Origen did not find it stated in the rule of faith whether the Holy Spirit was born or not born, whether He was a Son or not, BUT NEITHER DID HE FIND IT STATED IN THE SCRIPTURES THAT HE WAS MADE OR CREATED. It did not escape him that the word Spirit is often used in the Bible, SOMETIMES EVEN TO DENOTE THE NATURE OF GOD ... In communicating the knowledge of God to men and to angels the three Persons work together: ‘All knowledge coming from the Father through the revelation of the Son is known in the Holy Spirit’. So the Spirit is, as it were, the spiritual ‘milieu’ in which the knowledge is produced. And the Spirit knows the Father for He it is that gazes on the profundities of God ... (pp. 198-200)

Next Origen speaks, as we have seen, of the trinitarian appropriations, attributing to the Father the gift of being, to the Son the gift of rationality, to the Spirit the gift of sanctity ...

Another important passage about the Holy Spirit is to be found in the Commentary of John. Its starting point is in John 1, 3: ‘All things were made by him (= the Word)’. Three opinions are then put forward: either the Holy Spirit owes his existence to the Word, being included in these ‘all things’; or He does not so owe it, being without origin; or He has not really an existence of his own (ousia idia) different from that of the Father and the Son: this last solution is modalist, and Origen embraces the first one. So there are three subsistant realities (hypostases, identical with ousia idia), the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and - this is his answer to the second hypothesis - only the Father is without origin. The Spirit is then the highest of the beings that come from the Father by the Son: that is why He is not called a Son. Only the Son is son by nature and the Holy Spirit needs the intermediary function of the Son to subsist individually, and also to be wise, intelligent, just and all that He is and share in all the epinoiai of the Son. One cannot make of the word egeneto in John 1, 3 (‘was made’) a pretext for claiming that the Spirit is for Origen a creature: that would be to forget what we have said above about the interchangeability before Nicaea of the verbs gignomai and gennao as well as their derivatives with one n or two, to signify creation or generation.

At first sight this passage seems to contradict a text from the Treatise on First Principles of which we have not yet spoken. Origen rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit knows because the Son reveals: but the reason for this rejection is that it suggests a Holy Spirit that passes from ignorance to knowledge. It would be stupid to call Him Holy Spirit and to attribute to Him, even for a moment, any ignorance; or to say that He was not previously the Holy Spirit but became such by progress. In that case He would not have been included in the unity of the Trinity with the Father and the Son. In fact He was always the Holy Spirit.

It is perfectly possible to reconcile these two passages. The point of the second is that the Holy Spirit IS SUCH FROM ALL ETERNITY and did not begin to be such nor to posses the knowledge of it. But that is compatible with the statement of the other passages: the Holy Spirit derives his existence, his knowledge and everything that He is from the Father by the Son. THAT IS FROM ALL ETERNITY, LIKE THE GENERATION OF THE SON AND THERE HAS NEVER BEEN ANY CHANGE IN HIM. We are clearly dealing here with the divine act that gives Him his existence and not simply with his manifestation to men with the ‘economy’. (pp. 201-202)

Crouzel concludes his section on the Trinity with the following comments:

We explained above the subordinationism for which Origen was blamed, which is also found in the other Ante-Nicenes, by showing that it was not in contradiction with orthodoxy BECAUSE IT DID NOT EXPRESS AN INEQUALITY OF POWER - the Father communicates to the Son and the Son to the Spirit all that they are except the fact of being Father or Son - but rather expresses realities which orthodoxy of necessity recognizes, origin and mediation. We have indeed spoken of clumsy texts, but these are in fact very few. The most troublesome is the following: ‘We say that the Saviour and the Holy Spirit exceed all creatures without possible comparison, in a wholly transcendent way but that they are exceeded by the Father by as much or even more than they exceed the other beings, and not the first comers.’ Origen is here opposing those who exaggerate the honour paid to the Son, ignoring John 14, 28 ‘The Father is greater than I’, an expression which Origen takes of the Word and not of the God-Man, as certain post-Nicenes like Hilary of Poitiers will also do. It is explicitly a matter of ‘glory’ (doxa) and not of power. If the Father exceeds the two others in glory, it is because He is their Father, and the Alexandrian finds the justification for this in John 14, 28. Of course later orthodoxy would not express it like that, it would avoid anything that could express a superiority of the Father over the other two: this subordinationism is, however, OF A TOTALLY DIFFERENT KIND FROM THAT OF THE ARIANS and when this word is used ATTENTION MUST BE PAID TO ITS DIFFERENT MEANINGS, or else we shall cast into heresy the whole Church of the martyrs, for virtually all the Fathers of that period can be accused of subordinationism.

Except for the application to Christ's humanity of the pre-existence of souls which we are now going to study more completely as we deal with the origins of humanity, Origen's doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation constitutes, IF IT IS READ IN ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT, a clear advance on previous times. Some have seen in Origen ‘the common ancestor of the Arian heresy and of the Cappadocian orthodoxy’ which overcame Arianism. That is a striking formula, brilliant and paradoxical, to be sure. But if Origen had an influence on Arius - and influences from the school of Antioch bore on the heresiarch also, coming from his teacher Lucian of Antioch and through him from Paul of Samosata - that influence came from misunderstood fragments of Origen, NOT FROM HIS DOCTRINES AS A WHOLE. (pp. 203-204)

David W. Bercot concurs with Crouzel's assessment regarding the Ante-Nicene Fathers' use of the word ktizein in relation to the generation of the Son, as well as their Trinitarian views. In his A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs, Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts, 1998, Bercot writes:

E. Begotten, not made

When the student of the Nicene Creed comes to the phrase "Begotten, not made," it often appears that here there is a divergence between the Creed and the pre-Nicene church. There is, however, actually no difference in belief. There is only a difference in phraseology. The Nicene Creed affirms that the Son of God was begotten; he was not made or created out of nothing. The pre-Nicene church firmly believed this.

Orthodoxy in the pre-Nicene church, however, focused on right concepts - not on using this word instead of that word. As Origen expressed it: "Let everyone, then, who cares for truth not be concerned about words and language. For in every nation there prevails a different usage of speech. Rather, let him direct his attention to the meaning conveyed by the words (rather than to the nature of the words that convey the meaning), especially in manners of such importance and difficulty" (ANF 4,376). From the writings of the pre-Nicene Christians, it is quite apparent that many of them used "begotten" [Gr. gennetos] and "created" [Gr. genetos and ktizein] as interchangeable terms. This was partially based on usage in Scripture. In describing the generation of Wisdom (which the pre-Nicene church universally understood to be referring to the generation of the Son), the eighth chapter of Proverbs in the Septuagint uses the term "create" [Gr. ektisen]. But in using the term ktizein, neither Scripture nor the pre-Nicene writers meant that the Son was made or created out of nothing. Rather, they understood ktizein to have a broad meaning that encompasses both "beget" and "create." This becomes quite clear when a person READS THE TOTALITY OF WHAT EACH WRITER SAYS. (p. 109; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Bercot goes on to make the following comments regarding Origen:

V. Origen's understanding of the Son

It has become quite commonplace today for Origen to be singled out among pre-Nicene writers as holding heterodox views of the Son. This is quite unjust, as Origen's teachings on the Son are essentially the same as the rest of the early church. This can clearly be seen from the many preceding quotations from Origen, which show that he held to a Nicene understanding of the deity of the Son. Of course, like the rest of the early Christians, Origen can be SELECTIVELY quoted to make him appear either Arian, Monarchian, or anything else that is desired. One of the quotations that has often been misunderstood and misquoted is the following passage:

We next notice that John's use of the article in these sentences [John 1:1]. He does not write without care in this respect. Nor is he unfamiliar with the subtleties of the Greek language. In some cases, he omits it. He adds the article before the word "Logos." But to the name, "God," he adds it only sometimes. That is, he uses the article when the word, "God," refers to the uncreated cause of all things [i.e., the Father]. But he omits it when the Logos is called "God." Origen (c. 228, E), 9.323.

There are many persons who are sincerely concerned about religion and who here fall into great perplexity. They are afraid that they may be proclaiming two Gods. As a result, their fear drives them into doctrines that are false and wicked. They sometimes deny that the Son has a distinct nature of His own, besides that of the Father. They thereby make Him whom they call the Son to be the God, all but in name. Or else, they deny the divinity of the Son - giving Him a separate existence of His own and making His sphere of essence fall outside that of the Father, so that they are separable from each other. To such persons we have to say that the God on the one hand is Autotheos [God of Himself]. For that reason, the Savior says in his prayer to the Father, "That they may know you, the only true God." But all other Persons beyond this Autotheos are made Divine [Gr. theos] by participation in His divinity. They are not to be simply called "the God" [Gr. ho theos], but rather, "God" [or "Divine" [Gr. theos]. Origen (c. 228, E), 9.323.

Furthermore, preceding the first passage quoted above, Origen had already stated:

The Word was always with the Father. And so it is said, "And the Word was with God." ... He was in the beginning at the same time when He was with God - neither being separated from the beginning, nor bereft of His Father. And again, neither did He come to be in the beginning after He had not been in it. Nor did He come to be with God after not having been with him. For BEFORE ALL TIME AND THE REMOTEST AGE, the Word was in the beginning, and the Word was with God. Origen (c. 228, E), 9.322.

So in no sense can Origen be accused of holding to an Arian understanding of the Son. The passage that follows is sometimes also misunderstood in an Arian sense:

The Son of God, "the First-Born of all creation," although He seemed recently to have become incarnate, is not by any means recent on account of that. For the Holy Scriptures know Him to be the most ancient of all the works of creation. For it was to Him that God said regarding the creation of man, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Origen (c. 248, E), 4.560.

Again, we must remember (as discussed above under 11.E. "Begotten, not made") that most of the pre-Nicene writers used "begotten" [Gr. gennetos] and "created" [Gr. ktizein] interchangeably as synonyms. When Origen refers to the Son as a "work of creation," he does not mean it in the sense of the Son's being created out of nothing. He means in the sense of begetting. As quoted above, Origen distinctly says that "the Word was always with the Father." The following passage shows that Origen was not including the Son among those things that were created out of nothing:

The Word of God, knowing the Father, reveals the Father whom He knows. And NO CREATED BEING can approach the Father without a guide. For no one knows the Father except the Son and he to whomever the Son reveals Him. Origen (c. 228, E), 9.320. (Ibid., pp. 127-128; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Hence, we find that much like in the past modern heretics and others are also guilty of reading their own misunderstandings and definitions into the words of Origen. They fail to allow the entire context of Origen's works to define what Origen meant when using specific terms.

Bercot provides the following citations from Origen in order to demonstrate the latter's orthodox Christology. All bold and capital emphasis ours:

The Canaanite woman came and worshiped Him as God, saying, "Lord help me." Origen (c. 245, E), 9.446. (p. 98)

He is perceived as being the Word, for He was GOD in the beginning with God. He reveals the Father. Origen (c. 245, E), 9.452. (Ibid.)

Every prayer, supplication, intercession, and thanksgiving is to be sent up to the Supreme God through the High Priest - the living Word and God, who is above all angels. And to the Word himself will we also pray, make intercessions, and offer thanksgiving. Origen (c. 248, E), 4.544. (Ibid.)

Let him, then, who assigns a beginning to the Word or Wisdom of God take care that he is not guilty of impiety against the unbegotten Father himself. For he denies that He had always been a Father, or had always generated the Word, or had possessed Wisdom in all preceding periods, whether they be called times or ages. Origen (c. 225, E), 4.246, 247. (p. 105)

The Father generates an UNCREATED SON and brings forth a Holy Spirit - NOT AS IF HE HAD NO PREVIOUS EXISTENCE, but because the Father is the origin and source of the Son or the Holy Spirit. Origen (c. 225, E), 4.270. (Ibid.)

The Word was not made in the beginning. There was NO TIME when the beginning was devoid of the Word. For that reason it is said, "In the beginning was the Word." Origen (c. 228, E), 9.334. (p. 106)

The Word that was in the beginning with God (WHO IS ALSO VERY GOD) may come to us. Origen (c. 248, E), 4.499. (p. 108)

According to John, "God is light." The Only-Begotten Son, therefore, is the glory of this light. He proceeds INSEPARABLY from the [God] Himself, as brightness proceeds from light, illuminating the whole creation. Origen (c. 225, E), 4.248. (p. 109)

The Savior is here called simply "Light." But in the catholic Epistle of this same John, we read that God is Light. This, it has been maintained, furnishes further proof that the Son is not different from the Father IN SUBSTANCE. Origen (c. 228, E), 9.336. (Ibid.)

Whatever is a property of physical bodies cannot be attributed to either the Father or the Son. What belongs to the nature of deity is common to the Father and Son. Origen (c. 225, E), 4.245. (p. 112)

It is an attribute of the divine nature ALONE - of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - to exist without any material substance, and without partaking in any way with an adjoining body ... Origen (c. 225, E), 4.262. (Ibid.)

Christ is, in a manner, THE CREATOR, to whom the Father says, "Let there be light." Origen (c. 228, E), 9.307. (p. 113)

The following citations are taken from The Classics of Western Spirituality: Origen - An Exhortation To Martyrdom, Prayer And Selected Works, Paulist Press, 1979. All bold and capital emphasis ours:

As well, my Hebrew teacher used to impart the following tradition. With regard to the fact that neither the beginning nor the end of all things can be understood by anyone, unless only by the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit, he used to say that Isaiah by the type of his vision had spoken of two seraphim alone who with two wings cover the face of God, with two wings His feet, and with two wings fly, crying to one another and saying, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Sabaoth, the whole earth is full of your glory" (Is. 6:2-3). Thus, because the two seraphim alone have their wings over God's face and His feet, we must dare to say that not even the nations, principalities, and powers (cf. Col. 1:16) can correctly know the beginning of everything and the ends of the universe. But we must understand that those holy beings whom we have listed are spirits and powers near the first principles themselves and touch upon them to a degree the others are not strong enough to attain. Nevertheless, whatever those powers say by the revelation of the Son and the Holy Spirit, and however many truths they have been able to overtake, the higher much more than the powers below them, it is impossible for them to understand everything, since it is written, "Most of God's works are concealed" (Sir. 16:21). (pp. 203-204)

... The Greeks call it asomaton, that is, "incorporeal"; but the divine Scriptures use the word ‘invisible,’ since the Apostle proclaims that God is ‘invisible’ and says that Christ is ‘the image of the invisible God.’ Moreover, he says further that through Christ "all things, visible and invisible, were created" (Col. 1:15-16). By this is made clear that even among creatures there are some that are "invisible" substances by their own properties. But although they are not corporeal, they nevertheless make use of bodies, though they are themselves better than corporeal substances. But THE SUBSTANCE OF THE TRINITY, which is the first principle and cause of everything, from which are all things (Rom. 11:36), must not be believed to be a body or to exist in a body, but to be completely incorporeal. (p. 204)

1. The time has now come in our discussion to sum up one by one, so far as we are able, the subjects we have treated and that we have discussed in a scattered way, and first of all to repeat what we have said about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since God the Father is invisible and inseparable from the Son, the Son is not generated by a production from Him, as some think. For if the Son is a production of the Father and production is defined as the sort of generation by which the offspring of animals or of men are accustomed to come into existence, then necessarily both He who produces and He who is produced will be bodies. For we do not say, as the heretics suppose, that any part of God's substance has been turned into the Son, or that the Son has been generated from the Father from no substance at all, that is, OUTSIDE HIS OWN SUBSTANCE, SO THAT THERE WAS A TIME WHEN HE WAS NOT. But we remove all notion of corporeality and say that the Word and Wisdom is generated from the invisible and incorporeal God apart from any corporeal passion, as will proceeds from mind. Nor will it seem absurd if it is thought of by the analogy of will, since He is said to be "the Son of His Love" (Col. 1:13). Moreover, John points out that "God is light" (1 John 1:5), and Paul points out that the Son is "the splendor of eternal light" (cf. Heb. 1:3). Therefore, just as light can never exist without splendor, SO NEITHER CAN THE SON, who is said to be "the express stamp of His substance" (Heb. 1:3) and His Word and Wisdom, ever be understood without the Father. Therefore, how can it be said THAT THERE WAS A TIME WHEN THE SON WAS NOT? For that would be no different from saying that there was a time when truth was not, when wisdom was not, when life was not, since it should be judged that the substance of God the Father involves all of these things. They cannot be separated from Him, nor can they ever be cut off from His substance. And what are said to be many by intellectual apprehension, nevertheless are one in fact and in substance; and in them there exists the fullness of Godhead (cf. Col. 2:9). (pp. 205-206)

But what we have said, that there never was a time when He was not, must be taken with qualification. For the very words "when" and "never" bear a meaning implying the notion of time. But what is said about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit must be understood ABOVE ALL TIME, ABOVE ALL AGES, AND ABOVE ALL ETERNITY. For that only is the Trinity which surpasses every sense of our understanding, not only temporal BUT ALSO ETERNAL. It is other things that are outside the Trinity that must be measured in ages and times. Therefore, as to the Son of God, because He is the Word WHO IS GOD and who was in the beginning with God (Jn. 1:1-2), no one will rightly think that He is contained in any place, nor will he draw that conclusion because He is wisdom or because He is truth or because He is life or righteousness or sanctification or redemption. None of these things require a place to be able to do something or to act, but they must be understood individually, when they refer to those who partake of the Word's power and operation. (p. 206)

2. But perhaps someone will say that through those who are participants (cf. Heb. 3:14) in God's Word or His Wisdom or truth or life the Word and Wisdom appears Himself to be in a place. The answer must be given that there is no doubt that Christ insofar as He is Word and Wisdom and all the rest was in Paul, because of which he said, "Or do you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me?" (2 Cor. 13:3). And again, "But it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20). Then, therefore, since He was in Paul, who will doubt that He was likewise in Peter, in John, and in each one of the saints, and not only in those on earth but also in those in the heavens? For it is absurd to say that Christ was in Peter and in Paul, but not in Michael the Archangel and in Gabriel. From this it is clearly discovered that the divinity of the Son of God was not confined to any place, since He was not so much in one as not to be in another. Rather, since He is not confined in any place because of the majesty of His incorporeal nature, He is further understood not to be absent from any place. (pp. 206-207)

3. Now that we have briefly repeated our account of the Trinity, we must go on in the same way to remind the reader that through the Son "all things" are said to be "created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers - all things were created through Him and in Him. He is before all things; in Him who is the head all things hold together" (Col. 1:16-18). John in his Gospel also agrees with this and says that "all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made" (Jn. 1:3). And David points out the mystery of the entire Trinity in the creation of everything when he says, "By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all their power by the Spirit of His mouth" (Ps. 33:6).

Next we shall properly call to mind the corporeal coming and incarnation of the Only Begotten Son of God. In it we must not take the view that the entire majesty of His divinity was shut up in the confines of one small body so that the entire Word of God and His Wisdom and substantial truth and life was cut off from the Father or forced within the small compass of that body and contained by it, and He should be thought active in no other way than this. Rather, the confession of our religion ought to be aware of two extremes, so that neither should any lack in the divinity of Christ be believed, nor should any division be supposed to have taken place from within the Father's substance, which is everywhere. And John the Baptist points to some such conclusion when in Jesus' corporeal absence he said to the crowds, "Among you stands one who you do not know, even He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie" (Jn. 1:26-27). John could not have said He stood in the midst of those among whom He was not corporeally present about Him who was absent so far as His corporeal presence was concerned. Thus, it is clear that the Son of God was both wholly present in the body and wholly present everywhere. (pp. 207-208)

But just as a person receives the adoption of sons by participation in the Son of God and is made wise by participation in God's Wisdom, so also he is made holy and spiritual by participation in the Holy Spirit. For it is one and the same thing to receive participation in the Holy Spirit as to receive it in the Father and the Son, since, of course, the nature of the Trinity IS ONE and incorporeal. And what we have said about the participation of the soul must be understood to apply to angels and heavenly powers, just as it does to souls, since every rational creature requires participation in the Trinity. (p. 210)

... Not only this, but since the nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, from whose intelligible light alone the entire creation draws participation, is itself incorruptible and ETERNAL, it certainly both follows and is necessary that every substance that draws participation from that ETERNAL NATURE also endures itself forever both incorruptible and eternal ... (p. 215)

... And although God knows everything and nothing related to intelligible things escapes His notice (for only God the Father with His Only Begotten Son and the Holy Spirit holds knowledge not only of what He created BUT ALSO OF HIMSELF) ... (p. 216)

Here is one final Christian source affirming that Origen was orthodox in his Trinitarian and Christological positions. All capital and underline emphasis ours:

The most noteworthy - and controversial - element of Origen's Trinitarianism is his doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son by the Father. However, it is not entirely new, for we saw that Irenaeus teaches it, too. However, it is central to Origen's view of the relation between the Father and the Son. He calls the Son "Wisdom." He does not imply by this that he is impersonal. Rather, he argues that God the Father NEVER EXISTED WITHOUT HIS WISDOM, which was ever a particular hypostasis or substantia (substance)... This generation is incomparable, for human generation is quite different. It does not happen by any outward act, but according to God's own nature AND ETERNALLY (not in time), having no beginning other than in God. There is no point at which the Son is nonexistent or the Father is without the Son. This distinguishes the Son from all creatures, which have a beginning as the result of an act of the Father's will. It follows that the generation of the Son is continuous; the Father communicates his divinity to the Son at every instant. (Robert Letham, The Holy Trinity In Scripture, History, Theology, and Worship [P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ 2004], pp. 102-103)

The Father and the Son have unity of nature and substance, and share one and the same omnipotence, for there is no unlikeness between them. Moreover, the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son. This points toward the later development of the doctrine of the mutual indwelling of the three persons in the one divine being.

What Origen says of the Son APPLIES ALSO, mutatis mutandis, TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. He finds no evidence in the Holy Scriptures that the Spirit was created. There is a distinct order in our knowledge of God, for it is by revelation out of the Son through the Holy Spirit. As the Son, "who alone knows the Father, reveals him to whom he will, so the Holy Spirit who alone searches the deep things of God, reveals God to whom he will." However, the Spirit does not know by revelation from the Son, for then he would pass from a state of ignorance to one of knowledge. Instead, he is one of the Trinity... So the Holy Spirit is ETERNALLY in the Trinity, and there is nothing in the Trinity that can be called greater or lesser. This is an important point, for it shows that for Origen the eternal begetting of the Son and also the position of the Spirit do not affect the place of either in the Trinity, nor diminish their status. These differences in their work - what will later be called appropriations - make no difference to their status. Their is no difference in the Trinity... (p. 104)

... He has a clear strand of thought in which the Son derives his deity from the Father... Neither the Son nor the Spirit is autotheos (God of himself), for they share in the Father's deity by derivation. Indeed, in one famous passage Origen says that while the Son and the Spirit are far greater than creatures, the Father surpasses them to an even greater degree. Yet, he refers to the Son and the Spirit having the same glory as the Father. Again, while he speaks of the Son as created (in a fragment carefully preserved by his enemies!), in the same breath he asserts THAT HE WAS NEVER NONEXISTENT. J. Rebecca Lyman concludes that while "his insistence on the uniqueness AND ETERNITY of the relation of the Father, Son, and Spirit PRECLUDES the extreme subordinationism sometimes attributed to him, the core of their unity remains the relation to the Father, the source of existence." ... (p. 106)

In defense of Origen, he did not equate derivation of substance with inferiority. That was for a later time. Nor, in his day, was there a clear distinction between derivation and creation. Confusion reigned about the meanings of created (genetos) and uncreated (agenetos), and begotten (gennetos) and unbegotten (agennetos). In this linguistic and conceptual mire, Origen makes a crucial distinction between God uncreated (agenetos), APPLICABLE TO ALL THREE PERSONS, and God unbegotten (agennetos), only to be said of the Father. In addition to this verbal similarity, a further problem is that Gnosticism and much Greek thought equated creation and generation - hence, the system of emanations of Valentinus. Origen, on the other hand, distinguishes them, enabling the Son's begottenness to be understood in the sphere of deity, so paving the way for greater clarity in the next century through Athanasius. Widdicombe observes that Origen's aim is to stress both the Son's real individual existence and also sharing of the Father's divine nature. He aims to keep a balance between these two fundamental ideas. (p. 107)

Some JW Apologists try to deny that Origen's Christology was essentially orthodox by undermining the very citations themselves. They claim that these citations are primarily found in Rufinus' Latin translations. Since Rufinus openly admitted suppressing some passages on the Trinity which he felt had been inserted by heretics, JWs therefore call into question whether Origen truly did believe in the essential Trinity. Yet, as our quotations from Crouzel demonstrated, many of the citations are extant in other ancient translations of Origen's works. These translations are not in dispute as Evangelical Apologist Robert Hommel points out:

2. Much has been made of the fact that large portions of Origen's writing is preserved only in Latin translations by Rufinus and Jerome. Rufinus, in his preface to the Treatise of First Principles, states that he suppressed some passages on the Trinity which he judged to be inserted by heretics. Jehovah's Witness apologists, when confronted by the quotations I have provided here often reply that we cannot be certain that they reflect Origen's beliefs, but rather are interpolations by Rufinus. First, this objection cannot be raised with regard to the Commentary on the Gospel of John or the Homily 9 on Jeremiah, since we possess the Greek text of the books quoted. The passages quoted from First Principles exist both in Rufinus' Latin and Athanasius' Greek. There is no evidence that these two witnesses are related; therefore, we have two independent sources suggesting that these quotes accurately reflect Origen's original words. As Henri Crouzel notes, Rufinus' translation suffers primarily from omissions, often arising from a desire to abridge or avoid repetition: "Comparisons of the texts in the Philocalia [containing about 1/7 of the Greek text of First Principles] with Rufinus' work yields on the whole a favorable result" (Crouzel, pp. 46-47). Any discrepancies between Rufinus' Latin and Origen's Greek would, then, seem to be in the area of omissions rather than interpolations, and the extent to which Rufinus altered the text has, perhaps, been exaggerated by some. Thus, we have several works, some preserved in Greek, others in Latin but corroborated by independent Greek witnesses, which demonstrate that Origen held the belief that the Son was of the same essence as the Father, co-eternal and uncreated. (Source; bold italic emphasis ours)

More importantly, these same anti-Trinitarian groups do not hesitate to use these very same writings when it serves their purpose of undermining the Trinity, or to show that Origen denied the Trinity. All of a sudden, when it is proven that these texts actually affirm the Trinity they then decide to call into question the veracity of these very same documents!

In light of this, the preceding citations should put to rest the false claim that Origen denied the essential Trinity or Christ's consubstantiality with the Father. Even though we could have quoted many other scholars, we feel that the preceding quotations sufficiently establish the point that Origen was clearly orthodox in his views of the Trinity. The problem arises when one tries to read one's own understanding into the writings of Origen, as opposed to allowing Origen to define himself.

We would like to conclude our paper by making the following qualification. Even though we have sought to defend Origen's orthodoxy in relation to his view of the Trinity, Origen is not an infallible source of information and his comments therefore do not hold final authority. The Holy Bible, God's inspired and infallible Word, holds ultimate authority and is the final court of appeal in determining Christian morality and doctrine. Origen is only right in so far as his comments agree and accurately represent the biblical teaching. When his views diverge from the clear and explicit biblical testimony then Origen is to be rejected. Unlike fallible men who constantly make mistakes, God's Word is perfect and contains no mistakes.

In the service of our eternal and Triune God of Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen. Come risen Lord Jesus so that you may be eternally magnified among your saints who eagerly await your return. We love you Lord of glory, for you are the eternal Son of the most High God.

Articles by Sam Shamoun
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