Thursday, May 23, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Numbers 33-34 and Origen's De Principiis: Book One: 8-9

Numbers 33 - Recounts in detail the route the Israelites take into the Promised Land and the division of that land: Egypt to Sinai (42 stations in all).

Sinai to Kadesh; then Mt. Hor to Ezion-geber; and finally, Ezion-geber to the Plains of Moab.   Moses tells the people when they enter the lands the Lord is giving them and destroy the stone figures and images of the people whose land they will be taking.  “[I]f you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them (33:55-56).

Numbers 34 - The boundaries of the land are to run on the south along the border of Edom and run up the east beginning at the Salt Sea.  The western boundary will be the Mediterranean, or Great Sea and on the north a line from the Great Sea to Mt. Hor and onward touching upon several other northern points not shown on the map.

Eleazar and Joshua are to divide the land among the tribes of Israel. The leaders of the tribes are named.

Origen (185-254 AD)
De Principiis (First Principles)
Book One
8 – For those who seek to be instructed by the Holy Scriptures, Origen points out what the Scripture says about how we are to understand the “nature of Christ. Citing Colossians 1:15, he quotes Paul saying “’He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature.’” The New Living Translation is even better for Origen’s purposes: “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.”

Origen insists it is not the “nature of God” that is visible in Christ. He would argue that God is simply not “visible” – not even to His only Begotten Son. There is a difference between being seen and being “known.” “It is one thing to see, and another to know: to see and to be seen is a property of bodies; to know and to be known, an attribute of intellectual being. Whatever, therefore, is a property of bodies, cannot be predicated wither of the Father or of the Son; but what belongs to the nature of deity is common to the Father and the Son. Finally, even He Himself, in the Gospel, did not say that no one has seen the Father, save the Son, nor any one the Son, save the Father; but His words are: ‘No one knoweth the Son, save the Father; nor any one the Father, save the Son.’”

9 – “Here, if anyone lay before us the passage where it is said, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God,’ from that very passage, in my opinion, will our position derive additional strength; for what else is seeing God in heart, but, according to our exposition as above, understanding and knowing Him with the mind? For the names of the organs of sense are frequently applied to the soul, so that it may be said to see with the eyes of the heart, i.e., to perform an intellectual act by means of the power of intelligence.”

“By this divine sense, therefore, not of the eyes, but of a pure heart, which is the mind, God may be seen by those who are worthy. For you will certainly find in all the Scriptures, both old and new, the term ‘heart’ repeatedly used instead of ‘mind,’ i.e. intellectual power. In this manner, therefor, although far below the dignity of the subject, have we spoken of the nature of God, as those who understand it under the limitation of the human understanding. In the next place, let us see that is meant by the name of Christ.”

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