Saturday, June 1, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Joshua 11-12 and Origen's De Principiis: Book Three 3

Joshua 11 – The kings of the northern hill country combine with the kings along the rift valley called the Arabah (from the sea of Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba) to fight the Israelites, but they are defeated. 

The King of Hazor is killed and his large city destroyed (11:11).  None of the other towns are, and all the spoil is taken. 

The following disturbing passage concludes the conquest passages: “. . .all were taken in battle.  For it was the Lord’s doing to harden their hearts so that they would come against Israel in battle, in order that they might be utterly destroyed, and might receive no mercy, but be exterminated, just as the Lord had commanded Moses” (11:20).

The Anakim (legendary giants of the region) were defeated too, except those in Gaza, Gath and Ashdod).  Then “the land had rest from war” (11:23).

Joshua 12 – A list of the defeated kings and towns east and west of the Jordan River follows—31 in all.

Origen (185-254 AD)
De Principiis (First Principles)
Chapter III – On the Holy Spirit
3 – “That all things were created by God, and that there is no creature which exists but has derived from Him its being, is established from many declarations of Scripture . . .”

Origen refers to a popular early Christian piece called The Pastor of Angel of Repentance; we know it by the name The Shepherd of Hermas. The treatise was considered “canonical” by many in the Church. It is an allegorical work. In it, the author writes, “First of all, believe that there is one God who created and arranged all things; who, when nothing formerly existed, caused all things to be; who Himself contains all things, but Himself is contained by none.”

But there is no specific Scriptural passage that says that the Holy Spirit was ever “made or created” not even in the way Wisdom is said to have been “made.” “The Spirit of God, therefore, which was borne upon the waters, as is written in the beginning of the creation of the world, is, I am of [the] opinion, no other than the Holy Spirit, so far as I can understand; as indeed we have shown in our exposition of the passages themselves, not according to the historical, but according to the spiritual method of interpretation.”

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