The Physician of Souls

Mark S. M. Scott

in Journey Back to God

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841141
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949809 | DOI:


The Physician of Souls

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The fourth chapter examines Origen's theological cosmology. In particular, it argues that God designs the cosmos to catch fallen souls from drifting into ontological oblivion. It explains the inequities and disparity of fortunes in the world by coordinating our cosmic circumstances with our precosmic fall. Origen posits a direct correlation between the degree of our spiritual decline in the pre-existent realm and our location in the world, thereby vindicating the goodness and justice of divine providence. The cosmos, then, reflects God's benevolent care for humanity, and the material world, far from being evil, provides the necessary conditions for our return to God. Origen explores the relationship between free will and providence through a theological analysis of the story of Jacob and Esau and the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. These paradigmatic biblical narratives show how divine providence works in conjunction with human freedom.

Keywords: free will; providence; cosmology; remedial punishment; Jacob and Esau; Pharaoh

Chapter.  11984 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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