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As for internal factors, the contribution of the school of Alexandria was particularly significant. In Origen’s system, individual and collective eschatology are intimately linked to cosmic eschatology in a cosmological perspective based on the archai and ruled by the telos of apokatastasis. The profound link between creatures and God, despite the limits imposed by creatureliness, by which God is conceived of as perennial beneficent activity toward creatures, determines a tension toward the telos, in its twofold meaning of end and fulfillment. Madrid Subway Map In Origen’s De principiis the telos both end and goal, the opposite pole to the arche, is always recalled and present, with specific treatments that return in each of the four books.
The cosmic endgoal is the restoration in Greek apokatastasis of the primitive state. The implicit dynamism of the rational creature’s recovery, expressed with the biblical image of Gen 1:26-27, of the likeness with God yet to be attained Princ. 3,6,1, prevents one aside from the search for statements to resolve the question of whether or not he had conceived of a generalized fall of beings from thinking of a pure and simple return to the initial situation of the arche: the love poured forth in this process by both parties and esp. the saving action of Christ has generated a surplus, producing a dialectic that creates an imbalance in Origen’s discourse, Madrid Subway Map a progressive tension toward a future of glorious assimilation to God, rather than toward the past. In light of this vision of a total recovery, Origen effects, thanks to the very allegorical means he uses, a spiritualized rereading of traditional eschatological ideas. From the attack on millenarianism to the symbolic interpretation of many concrete details regarding the parousia, judgment or hellfire, Origen’s part would be decisive in this field as well, all the more since, aware of the diversity of the public he was addressing, he could always fall back, when it seemed opportune to him, on the literal sense of the biblical expressions. Madrid Subway Map Finally, it should be noted that the least contested aspect of Origen’s eschatological teaching was the centrality it gives to the individualization of the process related to the expectation of the last things, a centrality that finds its counterpart, on the more general level of the Origenian system, in the role Origen assigns also in polemic with the gnostics to free will.
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