Origen

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Kendall K. Down

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May 13, 2022, 1:59:53 AMMay 13
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I've always thought of Origen as one of the respected fathers of the
early church - ok, he had an unfortunate lapse with a sharp knife, but
that was in his early career and we all do silly things when we are young.

However it would seem that Origen had some distinctly non-Christian
ideas, ideas which were fundamental to Manichaeism and the later Albigenses.

===========
In the second place, Origen, and all who think with him, ought to have
seen that if it were the true opinion that the world was created in
order that souls might, for their sins, be accommodated with bodies in
which they should be shut up as in houses of correction, the more venial
sinners receiving lighter and more ethereal bodies, while the grosser
and graver sinners received bodies more crass and grovelling, then it
would follow that the devils, who are deepest in wickedness, ought,
rather than even wicked men, to have earthly bodies, since these are the
grossest and least ethereal of all. But in point of fact, that we might
see that the deserts of souls are not to be estimated by the qualities
of bodies, the wickedest devil possesses an ethereal body, while man,
wicked, it is true, but with a wickedness small and venial in comparison
with his, received even before his sin a body of clay.

And what more foolish assertion can be advanced than that God, by this
sun of ours, did not design to benefit the material creation, or lend
lustre to its loveliness, and therefore created one single sun for this
single world, but that it so happened that one soul only had so sinned
as to deserve to be enclosed in such a body as it is? On this principle,
if it had chanced that not one, but two, yea, or ten, or a hundred had
sinned similarly, and with a like degree of guilt, then this world would
have one hundred suns. And that such is not the case, is due not to the
considerate foresight of the Creator, contriving the safety and beauty
of things material, but rather to the fact that so fine a quality of
sinning was hit upon by only one soul, so that it alone has merited such
a body.
Augustine, City of God, XI.xxiv
===========

Indeed, in an earlier section, Augustine asserts what I believe to be
true Christian doctrine - namely, that souls are created by God and are
not part of God but are separate acts of creation by Him.

It is interesting, however, that Augustine seems to have bought into
the general philosophical idea that everything has a soul - humans,
animals, plants, suns. That, of course, comes from Greek philosophy, not
from Scripture.

God bless,
Kendal K. Down


Madhu

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May 15, 2022, 2:39:53 AMMay 15
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* "Kendall K. Down" <t5krjm$76n$1...@dont-email.me> :
Wrote on Fri, 13 May 2022 06:50:47 +0100:
I'm not sure I see that idea ("everything has a soul") in the
extract. It is true that KJV uses "soul" exclusively for humans (from
Adam), but the bible acknowledges the first-class status of the "life"
of animals in the commandments against eating or drinking blood. ("blood
is life"), and the sacrificial ransom of animals implies that they are
accounted as "souls" (whatever that means in the bible). The death of
the soul (nefes) and the end of life are equated throughout the OT where
resurrection is kept under wraps.

Much Hindu Philosophy no doubt has underpinnings in the Greek. my own
particular sect makes a threefold distinction of categories "conscious[1]
(c[h]it)", "non-conscious [acit, or jada] and iswara [god]. embodied
living beings fall under the conscious category. Objects of the world
including the sun such are not conscious - they are insensible "matter"
[prakriti], though they sometimes have apparently-conscious divinities
ruling over them. Iswara (god) consciously rules over the prior two
categories, but the categories are ever separate. living beings are
presumed to be ensouled so in a way this leads naturally to the concept
of transmigration, reincarnation, etc.

[1] The non-god conscious are further classified as the bound (to
bodies), the free (who have achieved salvation) and the ever-free
(loosely the category of angels). The relationship of God to creation
is compatible with Semitic conception. The immortality of the soul is
similar to Greek thought. The means of salvation are debated in a
Hegelian way and are dismissed in the same way as christianity/hebrew
manner making it ultimately depend only on the grace of god.


Kendall K. Down

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May 15, 2022, 2:49:53 PMMay 15
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On 15/05/2022 07:35, Madhu wrote:

> I'm not sure I see that idea ("everything has a soul") in the
> extract.

Well, in the section I quoted he reports - and mocks - the belief that
certain souls were fit only to inhabit a sun. For a more general
statement you would need to read Plato et al.

> It is true that KJV uses "soul" exclusively for humans (from
> Adam), but the bible acknowledges the first-class status of the "life"
> of animals in the commandments against eating or drinking blood. ("blood
> is life"), and the sacrificial ransom of animals implies that they are
> accounted as "souls" (whatever that means in the bible). The death of
> the soul (nefes) and the end of life are equated throughout the OT where
> resurrection is kept under wraps.

Given that nefesh simply means "breath", it is hardly surprising that
animals have "soul". They breath, which distinguishes them from rocks
and plants. (Of course, today we know that plants also breath, but Plato
and his pals didn't know that.)

> Much Hindu Philosophy no doubt has underpinnings in the Greek.

I'm not sure which was the borrowing went. Particularly after the
campaigns of Alexander the Great, there was a surprising amount of
contact between Greece, Rome and India, and Indian gurus were held in
great esteem.

> my own
> particular sect makes a threefold distinction of categories "conscious[1]
> (c[h]it)", "non-conscious [acit, or jada] and iswara [god]. embodied
> living beings fall under the conscious category. Objects of the world
> including the sun such are not conscious - they are insensible "matter"
> [prakriti], though they sometimes have apparently-conscious divinities
> ruling over them. Iswara (god) consciously rules over the prior two
> categories, but the categories are ever separate. living beings are
> presumed to be ensouled so in a way this leads naturally to the concept
> of transmigration, reincarnation, etc.

Like the Hebrew "nephesh", which distinguishes between breathing and
non-breathing, the conscious/non-conscious distinction falls foul of
modern science. Is an amoeba, for example, conscious? A tree? A fungus?

> [1] The non-god conscious are further classified as the bound (to
> bodies), the free (who have achieved salvation) and the ever-free
> (loosely the category of angels). The relationship of God to creation
> is compatible with Semitic conception. The immortality of the soul is
> similar to Greek thought. The means of salvation are debated in a
> Hegelian way and are dismissed in the same way as christianity/hebrew
> manner making it ultimately depend only on the grace of god.

In the Christian view, the *offer* of salvation depends solely on the
grace of God. Accepting or rejecting the offer is our prerogative.

God bless,
Kendall K. Down



Madhu

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May 16, 2022, 12:59:50 AMMay 16
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* "Kendall K. Down" <t5rhjh$d18$1...@dont-email.me> :
Wrote on Sun, 15 May 2022 19:42:56 +0100:
> On 15/05/2022 07:35, Madhu wrote:
>> I'm not sure I see that idea ("everything has a soul") in the
>> extract.
>
> Well, in the section I quoted he reports - and mocks - the belief that
> certain souls were fit only to inhabit a sun. For a more general
> statement you would need to read Plato et al.

I'm not sure. I understood it in the sense of Paul's "glory of the sun,
glory of the moon" (and I may have misunderstood *that* - but my
understanding is that the sun category is used as an example to make a
point about regular souls, - in pauls case to make a point about the
regulation resurrection body - not to imply the sun is a soul)


>> It is true that KJV uses "soul" exclusively for humans (from
>> Adam), but the bible acknowledges the first-class status of the "life"
>> of animals in the commandments against eating or drinking blood. ("blood
>> is life"), and the sacrificial ransom of animals implies that they are
>> accounted as "souls" (whatever that means in the bible). The death of
>> the soul (nefes) and the end of life are equated throughout the OT where
>> resurrection is kept under wraps.
>
> Given that nefesh simply means "breath", it is hardly surprising that
> animals have "soul". They breath, which distinguishes them from rocks
> and plants. (Of course, today we know that plants also breath, but
> Plato and his pals didn't know that.)

In Sanskrit that life-breath is called "prana" (sometimes
loosely associated with air/wind in the gross form) and has a
sophisticated development, but it is a separate concept from the concept
of soul. This distinction is not explicitly present in the OT, so it
cannot be used to develop doctrines like reincarnation.

> Like the Hebrew "nephesh", which distinguishes between breathing and
> non-breathing, the conscious/non-conscious distinction falls foul of
> modern science. Is an amoeba, for example, conscious? A tree? A
> fungus?

Manu (of the Manusmriti[1] fame) sees a spectrum

VI 73 Let him recognise by the practice of meditation the
progress of the individual soul through beings of various kinds,
(a progress) hard to understand for unregenerate men.

(and shows the dangers in the premise of the over-reaching concept of
evolution and progress, the theory of Karma depends on it)

I don't agree with your comment on science. (on the lines of how genesis
falls foul of science. consciousness and life are not explained so
satisfactorily that the obviously imperfect medieval bathtub-models can
be thrown out with the bathtub gin)


[Just a side comment: Manu is the name given to the first man Adam who
is created fullyin the form of the man in most accounts. When Manu died
he went to the other world and became "Yama" the king of "hell", and
president of the hades, and the lord of righteousness as his position to
deal out torment to souls for a part of their karma before sending them
to their next birth where they get the desserts.

Other Manus in other cyclical ages are not reincarnations of Manu but
other souls in their own progress. The position of Yama become tenuous
in this theory]


Kendall K. Down

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May 16, 2022, 1:29:52 AMMay 16
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On 16/05/2022 05:44, Madhu wrote:

> I'm not sure. I understood it in the sense of Paul's "glory of the sun,
> glory of the moon" (and I may have misunderstood *that* - but my
> understanding is that the sun category is used as an example to make a
> point about regular souls, - in pauls case to make a point about the
> regulation resurrection body - not to imply the sun is a soul)

"if it were the true opinion that the world was created in
order that souls might, for their sins, be accommodated with bodies in
which they should be shut up as in houses of correction, the more
venial sinners receiving lighter and more ethereal bodies, while the
grosser and graver sinners received bodies more crass and grovelling ...
And what more foolish assertion can be advanced than that God, by this
sun of ours, did not design to benefit the material creation, or lend
lustre to its loveliness, and therefore created one single sun for
this single world, but that it so happened that one soul only had so
sinned as to deserve to be enclosed in such a body as it is?"

No, Augustine doesn't say that the sun *is* a soul, but that the sun is
a body for some soul. Note that Augustine does not himself believe such
foolishness, but refers to people who do - that is, the pagans and
Manichaeans.

> In Sanskrit that life-breath is called "prana" (sometimes
> loosely associated with air/wind in the gross form) and has a
> sophisticated development, but it is a separate concept from the concept
> of soul. This distinction is not explicitly present in the OT, so it
> cannot be used to develop doctrines like reincarnation.

On the contrary, the two concepts are present in the Old Testament.
Nephesh is breath/breath of life which, when present in a body, marks
the body as living. Ruach is the soul which returns to God upon death
and which, when returned to the body, revives it (see Ezekiel and the
Valley of Dry Bones).

> VI 73 Let him recognise by the practice of meditation the
> progress of the individual soul through beings of various kinds,
> (a progress) hard to understand for unregenerate men.

Which, of course, is not a teaching accepted by Christianity.

> I don't agree with your comment on science. (on the lines of how genesis
> falls foul of science. consciousness and life are not explained so
> satisfactorily that the obviously imperfect medieval bathtub-models can
> be thrown out with the bathtub gin)

I quite agree that science cannot explain the origin of life, let alone
the origin of consciousness. I merely pointed out that the discoveries
of science make it difficult to divide the world up into
conscious/non-conscious.

> [Just a side comment: Manu is the name given to the first man Adam who
> is created fullyin the form of the man in most accounts.

I'll stick with Genesis, if you don't mind.

Madhu

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May 16, 2022, 2:39:52 AMMay 16
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* "Kendall K. Down" <t5sn8j$fn9$1...@dont-email.me> :
Wrote on Mon, 16 May 2022 06:25:39 +0100:
> On 16/05/2022 05:44, Madhu wrote:
>> I'm not sure. I understood it in the sense of Paul's "glory of the
>> sun, glory of the moon" (and I may have misunderstood *that* - but my
>> understanding is that the sun category is used as an example to make
>> a point about regular souls, - in pauls case to make a point about
>> the regulation resurrection body - not to imply the sun is a soul)

I intended "not to imply that the sun has a soul"

> "if it were the true opinion that the world was created in
> order that souls might, for their sins, be accommodated with bodies in
> which they should be shut up as in houses of correction, the more
> venial sinners receiving lighter and more ethereal bodies, while the
> grosser and graver sinners received bodies more crass and grovelling
> ... And what more foolish assertion can be advanced than that God, by
> this
> sun of ours, did not design to benefit the material creation, or lend
> lustre to its loveliness, and therefore created one single sun for
> this single world, but that it so happened that one soul only had so
> sinned as to deserve to be enclosed in such a body as it is?"
>
> No, Augustine doesn't say that the sun *is* a soul, but that the sun
> is a body for some soul. Note that Augustine does not himself believe
> such foolishness, but refers to people who do - that is, the pagans
> and Manichaeans.

I still don't see that his argument-by-analogy requires the sun to be a
body for some soul. (No doubt pagans even worshipped the sun as a
divinity, but that aspect of the sun doesn't feature in this argument.)

[Just my position, which is not particularly informed in these respects]


Kendall K. Down

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May 16, 2022, 2:39:53 PMMay 16
to
On 16/05/2022 07:30, Madhu wrote:

> I still don't see that his argument-by-analogy requires the sun to be a
> body for some soul. (No doubt pagans even worshipped the sun as a
> divinity, but that aspect of the sun doesn't feature in this argument.)

It is not Augustine's "argument by analogy"; it is his plain statement.

And, of course, I repeat that Augustine himself did not believe that; he
was ridiculing those who did believe it.
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