Thursday, November 30, 2006

Origen on Scripture


“If anyone ponders over [the scriptures] with all the attention and reverence they deserve, it is certain that in the very act of reading and diligently studying them his mind and feelings will be touched by a divine breath and he will recognize that the words he is reading are not utterances of man but the language of God” (Origen, First Principles 4.1.6).

6 comments:

Mark Traphagen said...

Can you explain what you think he means by that last phrase ("not utterances of man by the language of God”)? It is not making any sense to me.

Michael F. Bird said...

Mark, that must be a typo, should read: "utterances of man but the language of God".

Mark Traphagen said...

Thank you, Michael. That at least makes it syntactically clear! But now it just sounds to me like so much pietistic hyperbole. What does that really mean in terms of how I actually read the Bible? If he is just saying that the Spirit is active in and through the words of Scripture to act in the heart and mind of the believer as he or she reads them, then I am with them. If, however, he is proposing that the text itself is some kind of 'divine speech' unmediated through any human agency, then he's lost me.

You quoted it, Michael, without comment, so I'm assuming you support it. What do you support about the statement? What do you think it means?

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Josiah K. Walters said...

I assume what Origen is saying is that the utterances are not of man only, but actually of God (albeit given through human agency). I expect Dr. Bird affirms that, though it is not absolutely necessary, it seems, to assume he supports the quoted text simply because he does not comment on it.

debbiewimmers said...

I wonder if he's refering to tongues. I know some theologins think the verse in romans 8 is about praying in the spirit.