Church History 13
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When you do exegesis, you are doing theology.
Origen is doing speculative theology. Theology and exegesis are in a dialectic relationship.
Philosophy is not antithetical to the life of faith. Philosophy and the tools are tools of faith.
The character of Christian philosophy … for Origen .
. he makes the distinction between simple
faith and rational faith. Simple faith, you know, but you don’t know why – what we would call
Rational faith is belief plus understanding of the truth behind that understanding.
Origen says that rational faith, that which is accompanied by understanding, is superior to simple
faith. 3 reasons.
Simple faith is less firmly grounded. Most people who believe because of simple faith
believe because of the miracles. However, he says, if that is the sole foundation for your
faith, what happens when someone begins to raise questions about whether the miracles
really happened. Easier to be taken away.
Simple faith tends to be obedience, and they behave well out of fear. They are motivated
by fear. They obey out of fear. But for folks who have a rational faith obey not just
because they know there is punishment behind the command, but because they
understand how it reflects God’s goodness. Not just because of their self-interest, but out
of love for the God that gives them this command for their well-being. The person who
understands obeys out of love rather than out of fear. “I do not call you slaves, but I call
you friends. The slave is the one who obeys out of fear, not knowing the will of the
master, and the friend is the one who obeys out of love for the master, because he
understands his will.” Jesus says.
The moral life and intellectual life are together. Simple faith tends to be a moralistic
religion. “Being good people” so that you don’t get on the wrong side of God. The goal
at the end of life is to have enough merits on the good side of life. Origen says, no. God
made us to be good, morally good, but God also made us with intellects, to understand
the world around. We have a natural desire to understand our world. As people who
believe that God is the highest good, there is a natural impulse among people to seek
after the wisdom of God. To be intellectual people, we naturally love problems to solve.
Chess problems, sudoku, curiousity, seeking to understand and figure out the problem.
And when we figure it out, that brings us pleasure. The joy of teaching is when the
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September 10, 2008