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Origen, COMMENTARY ON THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, Part II, Complete

Translated by John Patrick.

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Page 23

In this place it does not appear to me that by Elijah the soul is spoken of, lest I should fall into the dogma of transmigration, which is foreign to the church of God, and not handed down by the Apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the Scriptures; for it is also in opposition to the saying that "things seen are temporal," [5827] and that "this age shall have a consummation," and also to the fulfilment of the saying, "Heaven and earth shall pass away," [5828] and "the fashion of this world passeth away," [5829] and "the heavens shall perish," [5830] and what follows. For if, by hypothesis, in the constitution of things which has existed from the beginning unto the end of the world, the same soul can be twice in the body, for what cause should it be in it? For if because of sin it should be twice in the body, why should it not be thrice, and repeatedly in it, since punishments, in respect of this life, and of the sins committed in it, shall be rendered to it only by the method of transmigration? But if this be granted as a consequence, perhaps there will never be a time when a soul shall not undergo transmigration: for always because of its former sins will it dwell in the body; and so there will be no place for the corruption of the world, at which "the heaven and the earth shall pass away." [5831] And if it be granted, on this hypothesis, that one who is absolutely sinless shall not come into the body by birth, after what length of time do you suppose that a soul shall be found absolutely pure and needing no transmigration? But nevertheless, also, if any one soul is always thus being removed from the definite number of souls and returns no longer to the body, sometime after infinite ages, as it were, birth shall cease; the world being reduced to some one or two or a few more, after the perfecting of whom the world shall perish, the supply of souls coming into the body having failed. But this is not agreeable to the Scripture; for it knows of a multitude of sinners at the time of the destruction of the world.

[5827] 2 Cor. iv. 18.

[5828] Matt. xxiv. 35.

[5829] 1 Cor. vii. 31.

[5830] Ps. cii. 26.

[5831] Matt. xxiv. 35.

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/origen/matthew-commentary-2.asp?pg=23