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Origen, ON THE PRINCIPLES (PERI ARCHON - DE PRINCIPIIS), Complete

Translated by Frederick Crombie.

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Page 68

Book II.

Chapter I.--On the World.

1. Although all the discussions in the preceding book have had reference to the world and its arrangements, it now seems to follow that we should specially re-discuss a few points respecting the world itself, i.e., its beginning and end, or those dispensations of Divine Providence which have taken place between the beginning and the end, or those events which are supposed to have occurred before the creation of the world, or are to take place after the end.

In this investigation, the first point which clearly appears is, that the world in all its diversified and varying conditions is composed not only of rational and diviner natures, and of a diversity of bodies, but of dumb animals, wild and tame beasts, of birds, and of all things which live in the waters; [2067] then, secondly, of places, i.e., of the heaven or heavens, and of the earth or water, as well as of the air, which is intermediate, and which they term aether, and of everything which proceeds from the earth or is born in it. Seeing, then, [2068] there is so great a variety in the world, and so great a diversity among rational beings themselves, on account of which every other variety and diversity also is supposed to have come into existence, what other cause than this ought to be assigned for the existence of the world, especially if we have regard to that end by means of which it was shown in the preceding book that all things are to be restored to their original condition? And if this should seem to be logically stated, what other cause, as we have already said, are we to imagine for so great a diversity in the world, save the diversity and variety in the movements and declensions of those who fell from that primeval unity and harmony in which they were at first created by God, and who, being driven from that state of goodness, and drawn in various directions by the harassing influence of different motives and desires, have changed, according to their different tendencies, the single and undivided goodness of their nature into minds of various sorts? [2069]

[2067] The words "in aquis" are omitted in Redepenning's edition.

[2068] The original of this sentence is found at the close of the Emperor Justinian's Epistle to Menas, patriarch of Constantinople, and, literally translated, is as follows: "The world being so very varied, and containing so many different rational beings, what else ought we to say was the cause of its existence than the diversity of the falling away of those who decline from unity (tes henados) in different ways?"--Ruaeus. Lommatzsch adds a clause not contained in the note of the Benedictine editor: "And sometimes the soul selects the life that is in water" (enudron).

[2069] Lit. "into various qualities of mind."

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/fathers/origen/principia.asp?pg=68