The Unchanging Mind: Origen’s Lifetime Argument and The Dissolution of the Devil
Domeracki, Michael Stefan
Honorable Mention winner of the Friends of Fondren Library Graduate Research Awards, 2011.
Typically, scholars have concluded that Origen advocated a universal salvation model where the devil is saved. Many scholars today maintain this position and typically cite Peri Archon, composed very early Origen’s writing career. There are some scholars, however, who cite Contra Celsum to demonstrate that Origen does in fact hold the devil will not be saved, and therefore does not propose universal salvation. But many scholars, lie somewhere in between arguing that Origen is simply inconsistent on the matter. It is the intent of this paper to show that Origen never held the devil would be saved, but was rather misunderstood and misrepresented in his own life and forced to clarify his own position. In tracing Origen’s writings and social conflicts, I will show that Origen proposed a universal salvation system, but never believed the devil would actually choose to repent and be saved. His later writings do not belie an inconsistent theology, but rather demonstrate a response to misinterpretations regarding his own theology. The paper will begin outlining Origen’s salvation model evident in Peri Archon, then discuss the social conflicts of Origen, and conclude with a study of his later writings. By following his life and writings chronologically, I will show that Origen did not change his mind, but rather wrote in reaction to his opponents to clarify and further explain his salvation theology.