Monthly Archives: March 2014

Origen on Tongues: the Source Texts

In keeping with the Gift of Tongues Project which is to provide the original sources in a digital format, enclosed are the source-works of Origen relating to the doctrine of tongues.

For the full English list of translations and analysis please go to Origen on the Dogma of Tongues.

Origenis. In Jeremiam Homilia. MPG. Vol. 13. Col. 384ff.

Διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡνίκα μὲν οὐκ εκινοῦντο ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, οὐκ ἐσκόρπισεν αὐτοὺς ὁ Θεός· ὅτε δὲ ἐκίνησαν ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν, καὶ εἷπεν ἄνθρωπος πρὸς τὸν πλησίον αὐτου, Δεῦτε, καὶ οἰκοδομήσωμεν ἑαυτοῖς πόλιν καὶ πύργον, οὐ ἔσται ἠ κεφαλὴ ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, φησὶν ὁ Θεὸς περὶ τούτων· Δεῦτε, καὶ καταβάντες συγχέωμεν αὐτῶν έκεῖ τὴν γλῶσσαν. Καὶ συγχεῖται ἕκαστος, καὶ ἐπὶ τινὰ τῆς τόπον διασκορπίζεται. Καὶ ὁ λαὸς δὲ ὁ τοῦ Ἰσραὴλ, μὴ ἁμαρτάνων μὲν,ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ ἦν. ἁμαρτήσας δὲ διασκορπίζεται ἔπειτα ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκουμένης, καὶ διασπείρεται πανταχοῦ. Τοιοῦτόν τί μοι νόει καὶ περὶ πάντων ἠμῶν. Ἔστι τις Ἐκκλησία πρωτοτόκων ἀπογεγραμμένων ἐν οὐρανοῖς, ὅπου Σιὼν ὅρος, καὶ πόλις Θεοῦ ζῶντος Ἰερουσαλὴμ ἐπουράνιος.

Origenis. Selecta in Ezechielem. MPG. Vol.13. Col 773

Οὐ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν βαθύχειλον. Εἰ γὰρ μὴ ἦσαν _ξ ἐπιπολῆς ἔχοντες τοὺς λόγους αὐτων, ἀλλ᾽ἡ καρ_ _α αὐτῶν διὰ τὸ βάθος τῶν νοημάτων στόμα ἦν αὐτῶν. καὶ οὐκ ἄν σὺ εἰσεληλύθεις πρὸς τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ἰσραήλ. Ἀλλ᾽οὐδὲ βαρύγλωσσοί εἰσι· βάρος γὰρ καὶ κομψόν τι οὐκ ἔχει στίβος ἡ γλῶσσα αὐτῶν, ἤτοι ὁ λόγος· εἰσὶ δὲ κουφόγλωσσοι· ὅθεν ἀναγκαῖόν σε βαδίσαι πρὸς αὐτοὺς ὑποκάτω βαίνοντας τῆς ἕξεως σου. Ἐν ἐπαίνῳ οὖν εἰρῆται ὁ Βαθύχειλος καὶ ὁ βαρύγλωσσος. εἴρηται δὲ ταῦτα. Καὶ ὅρα εἰ περὶ τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ἐθνῶν, οἳ ἕτεροι εἰσι τοῦ οἴκου Ἰσραὴλ, ταῦτα προφητεύεται, ὧν οὐκ ἄν ἤκουσε διὰ τὸ ἑτερόγλωσσον αὐτῶν ὁ Ἐβραῖος προφήτης. Βαθεῖς δὲ χείλεσιν οἱ αὐτοὶ δύνανται λέγεσθαι διὰ τὸ μὴ ἐξ ἐπιπολῆς τὰ θεῖα καταλαμβάνειν γράμματα, ἀλλὰ πιστεύειν εἰς τὰ βάθη τοὺ νόμου.

Origenis. Homiliis in Acta Apostolorum. MPG. Vol.14. Col 829ff

Retyped from the copy found at: Documenta Catholica Omnia

Ἐκ τῆς εἰς τὰς Πράξεις ὁμιλίας δ’

Ἔδει πληρωθῆναι τὴν Γραφὴν, ἣν προεῖτε τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον διὰ στόματος Δαυΐδ περὶ Ἰούδα· ἐν ᾧ ψαλμῷ τὰ περὶ τοῦ Ἰούδα γέγραπται. Εἴποι τις ἄν, ὅτι οὐ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον λαλεῖ· σαφῶς γὰρ τοῦ Σωτῆρός εἰσιν οἱ λόγοι λέγοντος· Ὁ Θεὸς, τὴν αἴωεσίν μου μὴ παρασιωπησης· ὅτι στόμα ἁμαρτωλοῦ, καὶ στόμα δολίου, ἐπ’ ἐμὲ ἠωοίχθη· καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς ἕως· Καὶ τὴν ἐπισκοπὴν αὐτοῦ λάβοι ἕτερος. Πῶς οὖν, εἰ ὁ Σωτήρ ἐστιν ὁ ταῦτα λέγων, φησὶν ὁ Πέτρος· Ἔδει πληρωθῆαι τὴν Γραφὴν, ἥν προεῖτε τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον διὰ στόματος Δαυΐδ; Μήποτε οὖν ὅ διδασκόμεθα ἐνταῦθα, τοιοῦτόν ἐστι. Προσωποποιεῖ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐν τοῖς προφήταις· καὶ ἐὰν προσωποποιήσῃ τὸν Θεὸν, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ Θεὸς ὁ λαλῶν, ἀλλὰ τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ ἄγιον ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ Θεοῦ λαλεῖ· Οὕτω, κἄν προσωποποιήσῃ τὸν προφήτην, ἤ τὸν λαὸν ἐκεῖνον, ἤ τὸν λαὸν τουτον, ἤ ὅ τι δήποτε προσωποποιεῖ, τὸ ἅγιον Πνεῦμά ἐστι τὸ πάντα προσωποποιοῦν.

Origenis. Comment. In. Epist. Ad Rom. MPG. Vol. 14. Col. 1100-1101

A Portion from his commentary on Romans 6:13

[Col. 1100] « Propter inhabitantem Spiritum ejus in vobis. » Si enim Spiritus Christi habitat in vobis, necessarium videtur Spiritui reddi habitaculum suum, templumque restitui. Velim tamen hoc ipsum quod dicitur vel Spiritus Christi, vel Spiritus Dei, vel etiam ipse Christus in nobis habitare, quale sit intueri : utrumnam ex initio omnibus iste Spiritus datur, et postmodum pessimis et a Deo alienis actibus effugatur, secundum illud quod scriptum est : « Nom permanebit Spiritus meus in hominibus istis, quia caro sunt, » an vitæ merito, et fidei gratia postmodum datur, secundum ea quæ in Actibus apostolorum docentur, quia Spiritus sanctus tanquam linguæ igneæ venit super unumquemque eorum; vel certe sicut in Evangelio docemur, cum ipse Salvator posteaquam resurrexit amortuis ad discipulos dixit : « Accipite Spiritum sanctum, et insufflavit un unoquoque eorum. » Unde mihi videtur quod et meritis conquiratur hoc donum, et vitæ innocentia conservetur, et unicuique secundum profectum fidei augeatur et gratiæ ; et quanto purior anima redditur, tanto largior ei Spiritus infundatur. Quod autem dixit, « Non permanebit Spiritus meus in hominibus istis, quia caro sunt. » illuc respicit ut, quoniam anima eorum, repudiata Spiritus servitute, ad carnis servitia se tota convertit, etiam ipsa ejus cui se conjunxit carni, et cum qua unum effecta est, nomen accipiat. Diveris ergo modis haberi potest Spiritus. Vel Spiritus Christi habetur, secundum id quod supra diximus, ex inspiratione divina, ubi ait : « Accipite Spiritum sanctum, et insufflavit in eis, » et rursum eo modo qui in Actibus apostolorum dicitur gesum, ut diversis linguis loquerentur apostoli. Est et ille modus, qui in Regnorum libris refertur, cum dicit Scriptura : « Et insiluit Spiritus super Saul, et cœpit prophetare. » Est et ille adhuc alius modus, ut, cum Salvator post resurrectionem cum Cleopha et alio discipulo iter agens et aperiens eis Scripturas, ignivit eos spiritu oris sui, ita ut illi dicerent : « Nonne cor nostrum erat ardens intra nos, cum aperiret nobis Scripturas ? » Vis autem scire quia non solum Jesus loquens tradidit audientibues Spiritum suum, sed et qui in nomine ejus loquitur verbum Dei, tradit audientibus Spiritum Dei? Vide in Actibus apostolorum quomodo loquente Petro ad Cornelium [Col. 1101] repletur Spiritu sancto ipse Cornelius, et qui cum eo erant. Unde et tu si loquaris verbum dei, et loquaris fideliter ex conscientia pura, nec ipse redarguaris ex verbis tuis quasi qui aliter doceas et aliter agas, potest fieri ut loquente te auditorum corda sancti Spiritus ignis inflammet, et continuo concalescant et ardeant ad complenda universa quæ doces, ut rebus impleant quæ sermonibus didicerint, et « quæ sursum sunt » sapiant, « non quæ super terram. »

Origen on I Corinthians; Header 49

Claude Jenkins, “Documents; Origen on I Corinthians,” Journal of Theological Studies 10 (1909). Pg. 29ff and another version found in Catenae: Graecorum Patrum in Novum Testamentum. Tomus V. J.A. Cramer. ed. Oxonii.1844. Pg. 249

Ζητοῦμεν ἐνταῦθα εἰ δύναταί τις ἐν τῷ βίῳ τούτῳ καὶ προφητείαν ἔχειν καὶ τὰ μυστήρια ἅπαντα γνῶναι χωρὶς ἀγάπης, καὶ ὅλως εἰ δίδοταί τινι τὰ μυστήρια πάντα γνῶναι· φησὶ γὰρ ὁ Παῦλος εἰ τις δοκεῖ εγνωκέναι τι, οὔπω ἔγνω καθὼς δεῖ γνῶναι· καὶ παλιν Ἐκ μέρους φησὶ γινώσκομεν καὶ ἐκ μέρους προφητεύομεν· ὅταν ἄν δὲ ἔλθῃ τὸ τέλειον, τὸ ἐκ μέρους καταργηθήσεται. Τὸ δὲ`ταῦτα λέγειν περὶ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ τῶν παραπλησίων ἀποστόλων αὐτῷ δηλοῖ ὅτι οὐ δυνατόν ἐστιν εἰδέναι πάντα τὰ μυστήρια καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνὼσιν. πῶς οὖν ὡς δυνατοῦ ὄντος τοῦ εἰδέναι πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν καὶ πάντα τὰ μυστήρια ἐπίστασθαι ταῦτα φησίν ; ἐὰν ἴδωμεν τὸ προοίμιον τῶν λόγων ἐν οἷς φησὶ Καὶ ἔτι καθ’ὑπερβολὴν ὁδὸν ὑμιν δείκνυμι, καὶ νοήσωμεν τἰ ἐστιν ὑπερβολὴ, ταῦτα πάντα ἔσται σεσαφηνισμένα. ὐπερβολὴ τοίνυν ἐστὶν, ὡς καὶ Ἕλληνες <ὡ>ρίσαντο, λόγος ἐμφάσεως ἕνεκεν ὑπεραίρων τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ χρῶνται ἐκεῖνοι παραδείγματι, ὅτι λευκότεροι χιόνος λέγονταί τινες εἶναι· οὐχ ὅτι δυνατόν τι εἶναι λευκότερον χιόνος, ἀλλὰ καθ’ ὑπερβολὴν λέλεκται. καὶ ἔτι Τρέχουσι τινες ἵπποι ὥς ἄνεμος· οὐχ ὅτι δυνατόν ἐστι τὸ τοιοῦτον, ἀλλ᾽ἐμφάσεως ἕνεκεν, ἵνα τὸ τάχος τῶν ἵππων παραστῇ, λέγεται τὸ τοιοῦτον περὶ αὐτῶν. καὶ ἐν τῇ γραφῇ δὲ λέγεται τῶν Ψαλμῶν περὶ τῆς θαλάσσης ἀναβαίνουσι τὰ κύματα αὐτῆς ἕως τῶν οὐρανῶν καὶ καταβαίνουσιν ἔως τῶν ἀβύσσων· ὅπερ ἀδύνατον, ἀλλ᾽ἐμφάσεως ἔνεκεν εἴρηται. καὶ ἐν τῇ νόμῳ δὲ εὐρήσεις γεγραμμένον τῆς ὑπερβολῆς τὸν τρόπον ἔνθα γέγραπται Εἴδομεν πόλεις μεγάλας καὶ τειχήρεις ἕως τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. πῶς δὲ τοῦτο δύναται εἶναι ; ἀλλ᾽ὑπερβολικῶς λέγεται, οὐ πάντως αὐτὸ τὸ δηλούμενον παριστῶντος τοῦ λόγου ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα δηλώσῃ τὸ μέγεθος τῶν κυμάτων ἤ τὴν ταπείνωσιν, καὶ τὸ μέγεθος τῶν τειχῶν, ἤ τι τούτοις παραπλήσιον. οὕτω καὶ ἐνθάδε ὔπόθεσιν λαμβάνει ὁ ἀπόστολος ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἐξετασθῆναι φύσιν χαρισμάτων φύσιν ἀγάπης. οὐχ ὅτι δυνατόν ἐστι εἶναι χάρισματα, καὶ ταῦτα τηλικοῦτον, χωρὶς ἀγάπης· ἤ ὅτι δυνατὸν ἐν τῷ Βίῳ τούτῳ είδέναι τινὰ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν χωρὶς ἀγάπης, ἤ ἔχειν πίστιν τηλικαύτην ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάνειν· ἀλλὰ βουλόμενος παραστῆσαι ὅτι εἰ ἐν ζυγῷ τεθείη ἠ ἀγάπη καθ’ ὑπόθεσιν εἰρημένου τοῦ λόγου. δεῖ οὖν φησὶ μάλιστα ζηλοῦν τὴν ἀγάπην.
῎Αρα δὲ ἄγγελοι διαλεγόμενοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους ταύταις ταῖς γλώσσαις διαλέγονται αἷς καὶ ἄνθρωποι, ὥστε τῶν ἀγγελων τινὰς μὲν Ἕλληνας εἶναι τυχόν τινὰς δὲ Ἑβραίους καὶ ἅλλους Αἰγυπτίους ; ἤ τοῦτο ἄτοπον λέγειν περὶ τῶν ἄνω ἀγγελικῶν ταγμάτων ; μή ποτε οὖν ὥσπέρ εἰσιν ἐν ἀνθρώποις διάλεκτοι πολλαὶ, οὕτως εἰσὶ καὶ ἐν ἀγγέλοις ; καὶ ἐὰν ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῖν χαρίσηται ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνθρωπίνης φύσεως ἐπὶ τὴν ἀγγελικὴν καταταγὴν<αι>, τοὺ Κυρίου μου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπαγγελίαν λέγοντος ἰσάγελλοι ἔσονται καὶ Υἱοὶ Θεοῦ τὴς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες, οὐκετι χρησόμεθα διαλέκτῳ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλὰ διαλέκτῳ τῇ ἀγγελικῇ ; καὶ ὥσπερ ἄλλη διάλεκτος παιδίων καὶ ἄλλη τετρανωμένων τὴν φωνὴν, οὕτως πᾶσα ἐν ἀνθρώποις διάλεκτος οἱονεὶ παιδίών ἐστὶν διάλεκτος· ἡ δὲ ἀγγελικὴ οἱονεὶ ἀδρῶν ἔστι τελείων καὶ τετρανωμένων ; ἴσως δὲ κακεὶ κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς καταστάσεως καὶ διάλεκτοι εἰσιν. ἐὰν οὖν ταῖς γλώσσαις τῶν ἀνθρώπων λαλῶ καὶ`τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, γέγονα καλκὸς ἠχῶν ἤ κύμβαλου ἀλαλάζον. ὥσπερ ὅ χαλκὸς ἠχῶν ἄσημον δίδωσι φωνήν, ὥσπερ τὸ κύμβαλον τὸ ἀλαλάζον οὐδὲν τρανόν, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον χωρὶς μὲν ἀγάπης γλῶσσα κἄν ἀγγέλων ἐν ἀνθρώποις καθ’ ὑπόθεσιν ᾖ, ἀτρανωτός ἐστιν· οὐδὲν γὰρ ποιεῖ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἤτοι τῶν ἀγγέλων τρανῆ καὶ σαφῆ, ὡς ἡ ἀγάπη· ἀγάπης δὲ μὴ παρούσης τὸ λαλόυμενον οὐδέν ἐστιν.
Τίς δὲ ἡ διαφορὰ τῆς γνώσεως καὶ τῆς τῶν μυστηρίων εἰδήσεως ; περὶ δύο γὰρ πραγμάτων ὁ ἀποστολος λέγει. ἡγοῦμαι τοίνυν τὸ μὲν περὶ τῶν φανερῶν εἰδέναι τὴν γνῶσιν εἶναι γενικωτέραν οὖσαν τῶν μυστηρίων· ἐν μέρει γὰρ τῆς γνώσεως ἡ τῶν μυστηρίων ἐστὶν ἐπιστήμη· τὸ δὲ περὶ τῶν ἀπορρητοτέρων καὶ θειοτέρων εἰδέναι τοῦτ᾽εἶναι τὸ μυστήριον γινώσκειν, ὡς εἶναι γενικὸν μὲν λόγον τῆς γνώσεως οὐκέτι δὲ πάσης τῆς γνώσεως εἶναι τὴν κατάληψιν μυστηρίων περὶ ὧν λέλεκται Ἀλλὰ λαλοῦμεν Θεοῦ σοφίαν ἐν μυστηρίῳ τὴν ἀποκεκρυμμένην, ἤν προώρισεν ὁ Θεὸς πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς δόξαν ὑμῶν. ὅταν γὰρ εἰδῶ ταῦτα, τότε ἔχω τὴν γνῶσιν τῶν μυστηρίων.
Κἄν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάνειν. γέγραπται ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ Ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως, ἐρεῖτε τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ μεταβήσεται, καὶ οὐδὲν ὑμῖν ἀδυνάτησει. ὁ γὰρ ἔχων πίστιν ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως ὅλην ἔχει τὴν πίστιν.

Origen. Against Celsus

Please note the following texts are a revised version of the TLG text. It has been changed to conform to what is found in MPG Vol. 11.

3.46 — Origenis. Contra Celsum Lib. III. MPG Vol. 11. Col. 986.

Ἐὰν δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ μετὰ τὸν Ἰησοῦν γεγραμμένα ἔλθῃς βιβλία, εὕροις ἂν τοὺς μὲν ὄχλους τῶν πιστευόντων τῶν παραβολῶν ἀκούοντας ὡς ἔξω τυγχάνοντας καὶ ἀξίους μόνον τῶν ἐξωτερικῶν λόγων, τοὺς δὲ μαθητὰς κατ’ ἰδίαν τῶν παραβολῶν μανθάνοντας τὰς διηγήσεις· Κατ’ ἰδίαν γὰρ τοῖς ἰδίοις μαθηταῖς ἐπέλυεν ἅπαντα ὁ Ἰησοῦς, προτιμῶν παρὰ τοὺς ὄχλους τοὺς τῆς σοφίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιδικαζομένους. Ἐπαγγέλλεται δὲ τοῖς εἰς αὐτὸν πιστεύουσι πέμψαι «σοφοὺς καὶ γραμματεῖς λέγων· « Ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω εἰς ὑμᾶς σοφοὺς καὶ γραμματεῖς, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσι καὶ σταυρώσουσι. » Καὶ ὁ Παῦλος δ’ ἐν τῷ καταλόγῳ τῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ διδομένων χαρισμάτων πρῶτον ἔταξε « τὸν λόγον τῆς σοφίας » καὶ δεύτερον, ὡς ὑποβεβηκότα παρ’ ἐκεῖνον, « τὸν λόγον τῆς γνώσεως, » τρίτον δέ που καὶ κατωτέρω « τὴν πίστιν ». Καὶ ἐπεὶ « τὸν λόγον » προετίμα τῶν τεραστίων ἐνεργειῶν, διὰ τοῦτ’ « ἐνεργήματα δυνάμεων καὶ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων » ἐν τῇ κατωτέρω τίθησι χώρᾳ παρὰ τὰ λογικὰ χαρίσματα. Μαρτυρεῖ δὲ τῇ Μωϋσέως πολυμαθείᾳ ὁ ἐν ταῖς Πράξεσι τῶν ἀποστόλων Στέφανος, πάντως ἀπὸ τῶν παλαιῶν καὶ μὴ εἰς πολλοὺς ἐφθακότων γραμμάτων λαβών· φησὶ γάρ· « Καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη Μωϋσῆς ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Αἰγυπτίων. » Διὰ τοῦτο δὲ καὶ ἐν τοῖς τεραστίοις ὑπενοεῖτο, μή ποτ’ οὐ κατὰ τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν τοῦ θεόθεν ἥκειν ἐποίει αὐτὰ ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰ Αἰγυπτίων μαθήματα, σοφὸς ὢν ἐν αὐτοῖς. Τοιαῦτα γὰρ ὑπονοῶν περὶ αὐτοῦ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐκάλεσε τοὺς ἐπαοιδοὺς τῶν Αἰγυπτίων καὶ « τοὺς σοφιστὰς καὶ τοὺς φαρμακεῖς, » οἵτινες ἠλέγχθησαν τὸ οὐδὲν ὄντες ὡς πρὸς τὴν ἐν Μωϋσεῖ σοφίαν ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν Αἰγυπτίων σοφίαν.

7:3 — Origenis. Contra Celsum, Lib. VII. MPG Vol. 11. Col. 1424ff.

Φησὶν οὖν· Τὰ μὲν ὑπὸ τῆς Πυθίας ἤ Δωδωνίδων ἤ Κλαρίου ἤ ἐν Βραγχάδαις ἤ ἐν Ἄμμμωνος ὑπὸ μυρίων τε ἄλλων θεοπρόπων προειρημένα, ὑφ’ ὧν ἐπιεκῶς πᾶσα γῆ κατῳκίσθη, ταῦτα μὲν οὐδενί λόγῳ τίθενται· τὰ δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν ἐν Ἰουδαίᾳ τῷ ἐκείνων τρόπῳ λεχθέντα ἢ μὴ λεχθέντα, καὶ ὥσπερ εἰώθασιν ἔτι νῦν οἱ περὶ Φοινίκην τε καὶ Παλαιστίνην, ταῦτά γε θαυμαστὰ καὶ ἀπαράλλακτα ἡγοῦνται. Λέγωμεν οὖν περὶ τῶν κατειλεγμένων χρηστηρίων ὅτι δυνατὸν μὲν ἡμῖν συνάγουσιν ἀπὸ Ἀριστοτέλους καὶ τῶν τὰ τοῦ Περιπάτου φιλοσοφησάντων οὐκ ὀλίγα εἰπεῖν εἰς ἀνατροπὴν τοῦ περὶ τῆς Πυθίας καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν χρηστηρίων λόγου· δυνατὸν δὲ καὶ τὰ λελεγμένα τῷ Ἐπικούρῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀσπαζομένοις αὐτοῦ τὸν λόγον περὶ τῶν αὐτῶν παραθέμενον δεῖξαι ὅτι καὶ Ἑλλήνων τινὲς ἀνατρέπουσι τὰς νομιζομένας καὶ τεθαυμασμένας ἐν πάσῃ Ἑλλάδι θεοπροπίας. Ἀλλὰ γὰρ δεδόσθω μὴ εἶναι πλάσματα μηδὲ προσποιήσεις ἀνθρώπων περὶ θεοφορίας τὰ περὶ τὴν Πυθίαν καὶ τὰ λοιπὰ χρηστήρια· ἴδωμεν οὖν εἰ μὴ καὶ οὕτως δύναται τοῖς φιλαλήθως ἐξετάζουσι τὰ πράγματα(1)προστάγματα ἀποδείκνυσθαι ὅτι καὶ τῷ παραδεχομένῳ εἶναι ταῦτα τὰ μαντεῖα οὐκ ἀναγκαῖον προσέσθαι ὅτι θεοί τινες εἰσὶ παρ’ αὐτοῖς, ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ ἐναντίου δαίμονές τινες φαῦλοι καὶ πνεύματα ἐχθρὰ τῷ γένει τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ κωλύοντα τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς ἄνοδον καὶ δι’ ἀρετῆς πορείαν καὶ τῆς ἀληθινῆς εὐσεβείας ἀποκατάστασιν πρὸς τὸν θεόν. Ἱστόρητα(2)Ἱστόρηται τοίνυν περὶ τῆς Πυθίας, ὅπερ δοκεῖ τῶν ἄλλων μαντείων λαμπρότερον τυγχάνειν, ὅτι περικαθεζομένη τὸ τῆς Κασταλίας στόμιον ἡ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος προφῆτις δέχεται πνεῦμα διὰ τῶν γυναικείων κόλπων· οὗ πληρωθεῖσα ἀποφθέγγεται τὰ νομιζόμενα εἶναι σεμνὰ καὶ θεῖα μαντεύματα. Ὅρα δὴ διὰ τούτων εἰ μὴ τὸ τοῦ πνεύματος ἐκείνου ἀκάθαρτον καὶ βέβηλον ἐμφαίνεται, μὴ διὰ μανῶν καὶ ἀφανῶν πόρων καὶ πολλῷ γυναικείων κόλπων καθαρωτέρων ἐπεισιὸν τῇ ψυχῇ τῆς θεσπιζούσης ἀλλὰ διὰ τούτων, ἃ οὐδὲ θέμις ἦν τῷ σώφρονι καὶ ἀνθρώπῳ βλέπειν, οὔπω λέγω ὅτι καὶ ἅπτεσθαι· καὶ τοῦτο ποιεῖν οὐχ ἅπαξ που οὐδὲ δίς (ἴσως γὰρ ἔδοξεν ἀνεκτότερον τὸ τοιοῦτο τυγχάνειν), ἀλλὰ τοσαυτάκις, ὁσάκις προφητεύειν ἐκείνη ἀπὸ τοῦ Ἀπόλλωνος πεπίστευται. Ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ εἰς ἔκστασιν καὶ μανικὴν ἄγειν κατάστασιν τὴν δῆθεν προφητεύουσαν, ὡς μηδαμῶς αὐτὴν ἑαυτῇ παρακολουθεῖν, οὐ θείου πνεύματος ἔργον ἐστίν· ἐχρῆν γὰρ(3)Ἐρχῆν γὰρ τὸν κάοχον τῷ θειῳ Πνεύματι, τὸν συμβαλλόμενον εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ κατὰ φύσιν βίον, πολλῷ πρότερον παντὸς οὐτινοσοῦν τοῦ ἀπο τῶν χρησμῶν διδασκομένου, ἤ πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελὲς ἤ συμφέρον ὠφεληθῆναι. τὸν κάτοχον τῷ θείῳ πνεύματι πολλῷ πρότερον παντὸς οὑτινοσοῦν τοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν χρησμῶν διδασκομένου τὸ συμβαλλόμενον εἰς τὸν μέσον καὶ κατὰ φύσιν βίον ἢ πρὸς τὸ λυσιτελὲς ἢ πρὸς τὸ συμφέρον ὠφεληθῆναι καὶ διορατικώτερον παρ’ ἐκεῖνο μάλιστα καιροῦ τυγχάνειν, ὅτε σύνεστιν αὐτῷ τὸ θεῖον.

7:9 — Origenis. Contra Celsum, Lib. VII. MPG Vol. 11. Col. 1433.

Ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ τὸν τρόπον τῶν ἐν Φοινίκῃ καὶ Παλαιστίνῃ μαντείων ἐπαγγέλλεται, φράσειν ὁ Κέλσος ὡς ἀκούσας καὶ πάνυ καταμαθών, φέρε καὶ ταῦτα κατανοήσωμεν. Πρῶτον δὴ λέγει πλείονα εἶναι εἴδη προφητειῶν, μὴ ἐκτιθέμενος αὐτά· οὐδὲ γὰρ εἶχεν, ἀλλὰ ψευδῶς ἐπανετείνετο. Ὃ δέ φησιν εἶναι τελεώτατον παρὰ τοῖς τῇδε ἀνδράσιν ἴδωμεν. Πολλοί, φησί, καὶ ἀνώνυμοι ῥᾷστα ἐκ τῆς προστυχούσης αἰτίας καὶ ἐν ἱεροῖς καὶ ἔξω ἱερῶν, οἱ δὲ καὶ ἀγείροντες καὶ ἐπιφοιτῶντες πόλεσιν ἢ στρατοπέδοις, κινοῦνται δῆθεν ὡς θεσπίζοντες. Πρόχειρον δ’ ἑκάστῳ καὶ σύνηθες εἰπεῖν· Ἐγὼ ὁ θεός εἰμι ἢ θεοῦ παῖς ἢ πνεῦμα θεῖον. Ἥκω δέ ἤδη γὰρ ὁ κόσμος ἀπόλλυται, καὶ ὑμεῖς, ὦ ἄνθρωποι, διὰ τὰς ἀδικίας οἴχεσθε. Ἐγὼ δὲ σῶσαι θέλω· καὶ ὄψεσθέ με αὖθις μετ’ οὐρανίου δυνάμεως ἐπανιόντα. Μακάριος ὁ νῦν με θρησκεύσας· τοῖς δ’ ἄλλοις ἅπασι πῦρ αἰώνιον ἐπιβαλῶ καὶ πόλεσι καὶ χώραις. Καὶ ἄνθρωποις,(4)ἄνθρωποι οἳ μὴ τὰς ἑαυτῶν ποινὰς ἴσασι, μεταγνώσονται μάτην καὶ στενάξουσι· τοὺς δέ μοι πεισθέντας αἰωνίους φυλάξω. εἶτα τούτοις ἑξῆς φησι· Ταῦτ’ ἐπανατεινάμενοι προστιθέασιν ἐφεξῆς ἄγνωστα καὶ πάροιστρα καὶ πάντῃ ἄδηλα, ὧν τὸ μὲν γνὠρισμα(5)γνῶμα οὐδεὶς ἂν ἔχων νοῦν εὑρεῖν δύναιτο· ἀσαφῆ γὰρ καὶ τὸ μηδέν· ἀνοήτῳ δὲ ἢ γόητι παντὶ περὶ παντὸς ἀφορμὴν ἐνδίδωσιν, ὅπῃ βούλεται, τὸ λεχθὲν σφετερίζεσθαι.

8:37 — Origenis. Contra Celsum, Lib. VIII. MPG Vol. 11. Col. 1573.

Εἶτ’ ἐπιλαθόμενος ὅτι Χριστιανοῖς λαλεῖ, τοῖς μόνοις τῷ θεῷ διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ εὐχομένοις, καὶ συμφύρων τὰ ἑτέρων καὶ ἀλόγως Χριστιανοῖς συνάπτων αὐτά φησιν· Ἐὰν μὲν βαρβάρως αὐτοὺς ὀνομάζῃ τις, δύναμιν ἕξουσιν, ἐὰν δὲ Ἑλληνικῶς ἢ ῾Ρωμαϊκῶς, οὐκ ἔτι. Δεικνύτω γὰρ τίνα ἡμεῖς βαρβάρως ὀνομάζομεν ὡς καλοῦντες αὐτὸν ἐπὶ βοήθειαν, καὶ πειθέσθω,(6)Reg. et Basil: πυθέσθω μάτην καθ’ ἡμῶν ταῦτα εἰρηκέναι τὸν Κέλσον ἐφιστὰς(7) TLG has: <ὁ> ἐφιστὰς ὅτι οἱ (8) λόγιοι is understood here in at least one manuscript while TLG has πολλοὶ τῶν Χριστιανῶν οὐδὲ τοῖς ἐν ταῖς θείαις γραφαῖς κειμένοις ὀνόμασι καὶ τεταγμένοις ἐπὶ τοῦ θεοῦ χρῶνται ἐν ταῖς εὐχαῖς· ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν Ἕλληνες Ἑλληνικοῖς οἱ δὲ Ῥωμαῖοι ῾Ρωμαϊκοῖς, καὶ οὕτως ἕκαστος κατὰ τὴν ἑαυτοῦ διάλεκτον εὔχεται τῷ θεῷ καὶ ὑμνεῖ αὐτὸν ὡς δύναται· καὶ ὁ πάσης διαλέκτου Κύριος τῶν ἀπὸ πάσης διαλέκτου εὐχομένων ἀκούει ὡς μιᾶς, ἵν’ οὕτως ὀνομάσω, φωνῆς τῆς κατὰ τὰ σημαινόμενα ἀκούων, δηλουμένης ἐκ τῶν ποικίλων διαλέκτων. Οὐ γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐπὶ πᾶσι θεὸς εἷς τις τῶν κεκληρωμένων διάλεκτόν τινα βάρβαρον ἢ ἕλληνα καὶ μηκέτι τὰς λοιπὰς ἐπισταμένων ἢ μηκέτι τῶν ἐν ἄλλαις διαλέκτοις λεγόντων φροντίζειν.

References   [ + ]

Origen on Tongues Updated

A brief explanation to the update and revision of Origen on the Dogma of Tongues

Origen on the Gift of Tongues, now renamed as Origen on the Dogma of Tongues, was one of the first articles generated when the Gift of Tongues Project began over a decade ago. It was a time when the internet had little or few resources to offer in relation to Patristics. Doing morphological analysis was an extremely time consuming work that was in the most part a manual process; the Origen texts kindly offered lots of new words which exacerbated these challenges.

Everything that surrounded this first Origen article was experimental; I was a newbie with translating the Greek and Latin Patristic texts, to building, designing and maintaining a website. It was at a time when foreign languages, the ones like Greek, Hebrew and Syriac who were not of the Latin character set, had a hard time displaying properly on the internet. Workarounds had to be made to accommodate this with varying levels of success.

Today, things have greatly changed. The internet now offers a wide array of digitized Greek dictionaries, significantly more manuscripts have been digitized and available on the internet, the proliferation of ebooks is starting to make scholars’ works more easily accessible for research, and a personal morphological/grammar database that I created to track problem words and grammatical points over ten years ago has over 3,000 entries. Combining all these factors together means that the speed and accuracy of my translation work is likely 50 times faster, more accurate and indepth than it was before.

As I looked at the original blog article regarding Origen on the Gift of Tongues, it demonstrated how far the Gift of Tongues Project has progressed and matured. However, the Origen article showed aspects of the Gift of Tongues Project’s early problems and was in dire need of meeting the current standards of translation, analysis, style, and delivery.

The article name too has changed from Origen on the Gift of Tongues to Origen on the Dogma of Tongues because the Gift of Tongues presents a modern bias that the ancient christian writers didn’t have. The Dogma of Tongues is much better suited to this approach. On the other hand, the title of this subject matter Gift of Tongues Project shall remain because if I used the name, Dogma of Tongues Project, although more true to the current approach, it would be a flop from a marketing perspective. It may have a substantial negative effect on prospective readers and the target audience. So the old title name for this subject will remain.

A thank you to Thomas P. Scheck for his English translation of Origen’s, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans in ebook format. Although I don’t know him personally, this book helped elevate the revision of my Origen article on tongues to a higher level. His translation is a monumental work.

Here is a link to the updated article: Origen on the Dogma of Tongues.

Origen on Knowledge

How to properly translate and understand Origen when he uses knowledge words.

Origen, a third century Church Father considered by many historians to be a great writer and thinker, was very much steeped in Greek literature, structure and thought. This was very much reflected in his writings.

This is especially found in the catena ascribed to him on I Corinthians.(1) See Origen on the Gift of Tongues for the actual translation One is hard-pressed to comprehend the semantics of his knowledge words. This applies to the majority of his other works as well.

Understanding these three words: γνώσις–gnôsis, εἲδησις–eidêsis, and επιστήμη–epistêmê are critical. These words all pertain to different nuances of the word knowledge. First of all, the English vocabulary does not distinguish between different forms of knowledge as the Greeks did. It is a problem of the limitations of the English language. The demand is then to do some dynamic translating which requires personal interpretation. So the the culture, background, and time-frame must be understood to properly reflect Origen’s intent.

The second problem is understanding what Origen meant specifically by these words. The concepts of gnôsis, eidenai and epistêmê have not been static and it depends on which era, culture and religion it is being used in. He was one of the first Christian authors attempting to integrate such terms and may not reflect medieval usage or what we modernly understand these terms to be.

There have been many attempts to distinguish these words with mixed results. Here are a number of examples:

  • Ellen Pagels attempted to do this in her book The Gnostic Gospels:

    …gnosis is not primarily rational knowledge. The Greek language distinguishes between scientific or reflective knowledge (‘He knows mathematics’) and knowing through observation or experience (‘He knows me’). As the gnostics use the term, we could translate it as ‘insight’, for gnosis involves an intuitive process of knowing oneself… Yet to know oneself, at the deepest level is to know God; this is the secret of gnosis.”(The Gnostic Gospels, p xviii-xix) Bentley Layton provides a similar definition in The Gnostic Scriptures: “The ancient Greek language could easily differentiate between two kinds of knowledge… One kind is propositional knowing – the knowledge that something is the case (‘I know Athens is in Greece’). Greek has several words for this kind of knowing-for example, eidenai. The other kind of knowing is personal aquaintance with an object, often a person. (‘I know Athens well’; ‘I have known Susan for many years’). In Greek the word for this is gignoskein…The corresponding Greek noun is gnosis. If for example two people have been introduced to one another, each can claim to have gnosis or aquaintance of one another. If one is introduced to God, one has gnosis of God. The ancient gnostics described salvation as a kind of gnosis or aquaintance, and the ultimate object of that aquaintance was nothing less than God” (The Gnostic Scriptures, p 9).”(2)As foundgnosis.org

  • The influential modern German Philosopher Martin Heidegger added his own thoughts to this:

    To know a person is sometimes eidenai, sometimes gignoskein, which, with the noun gnosis, often has the flavour of knowledge by acquaintance. Epistasthai, ‘to know, etc.’, is, for Heidegger, ‘to be on top of [vorstehen, lit. ‘stand before’] something, know one’s way around it’ – he associates it (controversially) with histanai, histathai, ‘to place, set (up)’, ‘to stand’. The derived noun episteme, ‘knowledge’, means approaching something, knowing one’s way around it, mastering it, penetrating its substantial content (XXIX, 49). Aristotle gave it the meaning of ‘science’, but in a sense distinct from modern scientific ‘research [Forschung]’ and ‘experiment’ (AWP. 74/121. Cf. XIX. 31ff., 91ff.)(3)Michael Inwood. A Heidegger Dictionary. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. Reprinted 2000. Pg. 112 as foundA Heidegger Dictionary

    Science can be one of the common terms used for epistêmê, but it conjures up the wrong images in the English reader’s mind. The translator should emphasize skill or expertise within this context.

  • The above solutions do not easily work with Origen’s Commentary on Corinthians. A more religious framework is needed. This can be found at Wikipedia:

    Gnosis (from one of the Greek words for knowledge, gnôsis is the spiritual knowledge of a saint[1] or mystically enlightened human being. In the cultures of the term (Byzantine and Hellenic) gnosis was a special knowledge or insight into the infinite, divine and uncreated in all and above all,[2] rather than knowledge strictly into the finite, natural or material world which is called Epistemological knowledge. [3] Gnosis is a transcendential as well as mature understanding.[4] It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge[5] and intuitive knowledge, mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis itself is obtained through understanding at which one can arrive via inner experience or contemplation such as an internal epiphany of intuition and external epiphany such as the Theophany.(4)As found at: Wikipedia.

    At first reading, one may conclude that this Wikipedia text was a result of medieval Christian writings, so more inquiry has to be done. Stanford University’s webpage on philosophy is a good starting point. They outline the usage by the neo-Platonic position of Plotinus, whom Origen studied with, “In the first place, epistêmê refers to the particular cognitive state of the first hypostasis from the One, Nous, in which there is an identity between knowledge and what is known (VI. 6. 15). Our souls gain true knowledge by the presence of Nous, although Nous knows non-discursively while our souls characteristically know in a discursive way (V. 9. 7; IV. 3.18). It does all these things with certain knowledge (epistêmê) and not by opinion (I. 3. 4).”(5)As found at: Stanford.edu. Here Plotinus defines epistêmê as a “certain knowledge.”The translator has to be careful about the Christian definition of gnosis, as the early Church fathers such as Clement used the term but made it distinct from the actual term used by the gnostic movement itself. “To be sure, he constantly opposes the concept of gnosis as defined by the Gnostics.”(6) here.

  • Another Wikipedia articles describes the problem also can be found in a number of contemporary languages: “In 1865, philosopher John Grote distinguished between what he described as “knowledge of acquaintance” and “knowledge-about”. Grote noted that these distinctions were made in many languages. He cited Greek (gnônai and eidenai), Latin (noscere and scire), German (kennen and wissen), and French (connaître and savoir) as examples.”(7) The reference is found at Wikipedia.

  • Arthur Versluis, in his book, Magic and Mysticism: an Introduction to Western Esotericism, is one of the best sources for defining the early Church understanding of these words. He documents their use by Origen and other Christian leaders in this same time-frame:

    If heretical Gnosticism in its various forms died out relatively early, the concept of gnosis did not disappear from the Christian world. While heresiarchs like Valentinus and Basilides were remembered in the context of diatribes against them, still the concept of an orthodox Christian gnosis did continue into the medieval period through the work of those we might call “orthodox gnostics:” chiefly Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and most of all, Dionysius the Areopagite. These figures, and particularly the latter two, were imensely influential in later Christianity, and they insisted on the possibility, indeed, the necessity for direct experiential spiritual knowledge. Of these three seminal Christian writers, Origen discusses gnosis the least and largely by implication. For instance, in his Commentary on John, Origen distinguishes between “The Somatic [Bodily] and the Spiritual Gospel” and insists on the importance of both. He affirms the bodily coming of Christ but also affirms the immense importance of John’s “eternal Gospel,” properly called the “spiritual Gospel,” which concerns the “mysteries” and “enigma” of Christ’s life and words. We must, Origen concludes, be Christians “both somatically and spiritually” and partake in the Word (Christ) (I.9). And in his De Principiis. Origen alludes to the celestial “ordering and arrangement of the world,” to the “holy and blessed orders” through which humanity can ascend back to the condition of happiness from which many have fallen (VI.2). Here Origen is referring to the hierarchic orders of thrones, principalities, and dominions, of angelic hierarchies that, by implication, are realms through which humans can ascend to return to their divine condition. But whereas Origen is somewhat oblique about gnosis-it exists as a concept implicit in his work-Clement of Alexandria is much more implicit. In his Stromata, or Miscellanies, Clement writes at length about how “the gnostic alone is truly pious” (VII.1) and affirms that gnostic souls “surpass in the grandeur of contemplation” even the “holy ranks,” for the gnostic who is perfect in virtue and contemplation attains to the “nearest likeness possible to God and his son.” Clement is not at all endorsing heretical Gnosticism but rather is insisting on how gnosis is “a perfecting of man as man, [which is] consummated by acquaintance with divine things,” for by gnosis is faith perfected” (VII.10) In brief, the “gnostic soul, adorned with perfect virtue, is the earthly image of the divine power” (VII.11). The “life of the gnostic,” in Clement’s own view, is “nothing but deeds and words corresponding to the tradition of the Lord” (VII.16).(8)Arthur Versluis Magic and Mysticism: an Introduction to Western Esotericism.  Pg. 37

Perhaps too much is being emphasized out of these words. Origen quotes I Corinthians 12:8-10 in the Header 48 “ἄλλῳ δὲ λόγος γνώσεως” and it simply means gnôsis as knowledge with no hidden, secret or divine meaning. The Septuagint also reflects this with epistêmê meaning only knowledge, ἐν πολλῷ χρόνῳ σοφία, ἐν δὲ πολλῷ βίῳ ἐπιστήμη.” “In length of time is wisdom, and in long life knowledge.”(9)As found at Elpenos Job 12:12

The modern Pentecostal movement may provide a clue. They make this distinction. There is an intellectual knowing, which is the result of using ones deductive reasoning and then there is knowing — a type of knowledge that changes ones perceptions and decision making processes, resulting in transformation, personal growth and changed behaviour. It is the prime impulse that motivates the Christian life and witness. It is not necessarily possessed by those with intellectual ability. They also believe that the intellect on occasion can impede the real knowing.

One also has to factor in two more important things: Origen was firstly a Christian religious zealot, and he not only was influenced by Greek philosophy, but by Jewish writings as well. He cannot be interpreted solely from classical Greek influences but all three. There isn’t strong enough evidence to demonstrate that Origen departed substantially from the Biblical use, but it is fair to assume a slight shift had occurred based on his play of gnôsis against eidenai, but not to the degree many of the above authors have suggested. With these above in mind Origen means gnôsis to be simply knowledge, the type that changes ones world-view and thought processes, ultimately being expressed in action. This is why Clement could write, “the gnostic alone is truly pious”.(10)IBID. Arthur Versluis, Magic and mysticism: an introduction to Western Esotericism.Pg. 37 So it is best to be left as ‘knowledge’. Eidenai is simply a factual knowing. ‘Grasping’ or ‘comprehending’ may be the most suitable English words as it refers the attempt to understand something from an intellectual perspective. Epistêmê is the skill, art or expertise in acquiring facts.

One must understand as well that Origen wasn’t trying to use mysterious philosophical words in his time to illustrate some esoteric christian life. He was attempting to be very practical. His concern in his coverage of I Corinthians was not in the literalness of the text but a personal application; how a person can be transformed and make positive decisions for daily living.■

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Evangelicals and Health Care Ethics

How health care ethics need to be ingrained in the fabric of the evangelical mindset.

Technology has introduced great breakthroughs on issues of life and death but has also naturally brought about new ethical issues that the traditional faith has not been prepared to engage in.

Most evangelicals are left with making life or death decisions, not on the basis of religious piety, but the insistence of economics or social convenience. They are game time decisions made in hospitals and doctors offices. These decisions are not considered the role of the church or faith. It is just what has to be done. Faith comes later.

When to pull the plug, is nowhere to found in the Scriptures. Neither is in-vitro fertilization, surrogate motherhood, or the question, does life begin at birth, conception or when the fertilized egg implants on the uterus? Then there is the other difficult question — when is someone really dead? Families are often forced to make life decisions for their members based on statistical chances of recovery. Others are compelled by insurance or economic costs. Sometimes medical advances have allowed suffering to go beyond normal expectations. What framework are Christians to have to make the numerous and difficult decisions on the grey areas of life and death?

The contemporary dilemmas brought on by modern technology have no immediate parallel in the Scriptures. Readings from the ancients like Tertullian and Augustine could easily be used to strengthen the concept of life from beginning to end but they are moralistic more than technically descriptive.

There is no be-all-to-end-all solution to any of this either. The new technologies are always creating new ethical problems. Evangelicals feel morally strong about the equality of all human life but have little know-how in applying this in the health-care arena.

The problems confronting evangelicals on such new territories are not going away by simply ignoring them.

Evangelicals, along with everyone else, are personally confronted with ethical dilemmas on numerous occasions in their lives. For example, a Christian nurse sees a patient’s health chart has a yellow star on it, which means that the patient is not to be resuscitated if there is a health emergency. On some occasions this may be OK, on others, this could be murder. If an emergency does arise, there is no time to think about it. How does the nurse know what is the right move in God’s eyes? What if it goes against the policy and procedure of the hospital?

Or the husband being tasked a life or death decision about his very sick wife, who is hospitalized, overweight, has diabetes, and is need of open heart surgery. The hospital business administrator asks the spouse to make a life ending decision based on statistical chances of survival and advises that surgery is an unnecessary cost. A decision is required now, or within the next few days. He has to go it alone with what his conscience dictates. If he should say that he wants the treatment to continue, he has to convince a thoroughly skeptical administrator who will push hard to achieve the hospital’s objectives. What should he do?

Most evangelicals assume that conception means the fertilizing of the egg but that is no longer correct. It has changed in the last 60 years from the sperm fertilizing the egg to the successful implantation of the blastocyst into the lining of the womb. This is a very controversial subject and a primary concern from a life perspective to look into. Yet, this has never been the subject of popular scrutiny in the evangelical realm.

Evangelical belief holds surgical abortion is wrong, but the use of a chemical pill, such as misoprostol, to immediately dispel a fetus, seems to be in a grey zone. As one blog commenter noted on using it, “It was private, effective, and relatively painless. It is more “moral” (from my Christian perspective anyway).”(1) As found at pregnancyoptions.info

Ethical problems can be found in some types of pregnancy testing. For example older women are routinely advised by doctors to get testing so that a prognosis can be made whether the fetus has down’s syndrome. It is statistically known that there is a greater chance for older women to have a child with this. If a woman is discovered to be carrying a defective child, the medical system allows the woman to choose to carry or abort. I suspect many Christian women have not considered the ethics of such a practice. They simply do the test on the doctor’s advice whom they implicitly trust.

Physician assisted suicide has recently been opened up for discussion in the Canadian political realm. I have not seen or witnessed any feedback from the grassroots Christian community. The silence and lack of action on such subjects always are concerning.

There are many more examples that could be used but this is sufficient to show that Christians are confronted with these difficult deliberations throughout life.

This is the very battlefield that is thrust upon the church; how to get the conscience of the grassroots members of the church body in tune with these issues from a Christian perspective so when the moment comes to make these life or death decisions, they are made correctly.

Prior education from a Christian perspective is required before these moments occur. It cannot be done at the moment of crisis.

Medical ethics has to be an inherent part of the church curriculum that repeatedly needs to be communicated in both public and private occasions. It cannot be simply a yearly symposium, or two sermons a year. It has to become part of the fabric of the church. This is the only way it can fully enter into the grassroots conscience. The ethics have to be viewed as temporary absolutes and has to change as new medical advances arrive.■

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