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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Epistle to Gregory and Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of John.: Chapter XL

Early Church Fathers  Index     

40.  Christ as Righteousness; As the Demiurge, the Agent of the Good God, and as High-Priest.

Having expiscated the “to us” and the “absolutely”—sanctification and redemption being “to us” and not absolute, wisdom and redemption both to us and absolute—we must not omit to enquire into the position of righteousness in the same passage.  That Christ is righteousness relatively to us appears clearly from the words:  “Who was made to us of God wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”  And if we do not find Him to be righteousness absolutely as He is the wisdom and the power of God absolutely, then we must enquire whether to Christ Himself, as the Father is sanctification, so the Father is also righteousness.  There is, we know, no unrighteousness with God; 4636 He is a righteous and holy Lord, 4637 and His judgments are in righteousness, and being righteous, He orders all things righteously.

The heretics drew a distinction for purposes of their own between the just and the good.  They did not make the matter very clear, but they considered that the demiurge was just, while the Father of Christ was good.  That distinction may, I think, if carefully examined, be applied to the Father and the Son; the Son being righteousness, and having received power 4638 to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man and will judge the world in righteousness, but the Father doing good to those who have been disciplined by the righteousness of the Son.  This is after the kingdom of the Son; then the Father will manifest in His works His name the Good, when God becomes all in all.  And perhaps by His righteousness the Saviour prepares everything at the fit times, and by His word, by His ordering, by His chastisements, and, if I may use such an expression, by His spiritual healing aids, disposes all things to receive at the end the goodness of the Father.  It was from His sense of that goodness that He answered him who addressed the Only-begotten with the words “Good Master,” 4639 and said, “Why callest thou Me good?  None is good but one, God, the Father.”  This we have treated of elsewhere, especially in dealing with the question of the greater than the demiurge; Christ we have taken to be the demiurge, and the Father the greater than He.  Such great things, then, He is, the Paraclete, the atonement, the propitiation, the sympathizer with our weaknesses, who was tempted in all human things, as we are, without sin; and in consequence He is a great High-Priest, having offered Himself as the sacrifice which is offered once for all, and not for men only but for every rational creature.  For without 4640 God He tasted death for every one.  In some copies of the Epistle to the Hebrews the words are “by the grace of God.”  Now, whether He tasted death for every one without God, He died not for men only but for all other intellectual beings too, or whether He tasted death for every one by the grace of God, He died for all without p. 319 God, for by the grace of God He tasted death for every one.  It would surely be absurd to say that He tasted death for human sins and not for any other being besides man which had fallen into sin, as for example for the stars.  For not even the stars are clean in the eyes of God, as we read in Job, 4641 “The stars are not clean in His sight,” unless this is to be regarded as a hyperbole.  Hence he is a great High-Priest, since He restores all things to His Father’s kingdom, and arranges that whatever defects exist in each part of creation shall be filled up so as to be full of the glory of the Father.  This High-Priest is called, from some other notion of him than those we have noticed, Judas, that those who are Jews secretly 4642 may take the name of Jew not from Judah, son of Jacob, but from Him, since they are His brethren, and praise Him for the freedom they have attained.  For it is He who sets them free, saving them from their enemies on whose backs He lays His hand to subdue them.  When He has put under His feet the opposing power, and is alone in presence of His Father, then He is Jacob and Israel; and thus as we are made light by Him, since He is the light of the world, so we are made Jacob since He is called Jacob, and Israel since He is called Israel.



John vii. 18.


Rev. 16:5, 7.


John v. 27.


Heb. ii. 9.


χωρις for χαριτι, a widely diffused early variant.


Job xxv. 5.


Rom. ii. 29.

Next: Chapter XLI