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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XX

Early Church Fathers  Index     

20.  The World and Offences.  Various Meanings of World.

Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling.” 5946   The expression “cosmos,” is used in itself and absolutely in the passage, “He was in the cosmos and the cosmos knew Him not,” 5947 but it is used relatively and in respect of its connection with that of which it is the cosmos, in the words, “Lest you look up to the heaven, and seeing the sun, and the moon, and all the cosmos of the heavens, you should stray and bow down to them and worship them.” 5948   And the like you will find in the Book of Esther, spoken about her, when it is written, stripping off all her “cosmos.” 5949   For the word “cosmos,” simply, is not the same as the “cosmos” of heaven, or the “cosmos” of Esther; and this which we are now investigating is another.  I think, then, that the world is not this compacted whole of heaven and earth according to the Divine Scriptures, but only the place which is round about the earth, and this is not to be conceived in respect of the whole earth, but only in respect of ours which is inhabited; for the true light “was in the world,” that is, in the place which is around, conceived in relation to our part of the earth; “and the world knew Him not,” 5950 that is, the men in the region round about, and perhaps also the powers that have an affinity to this place.  For it is monstrous to understand by the world here the compacted whole formed of heaven and earth, and those in it; so that it could be said, that the sun and moon and the choir of the stars and the angels in all this world, did not know the true light, and, though ignorant of it, preserved the order which God had appointed for them.  But when it is said by the Saviour in the prayer to the Father, “And, now, glorify me, O Father, with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was,” 5951 you must understand by the “world,” that which is inhabited by us on the earth; for it was from this world that the Father gave men to the Son, in regard to whom alone the Saviour beseeches His Father, and not for the whole world of men.  Moreover, also, when the Saviour says, “And I come to thee and am no longer in the world,” 5952 He speaks of the terrestrial world; for it is not to be supposed that He spoke things contradictory when He said, “And I come to thee, and I am no longer in the world,” and “I am in the world.”  But also in this, “And these things I speak in the world,” 5953 we must think of the place round about the earth.  And this is clearly indicated also by the words, “And the world hated them, because they are not of the world.” 5954   For it hated us from the time when we no longer “look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen,” 5955 because of the teaching of Jesus; not the world of heaven and earth and them that are therein, all compacted together but the men on the earth along with us.  And the saying, “They are not of the world,” 5956 is equivalent to, They are not of the place round about the earth.  And so also the disciples of Jesus are not of this world, as He was not of the world.  And further also the saying, “That the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me,” 5957 twice spoken in the Gospel according to John, does not refer to the things that are superior to men, but to men who need to believe that the Father sent the Son into the world here.  Yea, and also in the Apostle, “Your faith is proclaimed in the whole world.” 5958



Matt. xviii. 7.


John i. 10.


Deut. iv. 19.


Lomm., following Huet. refers to Esther (The addition to Esther, xiv. 2).  But the word κόσμος does not occur in this passage.  See Jdt. 10:4, 1 Macc. 2:11.


John i. 10.


John xvii. 5.


John xvii. 11.


John xvii. 13.


John xvii. 14.


2 Cor. iv. 18.


John xvii. 21.


John 17:21, 23.


Rom. i. 8.

Next: Chapter XXI