᾿Εγὼ τὸ Αλφα καὶ τὸ Ωμεγα, ἠ ἀρχὴ καὶ τὸ τέλος: Aristotelian Teleology and Christian Eschatology in Origen’s De Principiis (An Eriugenian Reading of Origen)
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The central logic of Origen’s De Principiis rests upon the axiom that “the end must be like the beginning.” Despite the importance of this principle, Origen never elaborates upon it, but simply asserts it as the incontrovertible ground of his philosophical and theological system. This thesis is an attempt to unravel this enigmatic axiom with the help of Aristotelian philosophy. While Origen is typically regarded as a “Platonist”, I argue for the equally important Peripatetic character of Origen’s thought. It is this latter element, I maintain, that holds the key as to why “the end must be like the beginning.” In sum, I argue that, as simultaneously the “activity of being” and the “actuality of existence,” God is both the archē and the telos of the created cosmos. As actuality (ἐνέργεια), God eternally creates the world and leads it to perfection; as eternally-being-actualized, the world is eternally created and moved towards perfection – the realization of eternal wellbeing. Despite the shared activity (ἐνέργεια) of Creator and creation, the two remain importantly distinct. Like iron in the fire, the latter becomes ‘like’ (ὁμοίωσις) the former while remaining substantially itself.