It Has Been Accomplished

From Commentary on Romans (ca. 246)

In my own limited intelligence, I suggest that for God to have raised our Lord Jesus from the dead was a much more praiseworthy and magnificent act than to have made the heaven and the earth, to have created the angels, and established the heavenly powers. Creation involved making something that did not yet exist and which had not been ruined. Resurrection meant reconstructing what had perished, restoring what had been destroyed. The one was accomplished by decree, the other by suffering.

Yet the figure and image of this great magnificent mystery had already been realized in the faith of Abraham. He was commanded to sacrifice his own son, but he believed that God was able to raise him from the dead. He even believed that this would happen for Isaac, but also that the full reality would happen for his promised offspring, Christ. This is the reason he rejoined in offering his son. He realized that this was not the destruction of his entire progeny but the restoration of the world and even the revival of the whole creation, which was renewed through the resurrection of the Lord. This was what the Lord meant when saying of Abraham, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). The faith of Abraham, therefore, can be reasonably compared to the faith of those who believe that God has raised the Lord Jesus. He believed that it would be, we believe that it has been accomplished.

Origen (ca. 185-254) was an Egyptian scholar and theologian, who taught at the Catechetical Schools of Alexandria and Caesarea wrote extensive Biblical commentaries and theological treatises. He was the greatest of the Alexandrian theologians and his allegorical methods of interpretation deeply shaped subsequent Biblical study and ascetical practice. His Commentary on Romans is the oldest extant commentary on the epistle. Aiming to challenge the Marcionite heresy, it emphasizes the harmony between the law and the gospel. The translation is from Patout Burns, ed., Romans: Interpreted by Early Christian Commentators (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012).


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