A READING FROM THE TREATISE ON FIRST PRINCIPLES BY ORIGEN
When we reflect upon statements in holy Scripture concerning the majesty of our Lord and Saviour and consider that he is called the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of all creation, and that in him all things visible and invisible were created: thrones, dominations, principalities, and powers, all were created through him and for him; that before anything was created he already existed and he holds all things in unity – when we reflect upon all this we cannot doubt that he is the one of whom Scripture says: I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that might be written about the glory and majesty of the Son of God. To put into writing everything that relates to our Saviour’s glory would be impossible.
When we ponder these tremendous truths concerning the nature of the Son of God, we are struck with profound amazement at one who is thus exalted above all others, stripping himself of his majesty to become a man and live among men.
But of all the great and wonderful things related of our Saviour, what completely overwhelms the human mind with wonder and is beyond understanding or conception by a weak mortal intelligence is that the mighty Power of the divine Majesty, the very word of the Father, the very Wisdom of God in whom everything visible and invisible was created, is believed to have been confined in a man who appeared in Judea; that the Wisdom of God entered the womb of a woman, was born a baby and cried like a baby; that he was troubled in the face of death, for he himself said: My heart is heavy, even to the point of death; and, finally, that he was brought to what was regarded as the most shameful of deaths, although he rose again on the third day.
When we thus see in him some marks of human frailty that make him seem no different from any other man and others so divine as to befit none but the supreme and inexpressible nature of the Godhead, the feeble human intellect is dumbfounded; it does not know in its amazement what to hold on to or where to turn. If it thinks of God it sees a mortal man. If it takes Christ for a man, it sees this man destroying the sovereignty of death and returning from among the dead with spoils of victory.
This mystery, then, should be contemplated with the most profound awe and reverence. Both natures have to be shown as really present in the one Christ. Nothing unworthy of it must be attributed to the impenetrable divine essence; nor on the other hand must the events of history be regarded as mere illusions.
To make known these things to other people and to explain them in words is far beyond the power of our rank, our intellect, or our language. I think it was beyond the ability even of the holy Apostles. It may be that the entire creation of heavenly powers is unable to comprehend this mystery.
Origen, On First Principles, Lib. 2, cap. 6, 1-2 (PG 11, 200-211), from Word in Season 1