The Restoration of All Things – Apocatastasis

The early Christian concept of The Restoration of All Things was established in the third century through the sweet wisdom of Origen of Alexandria. It is the antithesis of the eternal damnation doctrine established by the emperor Justinian in 543 AD and reflects the Good News that Jesus taught:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

Edward Moore provides the theological details of the Apocatastasis in his paper entitled: Origen of Alexandria and Apokatastasis. Origen taught that the soul pre-exists human life and that through The Gift of Reincarnation all of the fallen souls will be saved, and returned to God. He rejected the concept that some people are destined for eternal suffering, thus fulfilling Jesus’ promise that not one will be lost:

“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.” (Luke 15:4-5)

A later paper by Edward Moore, Evagrius Ponticus and the Condemnation of Origen, closes with this warming statement:

“In closing, I would like to add that my interest in Origen arises not from any desire to start an Origenist movement in the Orthodox Church, or anything of the sort, rather, my goal is to urge Christians of an intellectual bent to examine, philosophically, doctrines of the Church that are harmful to the noble ideal of absolute human freedom, and also to call for compassion for sinners. No doctrine, in my view, shows more compassion for sinners than apokatastasis – a product of an intellect so inflamed with love for his fellow creatures that he could not even admit that the devil is damned forever.”

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