Patricia Hofer

The “corporeal” human and the “image of God”

Origen of Alexandria (c. 185 – c. 253): “First God created the heavens, of which he says: ‘Heaven is my throne’ (Isa. 66:1). But after this he made the firmament, that is, the bodily heavens… for, since everything that God was to make would consist of spirit and body, it is thus said that ‘in the beginning’ and before everything else the heavens were made, that is, every spiritual substance above which, as on a throne or chair, God sits. But this heaven here below, the firmament, is corporeal. Consequently that first heaven, which we have called spiritual, is our mind, which is itself spirit; it is our spiritual human being who sees and gazes upon God. But this corporeal heaven, which is called firmament, is our external human being, which sees corporeally. … For no figment of the body contains the image of God, nor is the corporeal human said to be created but formed…But the one who was made ‘in the image of God’ is our internal human, invisible and incorporeal and incorrupt and immortal. The human being made by God in his image and likeness was the first to be so named, and is thus human being in the true sense.” (Spirit & Fire, Ed. Hans ups von Balthasar, 54-55)

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