He believed that all souls existed prior to birth, an idea condemned by the Church in the 6th century and repudiated by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Origen may have proposed a type of reincarnation but his surviving texts are too incomplete and fragmentary to be sure.
We do know that he believed in universal salvation–i.e. the idea that all souls are eventually redeemed and admitted to heaven, even the Devil’s.
A fierce ascetic, Origen castrated himself. C. G. Jung says that this self-castration enabled Origen to remain faithful to an extreme type of Gnosticism. But Jung’s claim is debatable because many mystics prize celibacy due to the transformative potential that is allegedly contained in sperm.
If Origen was a mystic in the way that Jung envisioned him, he most likely would not have castrated himself. Celibate Christian, Hindu and Buddhist mystics all seem to agree that there’s a bio-spirit relationship between profound contemplative states and retained semen (i.e. the ‘seed’ of religious scripture that is not to be spilled on the ground or wasted on lustful sex).
Arrested in 250 CE under the persecutions of the Roman Emperor Decius, Origen suffered prolonged and repeated torture before dying two years later from his injuries.
Once deemed an important Church Father, his ideas continue to influence Protestant theologians.
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