(185–254 CE)

Theologian, born in Alexandria and imprisoned during the persecution of Decius (250 CE). Origen was a prolific writer but attracted opposition for his belief that all creatures will ultimately be saved. He was first and foremost a biblical scholar and wrote commentaries on Matthew, Luke, and Romans, and on other books, but these works have not survived. He held that scripture was to be understood under three senses: literal, moral, and allegorical. He wrote a reply to one of the most perceptive pagan opponents of Christianity Against Celsus (247 CE). His theology was influential in the East and was more optimistic than that of Augustine. Humankind is not imprisoned in sin, and no one is compelled to any action (cf. Wisd. 7: 25); but Christ on the Cross defeated the power of the devil, and in the end this love of God will prevail (I Cor. 15: 28).