Origen De Princ., 4.1.1f

1. Now in our investigation of these important matters we do not rest satisfied with common opinions and evidence of things that are see, but we use in addition, for the manifest proof of our statements, testimonies drawn from the scriptures, which we believe to be divine, both from what is called the Old Testament and also from the New, endeavouring to confirm our faith by reason.  We have not yet, however, discussed the divine character of the scriptures. Well then, let us deal in a brief manner with a few points concerning them, bringing forward in this connexion the reasons that influence us to regard the divine writings.  And first of all, before we make use of statements from the writings themselves and from the event disclosed in them, let us speak of Moses, the Hebrew lawgiver, and of Jesus Christ, the introducer of the saving doctrines of Christianity.

For although there have been very many lawgivers among both the Greeks and barbarians, and teachers who proclaimed doctrines which professed to be the truth, , we have no record of a lawgiver who has succeeded in implanting an enthusiasm for acceptance of his teachings among nations other than his own.  A great apparatus of supposed logical proof has been introduced by men who profess that their philosophy is concerned with the truth, and yet none of them has succeeded in implanting what he regarded as the truth among different nations or even among any number of persons with mentioning in a single nation.

Yet it would have been the wish of the lawgivers to put in force the laws which appeared to them to be good among the whole race of mankind, had that been possible; while the teachers would have wished that what they imagined was the truth should be spread everywhere throughout the world.  But knowing that they could not summon men of other languages and of many nations to the observance of their laws and teachings they wholly refrained even from attempting to do this, considering not unwisely how impossible it was that such a result should happen to them.  Yet all over Greece and in the barbarian part of our world there are thousands of enthusiasts who have abandoned their ancestral laws and their recognised gods for observance of the laws of Moses and of the teaching contained in the words of Jesus Christ, in spite of the fact that those who submit to the law of Moses are hated by worshippers of images and that those who accept the word of Jesus Christ are not only hated but in danger of death. Nevertheless, they embrace and guard with all affection the word of Christ’s teaching.

2. Now if we consider how in a very few years, although those who profess Christianity are persecuted and some are put to death in account of it while others suffer the loss of their possessions, yet, the word has been able, in spite of the fewness of its teachers, to be ‘preached everywhere in the world’, so that the Greeks and barbarians, wise and foolish have adopted the religion of Jesus, we shall not hesitate to say that this achievement is more than human, remembering that Jesus taught with all authority and convincing power that his word should prevail.

Consequently we may reasonably regard as oracles those utterances of his such as, Ye shall be brought before kings and governors for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the gentiles’; and . . . .’Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not eat in thy name and thy name cast out demons? And I shall say unto them, Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity; I never knew you’ Now there was once a possibility that in uttering these words he was talking idly, because they were not true; but when words spoken with such authority have come to pass it shows that God has really become man and delivered men the doctrines of salvation.


5. And what need is there to speak of the prophecies relating to Christ in the Psalms, in which a certain ode is headed, ‘For the beloved,’ whose tongue is said to be the ‘pen of a ready writer’ who is ‘fairer than the children of men’ because ‘grace was poured in his lips’? Now a proof that ‘grace was poured on his lips’ is the fact that although time he spent in teaching was short – for he taught only about a year and a few months – the world has been filled with his teaching and with the religion that came through him.  For there has arisen ‘in his days’ righteousness and an abundance of peace’ lasting until the consummation which is here called the ‘taking away of the moon’; and he continues to ‘have dominion from sea to sea and from the rivers until the end of the earth.’ And a ‘sign’ has been given to the house of David, for the ‘virgin’ did ‘conceive and bear a son,’ and his name is Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’

There has also been fulfilled that which the same prophet says, ‘God is with us. Know it, ye nations, and be overcome; ye that are strong, be overcome.’ For we who have been captured from among the nations have been overcome and conquered by grade of his word. Moreover the place of his birth is foretold in Micah. ‘And thou, Bethlehem,’ it says, ‘land of Judah, art in no way least among the rulers of Judah; for out of thee shall come a governor, who shall shepherd my people Israel.’ And the ‘seventy weeks’ until the coming of Christ the governor were fulfilled in accordance with Daniel’s prophecy. He, too has come who according to Job has ‘subdued the great fish’ and who given the authority to ‘tread on serpents and scorpions and over every power of the enemy,’ without being in any way harmed by them.

Let anyone also consider how the apostles who were sent by Jesus to preach the gospel sojourned everywhere, and he will see that their daring venture was not merely human and that the command was from God.  And if we examine how, when people heard the new teachings and strange words, they welcomed these men, the desire to plot against them being frustrated by some divine power that watched over them, we shall not refuse to believe that they even worked miracles, ‘God bearing witness with their words, and through signs and wonders and manifold powers.