How the Divine Spirit came into Man and what then happened to Him – Heraclitus and Origen

Already at the beginning of European culture, the all-important question was asked about truth and the original sources of wisdom.

How the Divine Spirit came into Man and what then happened to Him – Heraclitus and Origen

The philosopher Heraclitus found an answer to it by investigating himself. The philosopher and theologian Origen wanted to incorporate what Heraclitus had recognised into Christianity and was severely punished for it.

Heraclitus (520-460 BC)

3,000 years ago, the Greeks settled in the coastal regions of Asia Minor, now Turkey. This land was already inhabited by the Carians. In Ephesus, the Carian people had built a sanctuary dedicated to the fertility goddess Diana Polymastos”. The term alma mater, the many-breasted nourishing goddess of Ephesus, still exists today. The Greeks built the first stone temple in this temple zone, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It had a base area of about one square kilometer and was 25 meter high. In the temple area of that time, there was also a small forest where Heraclitus lived in seclusion.

For the Carians, initiation still depended on the seasons and the constellation of the stars and planets, among other things. In Ephesian spirituality, Heraclitus brought about an emancipation. He showed that initiation can take place independently of nature, time, place and astronomical phenomena. Only the maturity of the disciple is decisive, which depends on his spiritual experiences, his thinking and his wisdom.

Heraclitus occupies an exceptional position among the Greek philosophers. In him, a consciousness that can think about its own self is perceptible for the first time. And this consciousness contains the idea of the Logos. Whereas at the same time Pythagoras (570-510 B.C.) was collecting knowledge and understanding on his journeys through the then known world and can thus be called a true seeker in today’s sense, Heraclitus stands on a completely different point of view. He says he knows everything! This statement can be related to the statement of the later Socrates (469-399 B.C.), who formulated: I know that I know nothing. Socrates was very knowledgeable; indeed, he was a knowing philosopher. So, this statement can only be about the all-important question of truth and the original sources of wisdom. And with Heraclitus we experience the birth of thought from the Logos, the very source of being. Perhaps the image that Heraclitus still had direct contact with the gods helps. Pythagoras and Socrates, on the other hand, could only gain knowledge from the images of the gods. This explains a certain difficulty for those born later, right up to the present day, to understand Heraclitus.

The Logos idea, on the other hand, has survived over the millennia until today. Heraclitus wrote down his thoughts and deposited his books in the temple of Artemis (the temple of Diana Polymastos). The intention was that only those who were able to do so (by virtue of their position in the temple of Artemis) should have access to these records. His sacred writing was thus to remain protected by the Logos-Goddess. Heraclitus’ explanation on the source of his knowledge has been handed down: “I searched myself!” The accomplished Logos is the original principle of creation. The Logos idea circumscribes the spiritual fire principle that is connected to every being of creation and that man can experience in his own inner being.

Throughout the centuries, this idea of the fire spirit has been carried forward. It also finds expression in the original Greek version of the New Testament: “In the beginning was the Logos; and the Logos was with God, and God was the Logos” (John 1:1).

It is good to realise that the ancient Greek philosophers considered mythology the most suitable means of expression to convey reality. It should be borne in mind that, viewed from today, it is hardly possible to correctly interpret or recognise the situation in the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Social, intellectual and religious manifestations, traditions and threats and reactions to them cannot be measured by today’s standards. Nevertheless, people today can draw valuable insights from ancient philosophy. Poetry was also among the essential primordial phenomena of existence back then. Myth can be seen as a space between truth and untruth. It represents reality in the pictorial play of imagination and inner vision. Within this framework, miracles can at least temporarily suspend the natural order.

Heraclitus calls “fire” the primordial ground of everything

It can be assumed that he wants to answer the question of the “uniform reason” for all forms of appearance. This could be the beginning of spiritual science, especially since Heraclitus’ introduction of the spirit of fire basically abolishes the cosmological “dogma of unity” of antiquity. No longer does the “It has always been so and will remain so” apply.  Perhaps his best-known textual fragment, which has survived the ages, now plays the decisive role: panta rhei, everything flows, everything is undergoing transformation through the fire-spirit of the god. This fire is not a “dormant elemental substance”, but the motor of permanent transformation. Also Heraclitus’ often misunderstood statement is connected to this: “War (struggle) is the father of all things.” This statement influenced Hegel, Marx, Engels and Lenin. It is to be understood primarily in the sense of an inner struggle. The original Islam also took up these thoughts: Jihad, properly understood, represents the inward mental and emotional struggle to do right in the face of Allah. Several surviving fragments of Heraclitus describe an early dualism that necessarily keeps the inner struggle alive:

– People do not understand how the “One” is diver-gently concordant.
– The universe is “all in one”: separated and undivided, what has become and what has not become, it is mortal and immortal.
– The path of the screw, straight and curved, is one and the same, going straight up and round in circles at the same time.
– Nature strives for the “opposite” and brings harmony out of this and not out of the “same”.
– The etheric fire rests in the human body, transforming itself.
– Most of the divine eludes cognition for lack of trust.

At the end of days, all opposites and contradictions of human life are suspended in a higher spirituality and unity. This is how the doctrine of Coincidentia oppositorum, the coincidence of the opposites, arose in the writings of Heraclitus. This philosophic, Ephesian view corresponded to the Logos as postulated by Heraclitus. It is at the same time “word”, i.e. idea and language, thought, i.e. inner process of bringing forth one’s own truth, sense and reason. Man, inspired by the divine Logos, can speak the words: If they have not heard me, but the Logos, it is wise to say, “All is One”.

The activity, the power of the Logos in man, is still unbroken. On the outside it is the application of spiritual creative power. On the inside (on the spirit-soul level), the Logos is the seed of future evolution. It is therefore still in the process of growth. Thus, according to the few fragmentary records of Heraclitus, it can be explained that the Spirit is actively creative via the heart of man and drives the development of a higher consciousness up to a state/evolution in which the divine Spirit power in the developed man leads to a spiritualisation, a sanctification. Confidence and trust are the paths to the Logos.

Yet, though intimately connected with the Logos, man constantly resists. But how can anyone hide from the light that never sets?

Origen (born at the end of the 2nd century A.D.) carries the torch further

Origen is considered by many to be the greatest church father. He is author of about 6,000 books, only fragments of which have survived. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls found in the last century are thought to have been penned by him. Origen introduced the Greek spirit into early Christianity. Persecution, torture and destruction of his writings threatened and accompanied him until his death. He was ordained a priest in Palestine in 230. In his homeland, Alexandria, Egypt, he was deprived of his priestly ordination and excommunicated from the early church. However, he always remained faithful to his church. It is said of him that he fought with his back against the clergy, but with his face for God.

Origen describes the Hegemonikon. It is the place in the heart of every human being where the Logos dwells. He postulates that Christ appears to all the perfected and that he enlightens their Hegemonikon to the knowledge of all things. The Hegemonikon is the innermost sanctuary in man, the primordial atom, the space where the Spirit sows its seed. It is the space of the logos spermatikos, the contact with the spiritual seed.

Throughout his life, Origen was a tireless, devoted teacher, incessantly expressing his thoughts in perfect form even as he spoke. A team of stenographers continuously wrote down his aphorisms and thought fragments.

At a council in Constantinople in 553, nine of Origin’s teachings were condemned as heresy. In 869, the Church decided to abolish the two-souls principle, according to which man possesses an immortal spirit soul in addition to the earthly soul. The two-soul doctrine was banned, a curse that continues to this day. Man lost the divine spirit spark of his inner being from his consciousness, and thus, without being aware of it, the foundations for today’s materialism were laid. The Luciferic, the exaggerated earthly ego, which lacks the connection to the spiritual source, was now also able to enter European civilisation. We are experiencing the results of this in our time.

Origen was tortured and severely maltreated in prison under Emperor Decius. He died of his injuries in 254 and was given the nickname Origen Adamantius, which means the Man of Steel.

He expressed his relationship with the Father-God as follows: If we do not give ourselves over to evil, but make room for God, God sows his seed into our Hegemonikon. He describes the place in us where higher powers of knowledge work as the inside of the sheaths, where the inaccessible is kept. This principale cordis (master of the heart) alone can grasp the truth and is equal to the mysteries of God.

Therein lies the possibility of becoming a Christian. Through the efficacy of the Spirit in the Hegemonikon, man becomes ready to consecrate his life to the divine Spirit, the Logos. Countless people throughout history have been seized by the urge to search for the deeper meaning of things. They have broken through the dogmatic boundaries of the prevailing religions. Especially in our days, the inner God element is once again urging us to set out, right across all areas of life and culture: in science, philosophy, art and spirituality. The immortal truth proclaimed by Heraclitus and Origin breaks through again.

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Date: October 24, 2023
Author: Hermann Achenbach (Germany)
Photo: ancient-Bild von efes auf Pixabay CCO

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