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Chapter III -- 43

In the worlds, God ‘will change the body of our humiliation into the likeness of the glorious body’ (cf. Phil. 3, 21) of the Lord; and, after all the worlds, he will also make us ‘in the likeness of the image of his Son’ (Rom. 8, 29), if the image of his Son is the essential gnosis of God the Father (VI, 34). This clarifies the temporal sequence of events in the Restoration: First, there will be the Second Coming and all men will receive a spiritual body. With this spiritual body all the minds (noes) will ascend through the contemplation of all the worlds to the contemplation of the Unity. When they will have attained to the contemplation of the Unity, the culmination of the Restoration, then they will be made into ‘the likeness of the image of his Son’, becoming gods without hierarchical differentiation, without names, and even without spiritual bodies: they will be naked minds (noes), so that ‘the likeness of the image of his Son’ is the state of being a naked mind (nous) engaged in the contemplation of the Unity as part of an henad of naked minds (noes). This is what it means to be a coheir of Christ. It is well to recall that in KG V, 81, Evagrius states that a mind (nous) which engages in the contemplation of the Holy Trinity will be called God because it will be able to found diverse worlds. Hence, the significance of what Evagrius is saying in the present chapter is that in the Restoration, in the contemplation of the Unity, all minds (noes) will become gods as part of the henad of naked minds (noes) and that this is what it means for them to be ‘in the likeness of the image of his Son’.

The judgement of God will make whoever will have followed Joshua, to enter into the Promised land (Num. 32, 1–5; Josh. 1, 14–15), in giving him a spiritual body and a world appropriate to him; but he will install those who on account of the abundance of their possessions will not be able to obtain it, on the bank of the Jordan according to their rank (VI, 47). This must refer to the Second Coming of Christ. It seems to suggest that those who have been subject to the passion of avarice will not, in the Second Coming, be able to make the spiritual ascent to the contemplation of the Unity in the Restoration. We do not know what to make of this doctrine that some will be installed on the banks of the Jordan because of the abundance of their possessions. It does not seem to be developed elsewhere in the Kephalaia Gnostica, nor does it seem to be consistent with Evagrius’ doctrine of the universal salvation of all minds (noes) in the Restoration. However, it is to be found in Peri Archon, where Origen, however, does not explain it in any greater detail.[1]

Among the bodies, those which will have been given after the change will be, it is said, spiritual bodies. But if that will happen, in the end, from the matter or from the organa, or bodies, which they will have, examine this, you also, truly (VI, 58). This is clearly a veiled statement of the doctrine, condemned by the Fifth Ecumenical Synod in Anathema 10, that the spiritual body is not merely a transformed human body, but a different sort of thing entirely.

It must be remarked that although the Kephalaia Gnostica is confusing on eschatology, it is somewhat less confusing if one takes into account Peri Archon. It seems that Evagrius was taking Origen’s own theories for granted in writing his own aphoristic chapters. However, we think that the fundamental structural problem of Origen’s attempt to combine a number of incompatible cosmologies into a coherent theory is, apart from Evagrius’ own deliberate wish to be obscure, responsible for the difficulty that we have in comprehending Evagrius on eschatology.

Let us now turn to an evaluation of the Evagrian cosmology from an Orthodox point of view.

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[1] Peri Archon IV, III, 12, pp. 308–9.


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