A BIG THANK YOU goes to Sarah and Graham Little who not only booked and arranged the venue of the last gathering in TAMWORTH that we ALL enjoyed so much, but very generously paid for it too.
We honour you and bless you and are so glad that Graham is making an excellent recovery!!
So if you want the family party in your region, go ahead and offer your services to us, we are more than willing to come to where you are. It makes all the difference for us when YOU get involved!!
NEWS: We have much lined up in the coming months, taking this party celebration on the road, places like SWINDON, LONDON are in mind, so keep checking back.
We have a weekend of camping in AUGUST GLORYCAMP, a time of fun, family and plenty of time to enjoy our union of bliss. SEE WEBSITE http://www.thenewecstatics.co.uk for details.
Then there’s SLOSHFEST in NOV, PHILIPPINES in OCT (OH MY)…and muchmore ….!!
‘Church Style 2013’
Loving Janet Bennet’s newly made drawing she shared with us…truly captures family for us!!
So HAPPY DRINKING, hope you appreciate them as much as I do…lots love JOANNE XX
Hell and Restoration – Short Extracts from Early Church Fathers
Compiled and Introduced by David J Wright
In the light of our continuing rediscovery of the goodness of God and His unconditional love towards His creation, many of the accepted doctrines of the Church are currently going though a reexamination. Questions are being asked about the origin of many of the ideas and beliefs that we have been handed down as sacrosanct.
The subjects of Hell and restoration are just two of those topics under investigation and whatever we believe about them, we can be sure our belief will inevitably affect, consciously or unconsciously, our perception of God as well as ‘the man next door’.
As an aid to our investigation I thought it would be good to provide a quick and easy reference to many of the Early Church Fathers’ writings on the subject. I acknowledge there is a wealth of readily accessible material now available via the internet. Documents and papers, that thirty years ago would have been impossible to find, can now be traced with a few clicks of a mouse. However, it still takes a lot of trawling and sifting to get to the backbone of what many of these Fathers really believed and taught.
I have purposely not included writings of Fathers that didn’t teach a final restoration, that quite plainly taught either an annihilation of the wicked, or never-ending punishments for the damned. This would include illustrious names as such as Justin Martyr and St Augustine. Some would argue that some of the Fathers I have included, didn’t believe in a final restitution as some of their other writings clearly show. For one reason or another many of the Fathers recorded views were not always consistent, sometimes completely contradicting what they had said elsewhere on a matter. At the time they had their reasons for writing this way, reasons too complex to discuss here (if interested to investigate these reasons, type “Doctrine of Reserveʼ into Google),but surface reading of their writings can leave a lot of confusion and bewilderment as to where exactly they stood on our subject in question.
Below are a small collection of extracts from many of the famous names in early church history, several of them now regarded by the Church as saints. Most of them spoke ancient Greek as their mother tongue and would have read the New Testament understanding all the idioms and the common word usage of the day.
To illustrate this, I quote just a few examples relating to the Greek word ‘aionios’ which the King James version usually translates as ‘eternal’ or ‘everlasting’:
St JEROME uses the term ‘eternal’ desolation of Amon as ending in their conversion. Of Jerusalem, he says that the city was burnt with ‘eternal’ fire by Hadrian
Elsewhere he says that Israel is delivered over to ‘eternal’ woe
LEO (Augustus) says ‘eternal’ prisoners were released from Hades by Christ.
St HILARY says Jonah escaped from ‘eternal’ bars.
‘Eternal’ obviously meant something different to these Fathers than our understanding of the word today.
The writings of the Fathers indicate that their native use of original Greek can imply that: – ‘Unquenchable’ fires can be extinguished
– ‘Infinite’ ages have an end
– ‘Ceaseless’ can mean terminable
– ‘Eternal’ bars and ‘eternal’ gates can be shattered – ‘Unpardonable’ sin might be pardoned
– The ‘incurable’ may be cured
– ‘Perpetual’ can mean temporary
– The ‘undying’ worm does in fact die.
For non-native scholars, such as Augustine and many since, these more subtle understandings resulting from the familiarity of common usage have been lost and literal translations have been enforced that miss some of the spirit and meaning of the original Greek words.
From the date of the later New Testament writings up until the latter part of the second century we possess only scanty records of writers on Hell and restoration. From the few records we have we can observe that, of the orthodox writers, nearly all allude to some form of future punishment.
Some call it ‘everlasting’ or ‘eternal’ then go on to assert some sort of torments either by annihilation of the wicked or a restoration to bliss. What the most common orthodox view was at this stage cannot be clearly determined.
It is interesting to note that The Bishop of Ancyra, writing in the sixth century, who probably had access to writings that have since disappeared, asserts the universality of a restitution teaching before and after ORIGEN. It is also worth noting that Clement of Alexandria AD150–215, a ‘champion’ of orthodoxy against the heretics and held in very high esteem, was never reprehended by any of his contemporaries for his blatantly outspoken doctrines of hope for all mankind. Might this imply that at least his views were not considered heretical or unorthodox during this period?
During the next 300 years, whilst there is clear evidence of everlasting torments and annihilation still being taught by some, especially from North Africa, most scholars today will admit that the doctrine of a restored creation under Christ which included the whole of humanity wasrecognised as thoroughly orthodox and the most common teaching of that period.
I have tried to keep the extracts chronologically listed by the author’s birth date, however for some I have found no date recorded and others only the date of the writing. However, I think it places them accurately enough to give a good idea of current thought during their time frame.
One more point I need to make is that these extracts are just the tip of an iceberg of early church writings on these subjects. Many pages could have been filled with long expositions and exegesis written by several of these fathers. My intent here is to just give a taster – perhaps even an eye-opener as to early Christian beliefs on these issues.
Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus – Mid Second Century,
The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus is probably the earliest example of Christian apologetics, writings defending Christianity from its accusers. Some count it among the Apostolic Fathers.
The unknown author describes God as one who always was, is, and will be, wrathless.
He describes the ‘eternal’ (aeonian) fire as chastising not ‘without an end,’ but ‘up to an end’.
Theophilus of Antioch – probably written around AD168
Honored by the East and West Orthodox Churches, Theophilus was zealous in combatting the gnostic heresies that were infiltrating the Church.
“And God shewed great kindness to man, in this, that He did not suffer him to continue being in sin for ever; but, as it were, by a kind of banishment, cast him out of Paradise, in order that, having by punishment expiated, within an appointed time, the sin, and having been disciplined, he should afterwards be recalled.”
St CLEMENT of Alexandria – AD150–213
A Christian theologian who succeeded Pantaenus as head of the School of Alexandria. He was tutor to the famous Origin and is honored and respected by both East and West Orthodox Churches. He wrote a book called ‘Miscellanies’ in which he set himself to make a summary of Christian knowledge up to his time.
“All men are Christ’s, some by knowing Him, the rest not yet.”
“He is the Savior, not of some and of the rest not, for how is He Lord and Savior if He is not Lord and Savior of all? He is certainly the Savior of those who believe while of those who do not believe, He is Lord, until having become able to confess Him, they obtain through Him the benefit appropriate and suitable (to their case). He by the Father’s will directs the salvation of all, for all things have been ordered, both universally and in part, by the Lord of the universe; with a view to the salvation of the universe. …But needful correction, by the goodness of the great overseeing Judge, through (by means of) the attendant angels, through various prior judgments, through the final judgment, compels even those who have become still more callous to repent.
“The universe has become ceaseless light. The Sun of righteousness who traverses the universe, pervades all humanity alike. Giving us the inalienable inheritance of the Father … Writing His laws on our hearts. What laws are those He thus writes? That all shall know God from small to great. It is always the purpose of God to save the human flock (humanity).”
“Even Godʼs wrath, if so his admonitions can be called, is full of benevolence towards the human race, for whose sake the Word of God became man”
“…all things are arranged with a view to the salvation of the universe by the Lord of the universe, both generally and particularly.”
“God does nor wreak vengeance, for vengeance is to return evil for evil, and God punishes only with an eye to the good.”
ORIGEN – AD 185–254
A theologian and scholar who became head of the Alexandrian School at only eighteen years old.Huet the historian tells us that “in his day everyone, with hardly an exception, adhered to Origin”. He is one of the most distinguished writers of the Early Church and although, in AD 553 he was declared a heretic by the Fifth General Council, he is today regarded by the Catholic Church as one of the Church Fathers.
“When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole creation is signified.” “All things shall be reestablished in a state of unity, all rational souls restored.”
“We assert that the Word will subdue to Himself all rational natures, and will change them into His own perfection.”
“When the Son is said to be subject to the Father, the perfect restoration of the whole of creation is signified, so also, when enemies are said to be subjected to the Son of God, the salvation of the conquered and the restoration of the lost is in that understood to consist.”
“Seeing, then, that such is the end, when all enemies will be subdued to Christ, when death – the last enemy shall be destroyed, and when the kingdom shall be delivered up by Christ (to whom all things are subject) to God the Father; let us, I say, from such an end as this, contemplate the beginnings of things. For the end is always like the beginning: and, therefore, as there is one end to all things, so ought we to understand that there was one beginning; and as there is one end to many things, so there spring from one beginning many differences and varieties, which again, through the goodness of God, and by subjection to Christ, and through the unity of the Holy Spirit, are recalled to one end, which is like unto the beginning.”
“The Lord, he says, is a propitiation, ʻnot for our sins only,ʼ that is, of the faithful, ʻbut also for the whole world.ʼ Therefore He indeed saves all universally; but some as converted by punishments, others by voluntary submission, thus obtaining the honour and dignity, that ʻtoHim every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth,ʼthat is angels, and men, and souls who departed this life before His coming into the world.”
EUSEBIUS of Caesarea – AD 263–339
The famous Church and Roman historian became bishop of Caesarea in AD 314. His book The History of the Church is a Penguin Classics best seller.
“Christ will therefore subject to Himself everything (the universe), and this saving subjection it is right to regard as similar to that, according to which the Son Himself shall be subjected unto Him, Who subjected to Himself all things … But after the close of everything, He will not dwell in a few, but in all those who are then worthy of the kingdom of heaven. So then shall come to pass, (God being) all in all, when He inhabits as His people ALL .”
“If the subjection of the Son to the Father means union with Him, then the subjection of all to the Son means union with Him … As the apostle, when he said all shall be subjected to the Son, did not mean union of
essence, but obedience flowing from free-will, together with honour and glory which all give Him as the Saviour and King of all. In the same way His subjection to the Father means nothing else than the glory and honour and veneration and exultation and voluntary subjection which He is to give God the Father, when He has made all worthy of His paternal Godhead.”
St METHODS of Olympus – probably written around AD 293
A Christian ecclesiastical author and Bishop of Olympus in Lycia who became a martyr in AD 311
“For it is impossible for an image under the hands of the original artist to be lost, even if it be melted down again.”
“Man, after having been formed for God’s worship … cannot return to discord and corruption.”
St ATHANASIUS of Alexandria – AD 296–373
Known as St Athenasius the Great, he became bishop of Alexandria in AD 328. He was a Christian theologian and chief defender of Trinitarianism against Arianism. He is honored by throughout the Christian Church.
“Christ captured over again the souls captured by the devil, for that He promised in saying, ʻI, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me.”
“When, then, the whole creation shall meet the Son in the clouds, and shall be subject to Him, then, too, shall the Son Himself be subject to the Father, as being a faithful Apostle, and High Priest of all creation, that God may be All in All”
“When the poor in spirit shall have been set in the heavenly kingdom, then every creature, together groaning and mourning, is to be set free from the bondage of corruption … Even the abode of Hell”
St HILARY of Poitiers – AD 300–368
Due to his attacks on the Arizonian heresy he became known as the the ‘Athanasius of the West’. He was Bishop of Poitiers and regarded as a Doctor of the Church’ for his theological input.
“This one sheep is man, and by one man the entire race is to be understood … the ninety and nine are the heavenly angels … and by us (mankind) who are all one, the number of the heavenly church is to be filled up. And therefore it is that every creature awaits the revelation of the sons of God.”
St EPHREM the Syrian – AD 306–373
He wrote a wide variety of hymns, poems, and sermons in verse, as well as prose biblical exegesis. So popular were his works, that, for centuries after his death, Christian authors wrote hundreds ofpseudepigraphal works in his name.
“Christ burst open the most voracious belly of Hades … seeing that Death trembled … and sent forth all whom from the first man up to that time he had kept in bonds.” .
DIDYMUS the Blind – AD 313–398
A renowned theologian and leader at the School at Alexandra. He was a loyal follower of Origen and counted amongst his pupils Palladius, Rufinus and Jerome. Jerome himself said of Didymus that he,”surpassed all of his day in knowledge of the Scriptures”.
“As men, by giving up their sins, are made subject to him (Christ), so too, the higher intelligences, freed by correction from their willful sins, are made subject to him, on the completion of the dispensation ordered for the salvation of all. God desires to destroy evil, therefore evil is (one) of those things liable to destruction. Now that which is of those things liable to destruction will be destroyed.”
“That as by the Son all things endowed with reason received their being, so by Him the salvation of all of them has been wrought out. … For Christ brought peace to all things through the blood of His Cross, whether in heaven or on earth … For as men, by giving up their sins, are made subject to Him, so, too, the
higher intelligences, freed by correction from their willful sins are made subject to Him, on the completion of the dispensation ordered for the salvation of all”
St GREGORY of Nazianzus – AD 329–390
Another ‘Doctor of the Church’ he is remembered as the “Trinitarian Theologian”. Along with St Basil of Caesarea and St Gregory of Nyssa, he is known as one of the ‘Cappadocian Fathers.’
“A few drops of blood renew the whole world and become for all men that, which rennet is for milk, uniting and drawing us into one.”
“Christ, stretching His sacred body to the ends (of the earth, brought thence that which is mortal, and bound it into one man.” Christ is “like leaven for the entire mass (of mankind), and having made that which was condemned, one with Himself, frees the whole from condemnation.”
“…everything shall be subdued to Christ, and they shall be subdued by a full knowledge of Him, and by a remodeling … Now God will be All in All at the time of restitution.”
St BASIL of Caesarea (St Basil the Great) – AD 329–379
Brother of St Gregory of Nyssa and influential theologian and who supported the Nicene Creed and opposed the heresies of the early Christian Church.
“For all things shall be subject to Him, and all things shall acknowledge His empire; and. when God shall be All in All, those who now excite discords by revolts, having been quite pacified, (all things) shall praise God in peaceful concord”.
St MACRINA the Younger – AD 330–379
A sister to St Basil of Caesarea and St Gregory of Nyssa, though obviously not a Church Father, she is highly respected as one of the most prominent nuns of the Eastern Church and had a profound influence upon her brothers.
“The Word seems to me to lay down the doctrine of the perfect obliteration of wickedness, for if God shall be in all things that are, obviously wickedness shall not be in them.”
“For it is necessary that at some time evil should be removed utterly and entirely from the realm of being. For since by its very nature evil cannot exist apart from free choice, when all free choice becomes in the power of God, shall not evil advance to utter annihilation so that no receptacle for it at all shall be left?”
St AMBROSE – AD 330–397
Was Archbishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4thcentury.
“This seemed good to God … to manifest in Christ the mystery of His will … namely, that He should be merciful to all who had strayed, whether in heaven or in earth … Every being, then, in the heavens and on earth, while it learns the knowledge of Christ, is being restored to that which it was created.”
“Christ rose that He might create anew once more those things which He had first made; … that He should restore all those things which He (God) made through Him … and all things that have been made by Him should live in Him as in their Author”
“When every creature learns that Christ is its head, and that Christ’s head is God the Father, then God is All in All; that is to say, that every creature should believe alike, that with one voice every tongue of things in heaven and earth and under the earth, should confess that there is one God from Whom are all things.”
“It is necessary that all should be proved by fire, whosoever they are that desire to return to Paradise. For not in vain is it written, that, when Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise, God placed at the outlet a flaming sword which turned every way. All therefore must pass through these fires, whether it be that Evangelist John whom the Lord so loved, or Peter, who received the keys of the kingdom of heaven.”
St GREGORY of Nyssa – AD 335–395
Bishop of Nyssa, he was termed the ‘the bulwark of the Church against heresy’ He made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed and is highly regarded throughout Christendom.
“When every created being is at harmony with itself … and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; when every creature shall have been made one body … Now the body of Christ, as I have often said, is the whole of humanity.”
“…the power of evil shall be taken away, and they who, on account of their disobedience, were called God’s enemies, shall by subjection be made Godʼs friends. When, then, all who once wereGodʼs enemies, shall have been made His footstool, because they shall receive in themselves the divine imprint, when death shall have been destroyed *… in the subjection of all, which is not servile humility, but immortality and blessedness, Christ is said, by S. Paul, to be made subject to God.”
“… praise shall be sung to God … when every created being shall be harmonized into one choir … and when, like a cymbal, the reasonable creation and that which is now severed by sin … shall pour forth a pleasing strain, due to mutual harmony. Then comes the praise of every spirit for ever abounding with increase unto eternity.”
“For it is needful that evil should some day be wholly and absolutely removed out of the circle of being. For inasmuch as it is not in the nature of evil to exist without the will, when every will comes to be in God, will not evil go on to absolute extinction, by reason of there being no receptacle of it left.”
DIODORUS of Tarsus – in office AD 378–390
Bishop of Tarsus and theologian, he was a strong supporter of the orthodoxy of Nicaea. He founded one of the most influential centers of Christian thought in the Early Church, and many of his students – including John Chrysostom – became notable theologians in their own right.
“For the wicked there are punishments not perpetual, … but they are to be tormented for a certain brief period, according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness, having no end awaits them; … the penalties to be inflicted for their many and grave crimes are very far surpassed by the magnitude of the mercy to be showed them. The Resurrection, therefore, is regarded as a blessing not only to the good but also to the evil.”
St JOHN CHRYSOSTOM – AD 347–407
The Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs, together with Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzus.
“While the devil imagined that he had got hold of Christ (in Hades), he lost all in fact whom he was keeping.” “Christ might “be by all created things equally adored, for to Him ʻevery knee shall bowʼ.”
“By this is inevitably shown that death is plucked up root and branch; … not only was the sin (of Adam) abolished, but also all other sins whatsoever. … not a trace (of death) remains, nor can its shadow be discerned, as it is utterly destroyed.”
St JEROME – AD 347–420
Theologian and historian, and who became a Doctor of the Church. He was the son of Eusebius. He is best known for
his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate)
“So in the restitution of all things, when the true physician, Jesus Christ, shall have come to heal the body of the whole Church, every one … shall receive his proper place … What I mean is, the fallen angel will begin to be that which he was created, and man, who has been expelled from Paradise, will be once more restored to the tilling of Paradise. These things, then, will take place universally.”
“The Cross of Christ has benefited not earth only but heaven … and every creature has been cleansed by the blood of its Lord.”
“By every knee bending in Jesusʼ name is meant ʻthe obedience of the heartʼ. …Christ is subject to the Father in those who are faithful, for all who believe, nay, all the race of man is counted as His members. But in those who are unbelievers, Jews, heathen, and heretics, Christ is said not to be subject, because a part of His members is not subject to the faith. But in the end of the world, when all His members shall have seen Christ, i.e., their own body, reigning, they, too, shall be subject to Christ, i.e., to their own body, so that the whole body of Christ may be subject to God and the Father, that God may be All in All.”
“He will destroy, not for their ruin, but for their amendment … for if He created all things out of nothing, He did not do so in order to destroy that which He had created, but in order that by His mercy the things created should be saved.”
THEODORE of Mopsuestia – AD 350–428
Was bishop of Mopsuestia from AD 392 to 428. He is the best known representative of the middle School of Antioch
(God) “recapitulated all things in Christ * * as though making a compendious renewal, and restoration of the whole creation, through Him, * * Now this will take place in a future age, when all mankind and all powers possessed of reason, look up to Him, as is right, and obtain mutual concord and firm peace.”
St PAULINUS of Nola – AD 354–431
A Latin poet that was held up as an example by many of his contemporaries, including Augustine, Jerome, Martin of Tours, and Ambrose. After his wife’s death he became Bishop of Nola,
“A common disobedience shut up all, in order that faith might heal the whole; so that all the world may be made Godʼs servant.”
VICTORINUS – probably written around 360 A.D
Although given dates references don’t tie up, he was possibly the same Victorinus as St Victorinus ofPettau or of Poetovio. A Catholic ecclesiastical writer who flourished about AD 270, and who was martyred during the persecutions of Emperor Diocletian. Available data is limited regarding this writer.
“In assuming our flesh Christ assumed (the position of) universal word (logos) of flesh … and therefore succored all flesh; as is said in Isaiah, ʻAll flesh shall see the salvation of Godʼ, and in the Psalms, ʻTo You shall all flesh come’ʼ … for in Him were all things universally – the universal soul and the universal flesh – and these were lifted up on the Cross and cleansed by the life-giving God the Word, by (Him Who is) universally (the Word) of the entire universe. For by Him all things were made.”
“He is Jesus Christ because He will save all things unto life.”
“Christ fulfilled the mystery in order that all life with the flesh (after the resurrection) filled with eternal light, should return free from all corruption into the heavens.”
TITUS of Bostra – probably written around 364 AD
A Christian theologian and bishop. St. Jerome names him among writers whose “secular erudition is as marvelous as
their knowledge of Scripture”.
“The very pit itself is a place of torments and of chastisement, but is not eternal. It was made that it might be a medicine and help to those who sin. Sacred are the stripes which are medicine to those who have sinned. Therefore we do not complain of the pits (of hell) – abyssis – but rather know that they are places of torment, and chastisement, being for the correction (of those who have sinned).”
St CYRIL of Alexandria – AD 376–444
Counted among the Doctors of the Church, his reputation within the Christian world has resulted in his titles ‘Pillar of Faith’ and ‘Seal of all the Fathers’. He was made Pope or Patriarch of Alexandria in AD 412
“For when death devoured Him who was the Lamb on behalf of all, it vomited forth all men in Him and with Him. … Now when sin has been destroyed, how should it be but that death, too, should wholly perish ?”
“The force of sin has been dissolved — the evil that has grown out of it, i.e., death has been plucked up from the very root.”
THEODORET of Cyrus – AD 393–457
Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Bishop of Cyrus in Syria.
“For the Lord, the lover of men, torments us only to cure us, that He may put a stop to the course of our iniquity. All these things, He says, I do, and bring in desolation, that I may extinguish men’s madness and rage after idols.”
(Probably written by) St MAXIMUS of Turin – written around AD 422
Bishop of Turin he became their Patron Saint and is the author of numerous theological discourses.
“We read in the Scripture, that the salvation of the entire human race, was won by the Redemption of the Savior … the everlasting safety of the entire world.”
St PETER CHRYSOLOGUS – AD 380–450
Was Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 until his death. He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church and
was declared a ‘Doctor of the Church’.
“In order that, as a woman had corrupted the whole mass of the human race in Adam, by the leaven of death, so should, by the leaven of the Resurrection, restore in Christ the whole mass of our flesh” (all humanity)
“This is the kingdom of God, … when in all men God lives, God acts, God reigns, God is everything.”
THEODORET – AD 393–457
Influential author, theologian and Christian Bishop of Cyrus, he played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church
controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms. He is considered a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church.
“Now the mass shall certainly follow the ‘firstfruits … so shall the whole nature of mankind (all men) follow the Lord Christ, and be made partaker of the Resurrection.”
“Christ being taken as ‘firstfruits,’ the whole nature of man (all humanity) shall know the true God, and chant praises for His loving kindness.”
“All the kings of the earth shall adore Him.’ Some, indeed, in the present life willingly, but all the rest after the Resurrection; for not yet do we see all things subject to Him, but then every knee shall bow to Him.”
St GENNADIUS of Constantinople – AD 458–471
Saint Gennadius,in Greek was the twenty-first Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. He is seen to have been a learnt
writer and followed the Antiochene school of literal exegesis.
“The first fruits shall obtain the totality and the rest of the body shall follow the head….For, said He, when lifted up, I will draw all men unto Myself.” – Rom. ch. viii. 34.
DIONYSIUS the Areopagite – probably written around AD 533
Now recognised as Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, was a Christian theologian and philosopher who penned under the name of Dionysius the Areopagite, the Athenian convert of St. Paul mentioned in Acts 17:34. His works are mystical and show strong Neoplatonic influence.
“Out of Him and through Him is every being and life … every power, every energy … and (all) are being turned into the good and beautiful. All things – whatsoever exist and are formed for the sake of beauty and goodness; and He is beginning and end of all things for (out) ‘of Him and through Him, and unto Him are all things.”
“The good (or beautiful) is the beginning and end of all things.”