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Apocatastasis (pronounced /poktstss/; from Greek: ) also anglicized as apokatastasis, meaning either reconstitution or restitution[1] or restoration to the original or primordial condition.

Etymology and definition

The Liddell and Scott Lexicon entry,(with expansion of definitions and references) gives the following examples of usage: , , , restoration, re-establishment; Aristotle MM, 1205a4; into its nature id. 1204b 36, 1205b 11; return to a position, Epicurus, Epistolae, 1, p.8 U.; especially of military formations, reversal of a movement, Asclepiodotus, Tacticus, 10.1, 10:6, etc.; :generally of all things Acts, 3.21; of souls, Proclus, Institutio Theologica, 199. of the body back into its old form Aretaeus Medicus CD 1.5; recovery from sickness, SA 1.10;

Polybius 3.99.6; . , into the restoration of the affairs of a city, 4.23.1; Astrological uses: . return of the stars to the same place in the heavens as in the former year, Plutarch 2.937f, Diodorus Siculus 12.36, etc.; periodic return of the cosmic cycle, Stoicorum Veterum Fragmenta 2.184,190; of a planet, return to a place in the heavens occupied at a former epoch, Antiochus Atheniensis Astrologus ap. Cat.Cod.Astr. 7.120,121; but, zodiacal revolution, Paulus Alexandrinus Astrologus Paul.Al.T.1; opposite: antapocatastasis . (q. v.), Dorotheus Astrologus Doroth. ap. Cat.Cod.Astr.2.196.9; restoration of sun and moon after eclipse, Plato Axiochus370b. The word is reasonably common in papyri[2]

According to Edward Moore of St. Elias School of Orthodox Theology, Nebraska Apokatastasis was first properly conceptualized in early Stoic thought, particularly by Chrysippus whose thinking was influenced by the theory of recurrence and cosmic cycles in Babylonian astronomical thought. The return (apokatastasis) of the planets and stars to their proper celestial signs , namely their original positions, would spark a conflagration of the universe (ekpyrosis). The original position was believed to consist of an an alignment of celestial bodies with Cancer. Thereafter, from fire, rebirth would commence, and this cycle of alternate destruction and recreation was correlated with a divine Logos. Antapocatastasis is a a counter-recurrence when the stars and planets align with Capricorn, which would mark destruction by a universal flood.[3] Origen of Alexandria correlated the Stoic's concept of the rebirth and reconstruction of the cosmos with the active guidance and sustenance of the Logos, which is taken to be an emanation of Zeus, when Zeus turns his thoughts outwards once more.[4] In Origen's understanding, in Stoic philosophy, the cosmos is a physical expression of Zeus' perfect thoughts and apocatastasis is the contraction when Zeus returns to self-contemplation.[5]


The concept of "restore" "return" in the Hebrew Bible is the common Hebrew verb ( shuwb/shuv)[6] , as used in Malachi 4:2, the only use of the verb form of apocatastasis in the Septuagint. This is used in the "restoring" of the fortunes of Job, and is also used in the sense of rescue or return of captives, and in the restoration of Jerusalem. This is similar to the concept of tikkun olam in hassidic Judaism.[7]

New Testament
The word, apokatastasis, only appears once in the Bible in Acts3:21. Peter heals a handicapped beggar and then addresses the astonished onlookers. His sermon sets Jesus in the Jewish context, the fulfiller of the Abrahamic Covenant, and says: "He [Jesus] must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything (apocatastasis), as he promised long ago through his holy prophets." The usual view taken of Peter's use of the apokatastasis of "all things" is that it refers to the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel and/or the Garden of Eden and not "all things that ever existed".[8] The verb form "apokatastesai" is found in the Septuagint Malachi 3:23LXX (i.e. Malachi 4:2), as a prophecy of Elijah turning the hearts of the children back to their fathers.

Patristic Christianity
The significance of apokatastasis in early Christianity is today being reevaluated. In particular it is now questioned whether Origen, the most notable advocate of universal salvation did in fact teach or believe in universal salvation.[9]
[10] [11] [12]

Konstantinovsky (2009 )[13] states that the uses of apocatastasis in Christian writings prior to the Synod of Constantinople (544) and the anathema (553) pronounced against "Origenists" and Evagrius Ponticus were neutral and referred primarily to concepts similar to the general "restoration of all things spoken" (restitutio omnium quae locutus est Deus) of Peter in Acts 3:21 and not for example universal reconciliation of all souls which had ever been. The term apokatastasis is not even used in the 553 anathema. A form of apokatastasis was also attributed to Gregory of Nyssa[14] and possibly the Ambrosiaster, attributed to Ambrose of Milan. Gregory of Nazianzus discussed it without reaching a decision. A local Synod of Constantinople (543) condemned a form of apocatastasis as being Anathema, and the Anathema was formally submitted to the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (553). Since apokatastasis had been used earlier in writers commenting on Peter's use in the New Testament, the form of apocatastasic condemened in 543 and 553 was a later development. Origen of Alexandria's other teachings about the possibility of glorified man falling again also played a role in that condemnation.[15] In fact, most historians today would recognize a distinction between Origen's own teachings (or at least those that have survived) and the theological positions of later "Origenists". Even beliefs long attributed to Origen himself, such as a Platonic version of souls existing before bodies, the possibility of a second fall, are found to be much more nuanced and difficult to pin down in Origen's own writings. The Anathema against apocatastasis, or more accurately, against the belief that hell is not eternal, was not ratified despite support from the Emperor, and it is absent from the Anathemas spoken against Origen at Constantinople II. The Alexandrian school adapted Platonic terminology and ideas to Christianity while explaining and differentiating the new faith from all the others.[15] [16] Proponents cited Biblical passage in 1 Corinthians 15:28 [17] ("When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.") in support.


The gnostic Gospel of Philip 180-350c contains the term itself but does not teach universal reconciliation: "There is a rebirth and an image of rebirth. It is certainly necessary to be born again through the image. Which one? Resurrection. The image must rise again through the image. The bridal chamber and the image must enter through the image into the truth: this is the restoration (apokatastasis). Not only must those who produce the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, do so, but have produced them for you. If one does not acquire them, the name ("Christian") will also be taken from him."[18]

Christian theology
In Christian theological usage, apocatastasis means the ultimate restoration of all things to their original state, a restoration generally understood to involve the ultimate salvation of all intelligent creatures, whether human beings or angels, even the devil.[19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] A distinction is drawn between apocatastasis and universal reconciliation in that "it is possible to hold universalist views without believing that all of creation will return to its original state".[19]

In the Reformation Hans Denck was accused of universalism, but did not teach this.[27] The 17th Century saw the first verifiable believers in universal salvation since the 5th Century. These included Gerrard Winstanley (1648), Richard Coppin (1652), mystic Jane Leade, Jeremy White (chaplain) (d.1707). Then in the 18th Century Universalism was brought to the American colonies by George de Benneville and others. The North American Universalist Church was founded by John Murray, Elhanan Winchester and others. In the 20th Century universal reconciliation was taught by Alexander Freytag and believed by the author William Barclay.

[1] Strong's Greek Lexicon (http:/ / www. eliyah. com/ cgi-bin/ strongs. cgi?file=greeklexicon& isindex=apokatastasis) retrieved September 22, 2006 [2] Perseus database entries for apokatastasis (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ wordfreq?lang=greek& lookup=a)pokata/ stasis) listing as follows: 1 Friedrich Preisigke, Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Aegypten; 7 P.Oxy., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri; 7 Polybius, Histories; 2 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews; 2 Diodorus Siculus, Library; 3 Stud.Pal., Studien zur Palaeographie und Papyruskunde; 1 Acts 3:21 New Testament; 1 PSI, Papiri greci e latini; 1 Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers; 2 P.Cair.Masp., Papyrus grecs d'poque byzantine, Catalogue gnral des antiquits gyptiennes du Muse du Caire; 3 P.Ryl, Rylands Papyri; 1 P.Col., Columbia Papyri; 2 P.Flor., Papiri greco-egizii, Papiri Fiorentini; 3 Aretaeus, The Extant Works of Aretaeus, The Cappadocian.; 1 UPZ, Urkunden der Ptolemerzeit (ltere Funde); 1 P.Ross.Georg., Papyri russischer und georgischer Sammlungen; 1 P.Cair.Isid., The Archive of Aurelius Isidorus in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, and the University of Michigan; 1 P.Abinn., The Abinnaeus Archive: Papers of a Roman Officer in the Reign of Constantius II; 1 Pap.Choix, Choix de papyrus grecs: Essai de traitement automatique; 1 P.Athen.Xyla, P.Sta.Xyla: The Byzantine Papyri of the Greek Papyrological Society,; 1 O.Joach., Die Prinz-Joachim-Ostraka [3] Edward Moore, Origen of Alexandria and St. Maximus the Confessor, Universal-Publishers, 2005 pp.25-27. [4] Origen of Alexandria (185-254). The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (http:/ / www. iep. utm. edu/ o/ origen. htm) Retrieved September 20, 2006. [5] Moore, Edward (January 2003). "Origen of Alexandria and apokatastasis: Some Notes on the Development of a Noble Notion" (http:/ / www. quodlibet. net/ articles/ moore-origen. shtml). Quodlibet Journal 5 (1). ISSN1526-6575. . [6] shuwb, lexicon and Bible usage (http:/ / www. blueletterbible. org/ lang/ lexicon/ lexicon. cfm?Strongs=H7725& t=KJV) [7] Michael Lwy, Redemption and utopia: Jewish libertarian thought in Central Europe : a study in elective affinity, Stanford University Press, 1992 p.64. [8] Fitzmeyer The Acts of the Apostles, (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) pp.283-293 [9] Crouzel [10] Root [11] The Westminster Handbook to Origen. ISBN 9780664224721. Author: John Anthony McGuckin. Frederick W. Norris in the article on Apocatastasis in The Westminster handbook to Origen (2004) writes that "As far as we can tell, therefore, Origen never decided to stress exclusive salvation or universal salvation, to the strict exclusion of either case." ed. John Anthony McGuckin p.61. See also Elisabeth Dively


Lauro in the article on Universalism [12] Bruce Demarest, on apokatastasis, The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, p. 67. TP. [13] Konstantinovsky Evagrius Ponticus: the making of a gnostic 2009 p171 [14] Ludlow, Morwenna (2000). "Patristic Eschatology" (http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=U32mir3alW8C& pg=PA30). Universal salvation: eschatology in the thought of Gregory of Nyssa and Karl Rahner. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp.307. ISBN978-0-19-827022-5. . [15] Catholic Encyclopedia, Origin of Alexandria (http:/ / www. newadvent. org/ cathen/ 11306b. htm) retrieved September 22, 2006 [16] Catholic Encyclopedia, Clement of Alexandria (http:/ / www. newadvent. org/ cathen/ 04045a. htm) retrieved September 22, 2006 [17] http:/ / www. biblegateway. com/ passage/ ?search=1%20cor. %2015:28;& version=31; [18] Gospel of Philip (http:/ / www. gnosis. org/ naghamm/ gop. html) [19] [http://books.google.com/books?id=DU6RNDrfd-0C&pg=PA12&dq=apocatastasis&hl=en&ei=NrxoTamQBY2whQfH3YHzDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=res Justo L. Gonzlez, Essential Theological Terms (Presbyterian Pub Corp 2005 ISBN 978-0-66422810-1), p. 12 [20] "Apocatastasis. The Greek name () for the doctrine that ultimately all free moral creatures angels, men, and devils will share in the grace of salvation" (Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article "Apocatastasis"); cf. article "Universalism" [21] "apocatastasis, the idea that all things will be ultimately reconciled to God through Christ including the damned in hell and even Satan and his demons" ( Daniel L. Akin, A Theology for the Church (B&H Publishing Group 2007 ISBN 9780805426403), p. 878). (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=elzlVK5c3dQC& pg=PA878& dq=apocatastasis& hl=en& ei=d-poTbiQCYyzhAeC1ZihDw& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=8& ved=0CEsQ6AEwBzha#v=onepage& q=apocatastasis& f=false)

[22] "Apocatastasis (Gr. 'universal restoration'). A theory, ascribed falsely (it seems) to Origen (ca. 185-ca. 254), and later condemned as heretical, that all angels and human beings, even the demons and the damned, will ultimately be saved" ( Gerald O'Collins, Edward G. Farrugia, A Concise Dictionary of Theology (Paulist Press 2000 ISBN 0-567-08354-3), pp. 14-15). (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=jQooODXx-2wC& pg=PA183& dq=apocatastasis& hl=en& ei=zONoTfK5OYOxhQf16NTsDg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=2& ved=0CC0Q6AEwAThQ#v=onepage& q="universal restoration"& f=false) [23] "One particular Christian expression of a general theology of universalism was apocatastasis, the belief that at the end of time all creatures believers and sinners alike would be restored in Christ." Leon Klenicki, Geoffrey Wigoder, A Dictionary of the Jewish-Christian Dialogue (Stimulus Foundation 1995 ISBN 0-8091-3582-5), p. 228). (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=GsDNhImlaXgC& pg=PA229& dq=apocatastasis& hl=en& ei=aMFoTZfWKY-KhQeK0fWhDw& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=2& ved=0CCsQ6AEwATg8#v=onepage& q=apocatastasis& f=false) [24] "Apocatastasis became a theological term denoting the doctrine, taught by Origen and others, that all men would be converted and admitted to everlasting happiness" ( Maurice Arthur Canney, An Encyclopaedia of Religions (Routledge 1921), p. 28)." (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=FRoMAAAAIAAJ& q=apocatastasis& dq=apocatastasis& hl=en& ei=JMdoTaXtEJGzhAfNtNTsDg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=6& ved=0CDoQ6AEwBTigAQ) [25] "...the doctrine of apocatastasis, i.e., the idea that the whole of creation and all of humanity will ultimately be 'restored' to their original state of bliss" ( John Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology: Historical Trends and Doctrinal Themes (Fordham University Press 1987 ISBN 9780823209675), p. 222). (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=GoVeDXMvY-8C& pg=PA222& dq=apocatastasis& hl=en& ei=3cNoTbmRIs6YhQfBlJXtDg& sa=X& oi=book_result& ct=result& resnum=7& ved=0CEgQ6AEwBjha#v=onepage& q=apocatastasis& f=false) [26] [http://books.google.com/books?id=8FWcNG5U4t8C&pg=PA402&dq=apocatastasis&hl=en&ei=gL1oTd_LAo6xhAe1sM2fDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=res G. C. Berkouwer, The Return of Christ (Eerdmans 1972 ISBN 9780802848123), chapter 13 (pp. 387-423) [27] Why Was Hans Denck Thought To Be a Universalist? MORWENNA LUDLOW Theology Faculty Centre, 41 St Giles, Oxford OX 3LW; Abstract "Hans Denck is commonly cited as a universalist. Probably he was not, but there are several reasons why it was easy for his opponents to claim the opposite: his theology admitted the possibility that all people will be saved; his broadly Origenistic conceptions of freedom, divinisation and punishment tempted opponents to attribute Origen's idea of universalism to him; and he so challenged the core beliefs of mainstream Reformation theology that his opponents may have found it difficult to understand how he could claim that God wills all to be saved, Christ died for all and all are free, without being universalist."

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