Ex Deo: Plotinus, Origen, and MacDonald’s Doctrine of Creation, by Dean Hardy

Ex Deo: Plotinus, Origen, and MacDonald’s Doctrine of Creation

a section from:

The Religious and Philosophical Foundations

and Apologetic Implications

of George MacDonald’s Mysticism


A Disseration


Dean Emitt Hardy



(eventually) submitted in accordance with the requirements for the degree ofDoctor of Philosophy in the subject of Christian Spirituality at the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA


December 2015

Ex Deo: Plotinus, Origen, and MacDonald’s Doctrine of Creation

According to William Raeper, MacDonald believed that “men and women were born out of the heart of God, not Ex Nihilo as traditionally held by the church, and thus MacDonald aligned himself with the Neo-Platonic theories of Plotinus and Origen” (Raeper 1987:243). MacDonald operated under the shadow of Plato; thus not only will MacDonald’s view be explored, but also be compared and contrasted with the neo-platonic doctrines of Plotinus and Origen.

It is believed by most scholars that in the second and third century A.D Ammonius Saccas of Alexandria taught his students the rudimentary knowledge of what will later be dubbed Neo-Platonism. While not much is known of Ammonius since he has no extant writings, there is no doubt, simply by an understanding of his students’ teachings, that he subscribed to the teachings of Plato, or at least a personal interpretation thereof (Riddle 2008:46).  This Platonic influence manifested itself into two of his most influential students: Origen and Plotinus.

(read the entire excerpt by clicking on the PDF below)