Saturday, January 03, 2009

Historical Apologist: Clement of Alexandria

Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-220) was one of the church fathers who, in contrast to Tertullian, took a positive attitude toward philosophy and Greek learning. Clement held that the Greek writers were able to discern important truths because the divine wisdom, or Logos, is present in all humans. Though philosophy is inferior to and cannot substitute for revelation, Clement thought its study can deepen one's understanding of revelation.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 24.


Theophilus said...

I would first like to define philosophy, because it's meaning is very different today than it was in ancient times. Tertullian rejected philosophical metaphysics, but philosophy also poured over into physics and gave birth to science. I believe that metaphysics if not Jewish or Christian is to be ignored. Yet I believe that some useful ideas have come from phyiscs (in the traditional philosophical sense). Thus I reject pagan metaphysics, but not necessarily physics.

Tertullian is not an irrational fidiest as some portray him (I am no claiming you do just stating a fact), he is not. Reason can have its only basis in God and his word. Tertullian understood this and realized that at least two claimants to reason exist Athens (mans unguided reason) and Jerusalem (man's reason guided by God). I do not believe that Clement disagreed with the second statement, but I believed that he did not appreciate the first.

The Bible warns us to stay a apart from the world. Non-biblical metaphysics like Plato and Aristotle are worldly and potentially harmful to the faith. Can one swallow fire and not get burned, or touch tar and not get sticky? Further more if all revelation from God is complete what metaphysical speculations of men dead in their sins could be of any use to us? Furthermore if as Christians we can tell that Plato got something right we already new from scripture, thus his work in metaphysics is unnecessary for we new it independently of Plato thus making him redundant and unnecessary.

Lothair Of Lorraine said...

Just curious. If the Logos resides in all humans, then where is the necessity for baptism in such a formula?

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