InspiringPhilosophy on Christianity and Panentheism

The Promise of Trinitarian Panentheism (Academia.edu)

St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book II, Chapter 2:

“Be not elated on account of thy wisdom,” say the Proverbs. “In all thy ways acknowledge her, that she may direct thy ways, and that thy foot may not stumble.” By these remarks he means to show that our deeds ought to be conformable to reason, and to manifest further that we ought to select and possess what is useful out of all culture. Now the ways of wisdom are various that lead right to the way of truth. Faith is the way. “Thy foot shall not stumble” is said with reference to some who seem to oppose the one divine administration of Providence. Whence it is added, “Be not wise in thine own eyes,” according to the impious ideas which revolt against the administration of God. “But fear God,” who alone is powerful. Whence it follows as a consequence that we are not to oppose God. The sequel especially teaches clearly, that “the fear of God is departure from evil;” for it is said, “and depart from all evil.” Such is the discipline of wisdom (“for whom the Lord loveth He chastens”[1]), causing pain in order to produce understanding, and restoring to peace and immortality. Accordingly, the Barbarian philosophy, which we follow, is in reality perfect and true. And so it is said in the book of Wisdom: “For He hath given me the unerring knowledge of things that exist, to know the constitution of the word,” and so forth, down to “and the virtues of roots.” Among all these he comprehends natural science, which treats of all the phenomena in the world of sense. And in continuation, he alludes also to intellectual objects in what he subjoins: “And what is hidden or manifest I know; for Wisdom, the artificer of all things, taught me.”[2] You have, in brief, the professed aim of our philosophy; and the learning of these branches, when pursued with right course of conduct, leads through Wisdom, the artificer of all things, to the Ruler of all,—a Being difficult to grasp and apprehend, ever receding and withdrawing from him who pursues. But He who is far off has—oh ineffable marvel!—come very near. “I am a God that draws near,” says the Lord. He is in essence remote; “for how is it that what is begotten can have approached the Unbegotten?” But He is very near in virtue of that power which holds all things in its embrace. “Shall one do aught in secret, and I see him not?”[3] For the power of God is always present, in contact with us, in the exercise of inspection, of beneficence, of instruction. Whence Moses, persuaded that God is not to be known by human wisdom, said, “Show me Thy glory;”[4] and into the thick darkness where God’s voice was, pressed to enter—that is, into the inaccessible and invisible ideas respecting Existence. For God is not in darkness or in place, but above both space and time, and qualities of objects. Wherefore neither is He at any time in a part, either as containing or as contained, either by limitation or by section. “For what house will ye build to Me?” saith the Lord.[5] Nay, He has not even built one for Himself, since He cannot be contained. And though heaven be called His throne, not even thus is He contained, but He rests delighted in the creation.

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