Meaningful Cosmos: Logos and Nature in Clement the Alexandrian’s ‘Exhortation to the Gentiles’

  1. Lemma
  2. Meaningful Cosmos: Logos and Nature in Clement the Alexandrian’s ‘Exhortation to the Gentiles’
  3. English
  4. Tampakis, Kostas
  5. Patristic studies - History and philosophy of science - Cosmology- Anthropic principle
  6. 2013
  7. Costache, Doru [Author]. Meaningful Cosmos: Logos and Nature in Clement the Alexandrian’s ‘Exhortation to the Gentiles’
  8. Phronema
  9. Clement of Alexandria - Universe as a scripture
  10. Click Here
    1. The article aims to present Clement the Alexandrian ‘s thought as a possible solution to the problem of seeing the cosmos as another scripture. It focuses on Clement’s Exhortation to the Gentiles, which presents a way of seeing the construal of the Universe as meaningful. The content of the Exhortation, especially the prologue, is studied from a revelational and a soteriological perspective. The paper stresses the centrality of Christ for Clementian thought and explores the ramifications of this core conviction for the cosmos, the gospel and the Old Testament. The paper ends by highlighting the importance of Clement’s worldview for the construal of an alternative to contemporary nihilism. The article begins by describing how contemporary science sees the world as a message without a sender, or more accurately, as a code without a coder. The article proposes that this is a result of the self-imposed limitations of the current scientific enterprise, which sees atheism and agnosticism as components of science. A different view emerges if we allow for the logical necessity of an Encoder, one that Clement of Alexandria can help us elucidate. The article presents Clement ‘s Exhortation to the Gentiles as an apologetic work, which explores the universe to find the order and its meaning in the Logos of God, exemplified by Jesus Christ. After a brief canonical and historical presentation of the Exhortation, the article argues that Clement used this work to present Christ as the Logos, while seeing the cosmos as the channel of communication between man and God. Thus, the whole of creation gives witness to God, even while as it acts as a message written by the divine Logos, decipherable only in conjunction with other channels of the same Logos. The next part of the article deals with the revelational aspect of Clement’s work. It discusses how Clement was adamant in his critique of paganism as a misrepresentation of reality, even accusing the ancient poets of deliberately taking advantage of human ignorance. Instead, the genuine adoration of God springs from the voice of creation itself. Clement is shown to believe that creation possesses theological insight, which signals the pervading action of Logos, revealing its presence and intention to the Universe. Thus, for Clement, cosmology and communication are inseparable. For people who cultivate their natural affinity with the Logos, the universe resounds as a musical instrument. The article then focuses on the soteriological perspective of the Exhortation. In Clementian thought, salvation amounts to the ultimate clarification of the Logos’ foundational message. A trilateral schema is introduced, of the gospel related to the cosmos, of the gospel related to the Old Testament and of the Old Testament related to the cosmos. The gospel of Christ emerges as the fulfillment of human destiny, revealed from the outset by the Sender. Its transformative power resides in the identity of Christ with Logos and with the gospel. The article concludes by summing up Clement ’s work as one providing a depiction of reality in which divine and created factors operate in synergy. As a result, the universe emerges as another scripture, which has the same soteriological parameters as the gospel itself.