Author Topic: Clement of Rome (35-99 A.D.): Globe Earth  (Read 178 times)

Offline Ploughboy

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Clement of Rome (35-99 A.D.): Globe Earth
« on: June 17, 2018, 12:25:51 AM »
Outline Of Subjects

(a) Who was Clement of Rome?
(b) Origen explains Clement's Comment
(c) St.Clement vs.St.Augustine Bout
(d) Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.)
(e) Back To Clement of Rome
(f) An Old Indian Chief Speaks about Washington
(g) BONUS: Clement of Rome Full Context

Who was Clement of Rome? He was the first Successor of the Apostles, consecrated by the Apostle Peter to lead the church of Rome. The peak of his ministry was from 50--97 A.D. He was Bishop of Rome from 88 A.D to the day of his death in 99 A.D. clement knew the Apostles of Christ and is the most important Successors of the Apostles of the church. Therefore his words carry much authority, some argue his words may be Scripture they carry so much weight!

Clement of Rome is mentioned in the Bible (Philippians.4:3),

"And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life."

St.Paul mentions Clement as being written in the Book of Life. No small claim here. Some theologians attribute the author of Hebrews to Clement as it is his grammar and style of writing. Clement's authority as a Successor surpasses all 21st century scholars. Not one scholar can disagree with Clement without falling into heresy. His mention in Php.4:3 by St.Paul obviously placed him in high esteem. He is the first of the early church fathers after the Apostles of Christ. His words my not be Scripture, but they weigh heavy on how Scripture is interpreted. Both quotations are taken from The Ancient Christian Writers series Vol.1. His Epistle To The Corinthians was written in 97 A.D. which is only one or two years after the Apostle John penned Revelation!

“Thus, by His transcendent might He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible understanding He ordered them: the earth He separated from the water now encircling it, and firmly grounded it on the unshakable foundation of His own will” (33:3).

This is referring to a spherical earth. Furthermore, this comment by Clement is referring to the establishment of the heavens and the earth before dry land appeared. This means that only water would have been seen encircling the globe. The next comment, though indirectly spoken, confirms the sphericity of the earth.

“The ocean, impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it are governed by the same decrees of the Master” (20:8).

Here Clement is speaking about antipodes which, in his time, was defined as people who lived on the other side of the earth, or who plant their footsteps opposite to ours. This is what Clement is speaking about. St.Augustine had trouble believing Clement and others about people living on the opposite side of the world. But as it turns out Clement of Rome was correct (Clement 1, Augustine 0).
Back in the 1st century, crossing the oceans to other worlds was not by any means an easy feat and even seemingly impossible. But nevertheless, God still made the seemingly impossible very possible during the rise of Christendom when ship building would become more advanced and eventually Christians would make it over to the other side of the earth.
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Origen Explains Clement’s Comment:

“Clement indeed, a disciple of the apostles, mentions those whom the Greeks call “people of the opposite earth,” and speaks of other parts of the world which none of our people can reach, nor can any of those who live there cross over to us; and these parts themselves he called “worlds,” when he says, “The ocean is impassable to men, and the worlds beyond it are governed by the same ordinances of God the Ruler” (On First Principles, Chapter III verse 6).

Now combine the first quotation from Clement of Rome with his comment about antipodes of opposite earth and you have a clear view of how other early church fathers would have also understood both Clement and the Scriptures. Who you gonna believe: 20th century liberal scholars or 1st a century church father appointed by the Apostle Peter? Clearly the Apostles and earliest of church fathers knew what chuwg meant and how it would translate into other languages. It never translated as a flat earth to them so why would we consider the petty word definitions of 20th & 21st century liberal scholars whose only motive was to appease evolutionists?
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St.Clement vs. St.Augustine bout

St.Augustine indirectly mentions Clement's statement confirming its meaning. This is found in his book City Of God, Book XVI chapter 8. I will quote this from two translations.

"9. The story of the 'antipodes'
As for the fabled 'antipodes', men, that is, who live on the other side of earth, where the sun rises when it sets for us, men who plant their footsteps opposite ours, there is no rational ground for such a belief. The upholders of this notion do not assert that they have discovered it from scientific evidence; they base their conjecture on a kind of priori reasoning. They argue that the earth is suspended within the sphere of the heavens, so that the lowest point and the middle point of the world are identical; and this leads them to suppose that the other half of the world which lies below this part cannot be devoid of human inhabitants. They ignore the fact that even if the world is supposed to be a spherical mass, or if some rational proof should be offered for the superstition, it does not follow that the land on that side is not covered by 'the gathering together of the waters'. Again, even if the land were uncovered, it does not immediately follow that it has human beings on it. For there is no untruth of any kind in Scripture, whose reliability in the account of past events is attested by the fulfillment of its prophecies for the future; and it would be too ridiculous to suggest that some men might have sailed from our side of the earth to the other, arriving there after crossing the vast expanse of ocean, so that the human race should be established there also by the descendants of the first man." (St.Augustine, "City of God," Penguin Classics, p.664).

Now for another translation,

"9. Whether we are to believe in the Antipodes
But as to the fable that there are Antipodes, that is to say, men on the opposite side of the earth, where the sun rises when it sets to us, men who walk with their feet opposite to ours, that is on no ground credible. And, indeed, it is not affirmed that this has been learned by historical knowledge, but by scientific conjecture, on the ground that the earth is suspended within the concavity of the sky, and that it has as much room on one side of it as on the other : hence they say that the part which is beneath must also be inhabited. But they do not remark that, although it be supposed or scientifically demonstrated that the world is of round and spherical form, yet it does not follow that the other side is bare of water ; nor even, though it be bare, does it immediately follow that it is peopled. For Scripture, which proves the truth of its historical statements by the accomplishments of its prophecies, gives no false information ; and it is too absurd to say that some men might have taken ship and traversed the whole wide ocean, and crossed from this side of the world to the other, and that thus even the inhabitants of that distant region are descended from that first man." (St.Augustine, "City of God," Book XVI, chapter 9, p.532; translated by Marcus Dods, D.D.; The Modern Library, NY).

This is a very hard passage from Augustine to follow, I admit. Its in context with an historical view of Antediluvian and early Post-diluvian people. In that discussion Augustine does well. But in between all this there is this chapter in which he stumbled due to his disagreement with earliest church father, Clement of Rome. Not every word Augustine says is false, but his disagreement over antipodes has given Clement the room to land the TKO punch on Augustine, laying him out flat cold.
Augustine is one of the greatest Christian minds known to history. His works are valuable to us even today. But no man is perfect and all men have trouble mentally comprehending certain issues. This antipode issue was a stumbling block to a great many wise men.
Also do not be fooled into thinking Augustine did not know the earth was round. His disagreement is with antipodes and not the shape of the earth itself. It is very clear that Augustine believed in a spherical earth. The following quotation is taken from Augustine’s book The Literal Meaning of Genesis, Vol.1. (Ancient Christian Writers, Vol.41).

“But if the light first created enveloped the earth on all sides, whether it was motionless or travelling round, it could not be followed anywhere by night, because it did not vacate any place to make room for night. But was it made on one side, so that as it travelled it would permit the night to follow after from the other? Although water still covered all the earth, there was nothing to prevent the massive watery sphere from having day on one side by the presence of light, and on the other side, night by the absence of light. Thus, in the evening, darkness would pass to that side from which light would be turning to the other” (p.33).

Here Augustine is speaking about the light God created. He speaks with confidence concerning his own knowledge of the shape of the earth. He sees an earth that is spherical and rotating. He may not of had all the knowledge he would have wanted to know, but the shape of the earth is spoken with confidence.
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Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.)

There is also another Clement...Clement of Alexandria. This Clement is also an early church father from the 2nd century.

The following is taken from his writing called The Instructor, which I’m citing from the very last page of Book III entitled To The Paedagous:

“And when the seasons, in their circling course,
Winter and summer, spring and autumn, each
Should come, according to well-ordered plan;
Out of a confused heap who didst create
This ordered sphere, and from the shapeless mass
Of matter didst the universe adorn;--
Grant to me life, and be that life well spent,
Thy grace enjoying; let me act and speak
In all things as Thy Holy Scriptures teach”
(Ante-Nicene Christian Library, Vol.1).

And the Holy Scriptures taught Clement about the sphere of the earth and the circular course (rotation) of the 4 seasons. How do you get 4 seasons on a flat earth anyway?

Scripture was the basis for understanding fundamental things like the shape of the earth. Such a subject required no special skills back then in interpreting as it does for English speaking people today. Augustine simply messed up with his disdain for the antipode comment made by Clement which he indirectly references, Yet Origen understood it and knew it was also from Scripture. So the Ante-Nicene fathers score on Augustine (a Nicene father). Columbus seals the deal confirming Clement's understanding of Scripture to be the most trusted.
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Back To Clement of Rome.

"“The ocean, impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it are governed by the same decrees of the Master” (20:8).

Here Clement is worried that neither he or his brothers and sisters in Christ will be able to reach the antipodes who live on opposite earth. In his first comment Clement expresses the round shape of the planet, but in this comment he includes people who live on the other side of earth. His frustration here deals with the lack of ship building technology of his time as no one known in his day had a ship that could sail the vast expanse of the ocean to reach those of North, Central and South America. But he does conclude that those peoples are loved by God and watched over and how God will judge these people fairly if they follow the natural law God set forth for them (Rom.2:14-15) and honor the God of gods (the Great Spirit in the case of native Americans) even though they know Him not. Clement wants to bring them the good news of Jesus Christ to the people of opposite earth.
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An Old Indian Chief Speaks about Washington.

This is one of my favorite accounts of President George Washington which is often cited in many discussions on social media. This event happens before Washington becomes the 1st President of the United States. This account is taken from "America's God And Country: Encyclopedia Of Quotations" by William J. Federer, p.636-637,

//"Fifteen years later, Washington and Dr.Craik, a close friend of his from his youth, were traveling through those same woods near the Ohio River and Great Kanawha River. They were met by an old Indian chief, who addressed Washington through an interpreter:

"I am chief and ruler over my tribes. My influence extends to the waters of the great lakes and to the far blue mountains.
I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. It was on the day when the white man's blood mixed with the streams of the forests that I first beheld this chief [Washington].
I called to my young men and said, mark yon tall and daring warrior? He is not of the red-coat tribe - he hath an Indian's wisdom, and his warriors fight as we do - himself alone exposed.
Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies. Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss - 'twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you.
Seeing you were under the special guardianship of the Great Spirit, we immediately ceased fire at you. I am old and soon shall be gathered to the great council fire of my fathers in the land of shades, but ere I go, there is something bids me speak in the voice or prophecy:
Listen! The Great Spirit protects that man [pointing at Washington], and guides his destinies--he will become the chief of nations, and a people yet unborn will hail him as the founder of a mighty empire. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favor favorite of Heaven, and who can die in battle."

The famous Indian warrior, who was in that battle, said:

"Washington was never born to be killed by a bullet! I had seventeen fair fires at him with my rifle, and after all could not bring him to the ground."//

So what we read here further confirms Clement's words about how the people of opposite earth "are governed by the same decrees of the Master” (God). All this was understood by Clement 2000 years before Columbus discovered the new world!
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Clement of Rome Full Context

"20.The heavens revolve by His arrangement and are subject to Him in peace. 2 Day and night complete the revolution ordained by Him, and neither interferes in the least with the other. 3 Sun and moon and the starry choirs, obedient to His arrangement, roll in harmony, without any deviation, through their appointed orbits. 4 The earth bears fruit according to His will in its proper seasons, and yields the full amount of food required for men and beasts and all the living things on it, neither wavering nor altering any of His decrees. 5 The unsearchable decisions that govern the abysses and the inscrutable decisions that govern the deeps are maintained by the same decrees. 6 The basin of the boundless sea, firmly built by His creative act for the collecting of waters, does not burst the barriers set up all around it, and does precisely what has been assigned to it. 7 For He said: Thus far shalt thou come, and they billows shall be turned to spray within thee.. 8 The ocean, impassible for men, and the worlds beyond it are governed by the same decrees of the Master. 9 The seasons--spring, summer, autumn, and winter--make room for one another in peaceful succession. 10 The stations of the winds at the proper time render their service without disturbance. Ever-flowing springs, created for enjoyment and for health, without fail offer to men their life-sustaining breasts. The smallest of the animals meet in peaceful harmony. 11 All these creatures the mighty Creator and Master of the universe ordained to act in peace and concord, thus benefiting the universe, but most abundantly ourselves who have taken refuge under His mercies through our Lord Jesus Christ; 12 to whom be the glory and majesty forever and evermore. Amen" (Clement of Rome; Ancient Christian Writers, Vol.1: "Epistle to the Corinthians," Chapter 20, p.22).
"The heauens are thine, the earth is thine: thou hast layed the foundation of the rounde world, and al that therin is."
~ Psalm 89:11, 1537 Matthew-Tyndale Bible

 

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