Monday, June 1, 2015

More Pre Augustine examples of Greek Philophical ideas infecting Christianity

This is meant to lend further credence to the thesis I presented in Plato, Augustine and Traditional Christianity.

Aristides of Athens, He is believed to have died in the 130s AD his only surviving writing is an Apology to Hadrian.  Eusebius and Jerome both agree he had studied Philosophy before his conversion, nothing wrong with that, but it can have an influence.  He could be cited as the first Christian writer to unambiguously condemn Homosexuality.  Yet in fact his allusion to Romans 1 in Section 9 paragraph 3 isn't definitive, the grander context is also emphasizing the Paganism.  But those who would seek to cite him as not condemning all homosexuality would have to be consistent and say he didn't condemn all incest which he mentioned right before.

However since he is writing that Apology to someone known to have engaged in Homosexual behavior, he certainly didn't share the popular modern IFB "Reprobate" doctrine that says Gays aren't eligible for Salvation and thus shouldn't be evangelized at all.

At the end of the Apology he identifies himself as a Philosopher.  Still I feel any negative impact that Philosophy had on him was minimal.  But it is difficult to determine from this writing what exactly his soterology was.

Clement of Alezandria. his passages cited as condemning Homosexuality (the two I'm aware of at leas) I already addressed in an earlier post.  They are not necessarily condemning all Homosexuality either, but also do not contradict the notion that he condemned it as broadly as Plato did.  He expresses in his writings an admiration of Plato and Euhemerus and other Rationalist Greek philosophers.

Some of Clement's views include.

His belief that matter and thought are eternal, and thus did not originate from God, contradicting the doctrine of Creatio ex nihilo.
His belief in cosmic cycles predating the creation of the world, following Heraclitus, which is extra-Biblical in origin.
His belief that Christ, as Logos, was in some sense created, contrary to John 1 but following Philo.
His belief that Eve was created from Adam's sperm after he ejaculated during the night.

Origen Adamantius.  Had been greatly influenced by Clement.  He was raised Christian yet his parents also gave him a Hellenistic education.

Origen, reportedly trained in the school of Clement and by his father, has long been considered essentially a Platonist with occasional traces of Stoic philosophy. Patristic scholar Mark J Edwards has argued that many of Origen's positions are more properly Aristotelian than strictly Platonic (for instance, his philosophical anthropology). Nonetheless, he was thus a pronounced idealist, as one regarding all things temporal and material as insignificant and indifferent, the only real and eternal things being comprised in the idea. He therefore regards as the purely ideal center of this spiritual and eternal world, God, the pure reason, whose creative powers call into being the world with matter as the necessary substratum.

He believed in the Pre-Existence of Souls which is unBiblical.  And he's been cited as supporting Prayer for the Dead.

Origen [185-254] Director of the School of  Alexandria. Origen alluded to
homosexuality in the context  of a discussion  of temptation in his  book "On
Prayer".

He proposed that God does not give us over to temptation with the intent that
we should succumb. God  does not  direct anyone to  evil. "Good  orders every
rational soul with a view to eternal life . .  . it always maintains its free
will and of  its own direction either mounts  ever higher and higher until it
reaches  a  pinnacle   of  virtue,   or on the    contrary  descends  through
carelessness  to this  or that excess   of wickedness. If persons persist  in
sinful activities, they become ensnared by their sin, exchanging the glory of
the immortal God for image made to look like mortal man."  [Romans 1 :23] And
thus  being  of a "depraved  mind"  they  turn to  sexual  and  other  social
exploitation.

Origen was the first to teach something like the modern "Reprobate" doctrine and connected it to Romans 1 ignoring Romans 2.

Both Origen and Clement were often condemned centuries later as Heretics, but that didn't happen immediately.

The Bishop of Alexandria and their successor at the time of the Council of Nicaea was Athanasius.  He seemed to be free of their influence when it came to theology.  But he is also to my knowledge the only attendant of that Council to condemn Homosexuality.

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