Rebuilding the Foundations
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I will just comment on one chapter of 1 Clement today, chapter 20. In this chapter, Clement discusses the glory of God as revealed in his creation.
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Clement's discussion of God's creation is necessarily limited to the science of his time. Later, he will give the legend of the Phoenix bird as though it were scientific fact. Some of the mysteries he describes are no longer mysteries. Nonetheless, it remans true even today that "the heavens reveal his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). That just means something different to us than it did to the Psalmist or to Clement.
Neither Clement nor David could have dreamed of the majesty of the skies, nebulas bursting forth with new stars throughout the cosmos, those nascent stars lighting up the nebulae like the grandest of stages, full of color and majesty. They did not know that some giant stars explode in a supernova so bright that across light years of space we can see them with the naked eye, even in daylight, for months or years.
There were things Clement could see, though, and the creation declares God's glory whether you have a microscope and telescope or not. Clement marvels at all the following:
Clement's final words in this chapter are unforgettable:
All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while he does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to his compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord.
This is not a very scholarly comment, but "... to us who have fled for refuge to his compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord"; I love it" We have fled "for refuge to his compassions." There we rest, and from there we serve. There is no other basis for our service to others. We love God because he first loved us (1 Jn. 4:19).