Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Clement's Phoenix

I remember reading this last year.  In chapters 23-27, Clement introduces the doctrine resurrection by alluding to a phoenix as if it was a real animal that all people knew about.

Finishing his examples of humility, he said to let us not be double-minded or our soul be lifted because of his exceedingly great and glorious gifts.  Let's not divide our loyalties or feel extra proud because of the gifts God has given in grace.  Soon and suddenly shall his will be accomplished.

Let us consider who the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection.  He points to day and night as a resurrection which happens at all times.  The sun goes down and then rises again.
Also, a sower plants crops by sowing a seed which dies and sinks into the ground and then comes back as a plant.

Ultimately, consider the Phoenix.  It burns up and then rises from the ashes.  It travels from Arabia to Hierapolis, Egypt.  The priest examines it on the sun altar, and then the Phoenix flies for another 500 years.

People today laugh, but then people like Ken Ham exist.  What if the Phoenix did have some truth?  I personally cannot imagine a bird burning up or rising from the ashes, but I suppose with certain conditions, it does not actually die; it just burns.  I doubt it would live 500 years as the same bird.  I certainly would not base my theology on the examinations of a pagan priest in Egypt.  There may be truth to the Phoenix, but it's more important that the resurrection is a common enough concept to be borrowed by other cultures and religions.  The people all have a concept of this hope, therefore, it is real according to the ontological argument for existence.

Scripture testifies a resurrection.  We don't need the signs of science, though I thank God for them.  We just believe because Scripture declares it, and Scripture confirms its authenticity.

With this hope, the Corinthian souls should be bound to Him who is faithful in his promises and just in his judgments.  The same goes for today.  Concentrate all your loyalty to Jesus.  America may fail.  Comfortable society may fail.  Because Jesus never fails, Christianity will always have a place on earth until he returns, and to believe otherwise is to not believe in God.

No matter what happens, "when and as he pleases, he will do all things, and none of the things determined by him shall pass away."  Destruction comes because Christ ordained it.  The church will never fade because it is eternally established by him.

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