Finally, Tl-i fulLm toncJudcs, the Gospels an J K pi ¿ties reveal both a visible ¿nd an invisible God,"under a manifest and peruoaJI dismu:iion in the condition of both,""' However, in I he incarnation, the invisible nind visible become rectinciksl. and Christ shows us In?; "face" [the " hit her"),' licrt ul I tan may have been t hi nki n g of PanI's descr i ption of tb e face of lesus showing forth the"lij;bt of the knowledge of the glory li1 God "(2 Cor 4:6). Such an argument thereby resolves such seem nig con-tradiclory statement! an Jnhn have never heard |the Father's!
voice or seen his form™ and |ohn [2-A5: ^whoever sees me sees him who sent nte."^' because of its ''derived existence,1* the Pre- incarnate Word is visible by will, and because <>t ii^ human e^itfnc^ the inctmate Word is visible by I its human) nature.
Clem ent of AI e xand ria: Philosophical Aniconism and the Futility of Idols
Clement, i.n very much the same tone as TfcrtuUian, ridiculed (he worship of idols and, by exposing its futility, hoped to convert ihose who followed '.11l It practice. In bis fLxhcwTatton ic rite Creaks, he offers to set some images up for inspection and promises his audience that "vou will, as you go OVef them, lind how truly silly in the custom in which you have ItL-en reared, of worshiping 1be senseless works (if human hands.*11' Tie describes a grcal catalogue of examples to demonstrate his pointr int-luding an image of Artemis made fmin a tree trunk, tine ol Jupiler made front hones, and of Dionysus made from rocks. Exasperated, he finally claims to pity the miserable wretches who [¡ike such ihin^s seriously .liid, prayidg to intakes, get the same result as they would if the> lalked to the walls of their houses. Not particularly dangerous, hut Utterly loolish.he asserts:
I he iemelcsh earth is dishonored by ihc makers- ofimagiS, who thnniie il by ttii.bij an lunctt its proper tidiunc :inJ induce people Id worship iv ,m-,1 lhe Milkers nf pods wonhip nol RtHh and demons hul in my view earth an J in, whlLh 1<i niaki up imii^tv frir truly, 1 hi ima^c L* ordjr Jl^J inatltr nhnptfJ liv 1 he art IVn't tujiJ. Bui -.n1 ii.iw ruj kmiblc imj£c of senai Wt mj1 i l r„ bu l an i mape 1hit pirteiveJ by the mind flfone—Clod, W&O ilotic is 1 rilly t jcmJ
Like Justin and M mucins Fdi^ dement also understood ikat Christians were not unique in iheir teaching that God is invisible- In facl, for him even more (ban those others, this is an imporlant weapon to combat idolatry. In lhis same proselytiiing treatise, he cites &ocrales, Plalo, Xenopbon, Cleanthes. Moses, the Pythagoreans, and the cynic philoso pher Antisthenes (a student of Socrales and the founder ofCynicisni) as exemplars of non-Christian philosopher who had insisted on the transcendent perfection and invisibility of the divine being, Moreover, he adds, such knowledge is native lo humans whethcr educated nr mu, fot if they think about it all, even against llu-ir ivilh they will realize thal God i 1 ■■ i ir-. unbegorren¡, Indestructible, and that 'somewhere on high in the outermost spaces ofthe heavcns. in a prívate watch-tower, God truly exists forever,' \rui he follows this uf1 w¡tti ¿ quotation from I u ripídes: "What naiure, say, must we .i^ui!^' to £rod? Who seei all and yet nevei l\ seen?'l+1
According to Clement, Plato had taught that mortalsare incapable of asustained view oí che divine, sinct its beauty transcendí ihe reflections oí ¡i. in l?oih na ture ¿nd the iinitaiive artstand since neither ¡mmortality ñor absolute perfection c.ui be achieved by humans, God can be contení piated through the human l'aculty of reason but cannot he scen by Mu- oidin^ry cve. rlement dlso claimed that Plato believed that cettain humans might achleve the capacity lo see the tnith, and lile-,!.- people had anticipated both Il-his' dedaration that' blessed .iré the puré i-i liL'.iri, for i lil1 y will see God" (Matt and Pfcul's awurantc that while \ ow L'ivr sel" ihrough .1 mirror in .1-1 enigma, (htn we wili see face to tace1" (1 ('^r I3;I2, authoi'■, translationj Ln r.he meantime, such beatihc visión i, partial or fleeting, and prior to lhe"final perfection" can only be received ln the mind or soul' rhis final perfected visión is the goal of those who ^-L-ek intcllectual and spirirual enlightenmcnt, And, consciously drawing upon philosophical tradición, (Ikmenl cotidudcs ihal 1 Iil- Sypreme One is n*it mereh invisible but transoends ordinary lijdii and expresslon, existing far beyond earthly space and time,
I11 bis exploratiun of the nature nf God in (he Síu*it, Ciernen!
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