Clement Of Alexandria Not An After-Death Probationist Or Universalist -- By: William De Loss Love

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 045:180 (Oct 1888)
Article: Clement Of Alexandria Not An After-Death Probationist Or Universalist
Author: William De Loss Love


Clement Of Alexandria Not An After-Death Probationist Or Universalist

Rev. William De Loss Love

Of late, in the “New Departure “controversy, some have gladly and some have regretfully said, that Clement of Alexandria was a believer in after-death probation. Some have gone farther, and said that he believed also in the doctrine of Universal Salvation, even in the salvation of demons, and of Satan the ruler of demons. These views have found some sanction among authors of former days. Several writers have recently quoted Dr. Shedd thus: “Clement and Origen both found the final recovery of Satan and his angels, upon this abiding existence of free-will to good in the rational spirit” (Hist. Chris. Doc, Vol. II, p. 416). Dr. Shedd does not cite Clement’s language to prove his statement, but cites Baumgarten-Crucius. The reference of the latter is to Clement thus: “Now the devil, being possessed of free-will, was able both to repent and to steal; and it was he who was the author of the theft, not the Lord, who did not prevent him” (Miscellanies, Bk. I. chap. 17). Though Clement believed the devil was able to repent, that does not show that he believed he would repent. The passage cited for proof does not prove that Clement believed in “the final recovery of Satan and his angels.” It is not best for evangelical men to be led about by such sort of evidence, or for unevangelical men to trust to it. In our day, the greater portion of theologians believe in the free-will of Satan; and yet, they have not the least expectation that he will ever repent. They believe that something more than power to repent is necessary to repentance.

The second reference of Baumgarten-Crucius to Clement’s testimony is, to Miscellanies, Book seven, chapter twelve. On those several pages, the only possible reference, in either Greek or English, to anything approaching this subject, is in one place to human freedom of choice, and in another to the true Gnostic or Christian, not to Satan, thus: “He, attracted by his own hope, tastes not the good things that are in the world, entertaining a noble contempt for all things here; pitying those that are chastised after death, who through punishment unwillingly make confession.” This does not claim “the final recovery of Satan and his angels.” Its most probable reference is, to punishment after death of sinners of the human race, who are not recovered, because their confession is unwillingly” made. Possibly it is a reference to Clement’s view of purgatory; yet, sinners there confess “willingly.” In connection with this second reference to Clement, Baumgarten-Crucius gives two Greek phrases, apparently the first and last of a sentence, or ...

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