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Scholars and Examples

Everything that exists was, for Celtic Christians, all of a piece under God.

The disposition of the universe must be understood in two respects, namely in relation to God and in relation to things...what is created, subject or restricted to time is itself a created thing, but what is uncreated, powerful and eternal is God himself.

- Anonymous, Liber de Ordine Creaturarum (Irish, 7th century)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...All things were made through him...

- John 1.1, 3

The Liber de Ordine Creaturarum is in many ways a very typical Celtic Christian book. It is anonymous, for one. Celtic Christian historians, poets, artists, and writers did not feel the need to claim credit for work they had done on behalf of the entire community. They served God, and He knew who did what.

Second, it makes a bold attempt to give an account of everything that exists, much like a carved high cross tries to embrace all of creation, all people, and all of Scripture in a single narrative art form. Celtic Christians were interested in everything. The writer of the Liber gives a quick survey of everything that exists, showing how it all derives from and depends on God.

Third, this is a devotional work of scholarship. There is no attempt to separate the science of observing the created world with theologizing about its composition, purpose, and relation to the unseen realm. Everything that exists was, for Celtic Christians, all of a piece under God. They moved back and forth between the seen and unseen realms with relative ease. Both were equally real and equally important to them.

Finally, the Liber is a humble book. It does not claim to be the last word on everything, and it freely admits its dependence on other minds and resources. It goes as far as it can without making extensive claims to have finally arrived at the knowledge of all things. Indeed, the last three words of this wonderful book are "we do not know."

Service, comprehensiveness, spirituality, humility: These are excellent qualities for any Christian scholar to possess. For that matter, they're excellent qualities for any Christian to possess. Would those who know you say these attributes describe your walk with the Lord?

Today in ReVision: What Now? - Now that the election's over, do you think we might find something else to talk about?

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T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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