Thursday, March 19, 2015

Philo, Parents, and Creation

Philo is not consistent when it comes to how God created all things. Nevertheless, he does seem to understand BARA as "create" (in the context of Genesis) rather than "to make fat," etc.

De Specialibus Legibus 2.225 states:

For parents themselves are something between divine and human nature, partaking of both; of human nature, inasmuch as it is plain that they have been born and that they will die; and of divine nature, because they have engendered other beings, and have brought what did not exist into existence: for, in my opinion, what God is to the world, that parents are to their children; since, just as God gave existence to that which had no existence, they also, in imitation of his power, as far at least as they were able, make the rest of mankind everlasting.


Duncan said...

Its a pitty that he makes no connection to universe but rather to world.

Duncan said...

What is the source for this quotation ?

Greek or Armenian & any other details?

Duncan said...

"For there is nothing which is devoid of participation in these things; as, for instance, I partake of essence, borrowing of each one of the elements of which the whole world was made, that is to say, of earth and water, and air and fire, what is sufficient for my own existence." ?

Duncan said...

"For all these reasons, and more besides, the number seven is honoured. But there is no one cause on account of which it has received its precedence so completely, as because it is by its means that the Creator and Father of the universe is most especially made manifest; for the mind beholds God in this as in a mirror, acting, and creating the world, and managing the whole universe."

Devision between universe & world. Two creations.

Duncan said...

"The first law is the fountain of all those concerning the government of one supreme Ruler, and they show that there is one first cause of the world, one Ruler and King, who guides and governs the universe in such a way as conduces to its preservation, having banished from the pure essence of heaven all oligarchy and aristocracy, those treacherous forms of government which arise among wicked men, as the offspring of disorder and covetousness."

Note : wicked men.

Edgar Foster said...

Please don't overlook how Philo understands the verb "to create" in this passage. He's not consistent with the ex nihilo concept, but it appears to be present in this text.

The translation comes from the Greek, in which Philo originally wrote. He probably did not know Hebrew/Aramaic.

The passage you cite does not necessarily prove that he's outlining 2 creations. It speaks of two activities, "creating" the world and "managing" the universe. I don't understand that to mean 2 creations. He may even be using "world" and "universe" as synonyms because KOSMOS can mean/denote both concepts.

Duncan said...

On the creation.

XIII. (42) But in the first creation of the universe, as I have said already, God produced the whole race of trees out of the earth in full perfection,

Looks the other way round


the vast sea is an element, being a fourth part of the entire universe, which the men after him denominated the ocean, while they look upon the smaller seas which we sail over in the light of harbours.

Edgar Foster said...

On the Creation XIII. (42) must be read in context. He's certainly not limiting the creation of the "universe" earthly things like plants/trees. For example:

VII. (26) Moses says also; "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth:" taking the beginning to be, not as some men think, that which is according to time; for before the world time had no existence, but was created either simultaneously with it, or after it; for since time is the interval of the motion of the heavens, there could not have been any such thing as motion before there was anything which could be moved; but it follows of necessity that it received existence subsequently or simultaneously. It therefore follows also of necessity, that time was created either at the same moment with the world, or later than it--and to venture to assert that it is older than the world is absolutely inconsistent with philosophy. (27) But if the beginning spoken of by Moses is not to be looked upon as spoken of according to time, then it may be natural to suppose that it is the beginning according to number that is indicated; so that, "In the beginning he created," is equivalent to "first of all he created the heaven;" for it is natural in reality that that should have been the first object created, being both the best of all created things, and being also made of the purest substance, because it was destined to be the most holy abode of the visible Gods who are perceptible by the external senses; (28) for if the Creator had made everything at the same moment, still those things which were created in beauty would no less have had a regular arrangement, for there is no such thing as beauty in disorder.

[And so on-EGF]