Sunday, April 05, 2015

Philo's "De Specialibus Legibus" (XXXVIII.210)-God the Creator

"When you wish to give thanks to God with your mind, and to assert your gratitude for the creation of the world, give him thanks for the creation of it as a whole, and of all its separate parts in their integrity, as if for the limbs of a most perfect animal; and by the parts I mean, for instance, the heaven, and the sun, and the moon, and the fixed stars; and secondly the earth, and the animals, and plants which spring from it; and next the seas and rivers, whether naturally springing from the ground or swollen by rain as winter torrents, and all the things in them: and lastly, the air and all the changes that take place in it; for winter, and summer, and spring, and autumn, being the seasons of the year, and being all of great service to mankind, are what we may call affections of the air for the preservation of all these things that are beneath the moon" (Philo, De Specialibus Legibus XXXVIII.210).


Duncan said...

See section 5.


Edgar Foster said...

I would not put it beyond Philo to be inconsistent since that charge if often made against him. But I did not personally see anything inconsistent with section 5, although I might have overlooked it. He still confirms God as Creator of the world.

Duncan said...

Sorry, I may not have referenced correctly:-

II. (5)

I meant more in terms of creatio ex nihilo.

Edgar Foster said...

Compare his remarks about creatio ex nihilo with 2 Maccabees 7:28.

Edgar Foster said...

Philo outlines his position in that work:

But however that may be, it is exceedingly plain that the world is spoken of by Hesiod as having been created: (19) and a very long time before him Moses, the lawgiver of the Jews, had said in his sacred volumes that the world was both created and indestructible, and the number of the books is five. The first of which he entitled Genesis, in which he begins in the following manner: "in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth; and the earth was invisible and without form." Then proceeding onwards he relates in the following verses, that days and nights, and seasons, and years, and the sun and moon, which showed the nature of the measurement of time, were created, which, having received an immortal portion in common with the whole heaven, continue for ever indestructible.