This excerpt is from Philo, a writer from the first century CE (Alexandria, Egypt). In this work Jewish philosopher laments about pagan Babel-like confusion, reflecting on how confused the pagans are about one true God of Israel. Philo speaks of being sons of God and ties Logos (God’s Word) to this idea in a very peculiar way.

Those who, as it were, attribute many fathers to existing things, and who represent the company of the gods as numerous, displaying great ignorance of the nature of things and causing great confusion, and making pleasure the proper object of the soul, are those who are, if we must tell the plain truth, spoken of as the builders of the aforesaid city, and of the citadel in it; having increased the efficient causes of the desired end, building them up like houses, being, as I imagine, in no respect different from the children of the harlot whom the law expels from the assembly of God, where it says, “The offspring of a harlot shall not come into the assembly of the Lord.” (Dt. 23:2) Because, like archers shooting at random at many objects, and not aiming skilfully or successfully at any one mark, so these men, putting forward ten thousand principles and causes for the creation of the universe, every one of which is false, display a perfect ignorance of the one Creator and Father of all things;

But they who have real knowledge, are properly addressed as the sons of the one God, as Moses also entitles them, where he says, “Ye are the sons of the Lord God.” (Dt 14:1) And again, “God who begot thee;” (Dt 32:18) and in another place, “Is not he thy father?” Accordingly, it is natural for those who have this disposition of soul to look upon nothing as beautiful except what is good, which is the citadel erected by those who are experienced in this kind of warfare as a defence against the end of pleasure, and as a means of defeating and destroying it.

And even if there be not as yet anyone who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born Word (Logos), the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he (Logos) is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word (Logos), and man according to God’s image, and he who sees Israel. For which reason I was induced a little while ago to praise the principles of those who said, “We are all one man’s sons.” (Gen 42:11).

For even if we are not yet suitable to be called the sons of God, still we may deserve to be called the children of his eternal image, of his most sacred Word (Logos); for the image of God is his most ancient word. And, indeed, in many passages of the law, the children of Israel are called hearers of him that sees, since hearing is honored with the second rank next after the sense of sight, and since that which is in need of instruction is at all times second to that which can receive clear impressions of the subjects submitted to it without any such information. (Philo of Alexandria, Confusion 144–148)

The Bible can provide us with truth, but it can also be difficult to decipher! Whether you're looking for some biblical direction, stumped on scriptural questions, or just want to confirm that you're already on the right track, join the growing community of faculty and students at Israel Bible Center! (Click here to begin your journey of discovery).

8 COMMENTS

  1. Dear Professor Shir, thanks for the good article that you have posted and I really enjoy reading it.

    Again thanks you

    Stephen

  2. This quote from Philo seems to lend itself to the doctrine that Jesus was Michael the archangel? (Not that I subscribe to such a view)

  3. Did Philo write this? It is rather confusing to me as it does not make sense. No offense Rabbi if you are the author.

    • Dear Barbara, no offense taken… The first line of the article plainly says “This excerpt is from Philo, a writer from the first century CE (Alexandria, Egypt).” 🙂

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your name here
Words left: 50
Please enter your comment!