Appendix 2 – The Word in Philo

Eusebius, in AD 324, his Church History 2:4, says that “In Gaius’s reign (AD 37 – 41), Philo grew famed as one of the greatest scholars, a Hebrew who was the equal of any of the magnates in Alexandria.” Eusebius lists Philo’s writings at 2:18.

No one thought that Philo wrote by the inspiration by the Holy Spirit. He did not understand the two holy spirits in the Bible, or the kingdom of God. Nonetheless, his concepts are similar to the apostles in these six writings that describe “the Word.”

Allegorical Interpretation

(207) … For no man can rightly swear by himself, because he is not able to have any certain knowledge respecting his own nature, but we must be content if we are able to understand even his name, that is to say, his Word, which is the interpreter of his will. For that must be God to us imperfect beings, but the first mentioned, or true God, is so only to wise and perfect men.

Questions and Answers on Genesis, II

(62) Why is it that he speaks as if of some other god, saying that he made man after the image of God, and not that he made him after his own image? (Genesis 9:6). Very appropriately and without any falsehood was this oracular sentence uttered by God, for no mortal thing could have been formed on the similitude of the supreme Father of the universe, but only after the pattern of the second deity, who is the Word of the supreme Being; since it is fitting that the rational soul of man should bear it the type of the divine Word; since in his first Word God is superior to the most rational possible nature. But he who is superior to the Word holds his rank in a better and most singular pre-eminence, and how could the creature possibly exhibit a likeness of him in himself?

Who is the Heir of the Divine Things?

(188) … the Word, which connects together and fastens everything, is peculiarly full itself of itself, having no need whatever of anything beyond. (cf. Colossians 1:17)

(205) And the Father who created the universe has given to his archangelic and most ancient Word a pre-eminent gift, to stand on the confines of both, and separated that which had been created from the Creator. And this same Word is continually a suppliant to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race, which is exposed to affliction and misery; and is also the ambassador, sent by the Ruler of all, to the subject race. (206) And the Word rejoices in the gift, and, exulting in it, announces it and boasts of it, saying, “And I stood in the midst, between the Lord and you;”

On the Confusion of Tongues

(62) I have also heard of one of the companions of Moses having uttered such a speech as this: “Behold, a man whose name is the East!” (Zechariah 6:12 Greek Septuagint.) A very novel appellation indeed, if you consider it as spoken of a man who is compounded of body and soul; but if you look upon it as applied to that incorporeal being who in no respect differs from the divine image, you will then agree that the name of the east has been given to him with great felicity. (63) For the Father of the universe has caused him to spring up as the eldest son, whom, in another passage, he calls the firstborn; and he who is thus born, imitating the ways of his father, has formed such and such species, looking to his archetypal patterns.

(97) For it is very suitable for those who have made an association for the purpose of learning to desire to see him; and, if they are unable to do that, at least to see his image, the most sacred Word.

(146) And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God’s image, and he who sees Israel. (147) 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.” 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; for the image of God is his most ancient Word.

On Flight and Finding

(112) …for the Word of the living God being the bond of everything, as has been said before, holds all things together, and binds all the parts, and prevents them from being loosened or separated. (cf. Colossians 1:17)

On Dreams, that they are God-Sent

(1: 229) What then ought we to say? There is one true God only: but they who are called Gods, by an abuse of language, are numerous; on which account the holy scripture on the present occasion indicates that it is the true God that is meant by the use of the article, the expression being, “I am the God (ho Theos);” but when the word is used incorrectly, it is put without the article, the expression being, “He who was seen by thee in the place,” not of the God (tou Theou), but simply “of God” (Theou); (1.230) and what he here calls God is his most ancient Word. (cf John 1:1, “God was the Word, Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.”)