Works by Philo : Table of Contents
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I. There is no existing thing equal in honour to God, but he is the one Ruler, and Governor, and King, to whom alone it is lawful to govern and regulate everything; for the verse-

“A multitude of masters is not good,

Let there one sovereign be, one king of All,”{1}{hom. Il. 2.204.}

is not more appropriate to be said with respect to cities and men than to the world and God, for it follows inevitably that there must be one Creator and Master of one world; and this position having been laid down and conceded as a preliminary, it is only consistent with sense to connect with it what follows from it of necessity. Let us now, therefore, consider what inferences these are. God being one being, has two supreme powers of the greatest importance. By means of these powers the incorporeal world, appreciable only by the intellect, was put together, which is the archetypal model of this world which is visible to us, being formed in such a manner as to be perceptible to our invisible conceptions just as the other is to our eyes. Therefore some persons, marvelling at the nature of both these worlds, have not only worshipped them in their entirety as gods, but have also deified the most beautiful parts of them, I mean for instance the sun, and the moon, and the whole heaven, which, without any fear or reverence, they called gods. And Moses, perceiving the ideas which they entertained, says, “O Lord, King of all Gods,”{2}{#de 10:17.} in order to point out the great superiority of the Ruler to his subjects. And the original founder of the Jewish nation was a Chaldaean by birth, being the son of a father who was much devoted to the study of astronomy, and being among people who were great studiers of mathematical science, who think the stars, and the whole heaven, and the whole world gods; and they say that both good and evil result from their speculations and belief, since they do not believe in anything as a cause which is apart from those things which are visible to the outward senses. But what can be worse than this, or more calculated to display the want of true nobility existing in the soul, than the notion of causes in general being secondary and created causes, combined with an ignorance of the one first cause, the uncreated God, the Creator of the universe, who for these and innumerable other reasons is most excellent, reasons which because of their magnitude human intellect is unable to apprehend? but this founder of the Jewish nation having conceived an idea of him in his mind, and looking upon him as the true God, forsook his native country and his family, and his father’s house, knowing that if he remained, the deceits of the polytheistic doctrine also remaining in his soul would render his intellect incapable of discovering the nature of the one God, who is alone everlasting, and the father of everything else, whether appreciable only by the intellect or perceptible to the outward senses; but if he departed and emigrated, then he saw that deceit would also depart from his mind, which would then change its erroneous opinions into truth. And at the same time the oracular commands of God, which had been given to him, did further excite the desire which he felt to become acquainted with the living God. And he went forth like a man under the immediate guidance of others, with the most unhesitating promptness, to search after the knowledge of the one God; and he did not relax in his search till he had arrived at a more accurate and correct perception, not indeed of his essences (for that is impossible), but of his existence and of his providence; on which account he is the first man of whom it is said that he believed in God, since he was the first who had an accurate and positive notion of him, believing that there is one supreme cause of all things, which by his providence takes care of the world and of all things that are therein. Since the Creator of the world bringing an essence previously without any order and in complete confusion, into distinct order and regularity, began to arrange and adorn the earth and the water, and established them in the middle of the world, and the trees, and air, and fire he drew up from the middle to the higher regions, and he fixed the regions of the aether all around, placing it as a boundary to and a preserver of the things which were inside, from which also it derived its name of Heaven.{3}{horos is the Greek word for boundary, from which Philo thinks that ouranos, “heaven,” is derived.} And these things, then, were the perfect seeds of the whole universe, but the great and all productive tree raised from this seed is this world, of which the aforesaid branches are the offshoots.