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Internet Encyclopedia (IE) article on Philo claims that Philo “laid the foundations for the development of Christianity … as we know it today.” It says, “Philo’s primary importance is in the development of the … foundations of Christianity.”

More specifically, it claims that the Logos theology, that became the standard explanation of Jesus after the church became Gentile dominated in the second century, was inspired by Philo, namely, that Philo, by synthesizing Judaism and Greek philosophy, developed concepts which formed the basis for the Christian interpretation of Jesus Christ. IE mentions “Clement of Alexandria, Christian Apologists like Athenagoras, Theophilus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and by Origen” as Christian theologists who used Philo’s concepts to explain the Biblical Son of God.

Furthermore, and much more important, IE claims that Philo influenced the Bible itself. (Philo lived and wrote a few decades before the writers of the New Testament.) IE says, Philo “may have influenced Paul, his contemporary, and perhaps the authors of the Gospel of John … and the Epistle to the Hebrews.”

To justify these statements, IE points to the following similarities between Philo and the New Testament:

Same Titles

In Philo, the Logos exists before everything else and, therefore, is called the “first-born” (IE), “the ‘first-born’ of God” (Blogos), and the first-begotten Son of the Uncreated Father (IE). Consequently, both Philo's Logos and Jesus Christ are called:

  • Logos (the Word - John 1:1),
  • The first-born (Col 1:15; Heb 1:6), and
  • Son of God.

Eternal

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is eternal:

In the NT, the Son "was" in “the beginning” (John 1:1-2) and is “the First and the Last” (Rev 1:17). “His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2). The Arians liked to add, “From everlasting I was established” (Prov 8:23).

Similarly, in Philo, the Logos was begotten from eternity (IE). The Logos has an origin, but as God’s thought, it also has eternal generation (IE). God begat the Logos eternally because it is a manifestation of God’s thinking-acting (IE).

Created and Maintains All Things

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos created and still maintains all things:

In Philo, the Logos is “the organizing principle of matter” (Blogos), the power by which God made and ordered all things (IE), and the bond holding together all the parts of the world (IE).

In John, God created all things through the Logos (John 1:1-3; cf. Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; 1 Cor 8:6) and also maintains all things through His Son (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17).

Entrusted Power

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos receives His power from God:

In Philo, the Logos has no autonomous power, only an entrusted one (Wikipedia).

Similarly, in the New Testament, the miracles which Jesus performed were performed by God “through Him” (Acts 2:22). God “seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion” (Eph 1:17-21).

The Angel of the Lord

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is the Old Testament Angel of the Lord: Many Christians identify the Old Testament Angel of the LORD as the pre-existent Christ. Similarly, Philo describes the Logos as the revealer of God symbolized in the Scripture by an angel of the Lord (IE).

Reveals God

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos reveals the invisible and incomprehensible God to the created things:

In Philo, “God is revealed to His creation through the Logos” (Blogos).

Similarly, in the New Testament, God “alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” but the Son is “the exact representation” of God’s nature (Heb 1:3); “the (visible) image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). Therefore, Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Light

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos illuminates the soul:

In Philo, the Logos illuminates the human soul and nourishes it with a higher spiritual food (Wikipedia). In the mind of a wise man thoroughly purified, it allows preservation of virtues in an unimpaired condition. (IE)

Similarly, Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness” (John 8:12). And John wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.” “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man” (John 1:4, 9).

Begotten

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is neither uncreated as God nor created as men:

In Philo, "the ontology of the Logos would most closely resemble an emanation from the divine essence” (Blogos), and “an extension of a divine being” (IE). The Logos is more than a quality, power, or characteristic of God; it is an entity eternally generated as an extension (IE). Therefore, the Logos … is neither uncreated as God nor created as men (IE).

Similarly, in the NT, the Son is the only being ever “begotten” by the Father. If we interpret this fairly literally, it seems to indicate that He came out of the being of God. The Nicene Creed interprets “begotten” as that He was not created but came from the substance of the Father. The anti-Nicenes warn that humans do not understand what “begotten” of God means and that we should not introduce non-Biblical words or thoughts.

Mediator between God and man

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is the mediator between God and man:

In Philo, the Father is the Supreme Being and the Logos, as his chief messenger, stands between Creator and creature (IE). The Logos is a perfect being, procuring forgiveness of sins and blessings (IE); the mediator between God and men (IE). “The Philonic Logos is the bridge between the infinite God and finite creation” (Blogos).

Similarly, in the New Testament, “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5; cf. Heb 8:6; 9:15). Everything that the creation receives from God, including existence, sustenance, knowledge, and salvation, flows through His Son. Also, through Christ, we draw near to God and worship Him.

Question

It is fairly common knowledge that the pre-Nicene Fathers (the Apologists) explained the Son of God in terms of Greek philosophy. My main question is whether Philo influenced the formulation and contents of the New Testament. Perhaps I can frame the question like this: Jesus and Philo lived at the same time. Jesus said that all power and all judgment have been given Him but He never said that He is the Logos or that God created all things through Him. However, Philo, at that same time, taught that the High God created all things through His Logos. So, did John, Paul, and Hebrews get the idea that Jesus is the Logos and that God created all things through Him from Philo?

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    Given that you ask this Q, then proceed to detail 9 theological matters where you quote Philo as if he, indeed, was a great early influencer with those Christian beliefs, are you just wanting a "Yes" or a "No" answer? I'd be surprised if that was the case, so I wonder how anybody can give any answer that does not entail pages and pages of text, to deal with each of the 9 matters in a historical context. You might better ask 9 questions here.
    – Anne
    Jan 25, 2023 at 11:32
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    This is not a question : it is a statement of opinion. And none of it is scripture-based.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 26, 2023 at 3:35
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    @OnlyTrueGod Yes, and referring to Him as Logos is significant because Logos was a comment term in John's Greek-speaking world. It implies an identification of Him as the Logos of Greek Philosophy. But I think the other parallels to Greek philosophy are even more significant, such as that God created all things through Him and that He is the Mediator between God and man, revealing God to creation. On the other hand, there is also a substantial difference between the Logos of Greek philosophy and the Bible. For example, the Logos of Greek philosophy can never become man.
    – Andries
    Jan 26, 2023 at 7:52
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    @OnlyTrueGod But another aspect is that the identification of the Son of God with the Logos of Greek philosophy through descriptions of Him as Creator, Mediator, Light, Revealer of God, etc., eliminates the idea that the Logos of John 1 is simply the eternal plan of God that has become manifested in the human Jesus.
    – Andries
    Jan 26, 2023 at 7:58
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    The Roman road system is credited by some with the ease of spread of the gospel and the ubiquitous nature of Greek as the language of commerce as well. The same God who raised up Egypt to shield Israel from famine, enslave them, and load them down with earthly riches in the Exodus could certainly raise up a string of thinkers to make commonplace the terms that would be necessary for further revelation. Jan 27, 2023 at 1:12

2 Answers 2

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The following information about Philo of Alexandria has saved me a lot of spade-work. These quotes show the comparative significance of this man with regard to early Christian doctrines.

"Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt, had already interpreted the Hebrew Bible allegorically. Philo of Alexandria was a contemporary of Jesus' who was probably the most influential Jewish biblical scholar and theologian of the ancient Jewish diaspora. He attempted to show the harmony between Moses' teaching and the Old Testament generally and Greek philosophy, especially that of Plato and his followers. Christians in and around Alexandria were deeply influenced by Philo's method of interpreting the Old Testament nonliterally. The Epistle of Barnabas is a notable example. Barnabas says that when Moses forbade eating swine, he really meant, "You must not associate with men who are like swine."

It is tempting now to ridicule such allegorical interpretations as ludicrous, but modern readers should know that they were extremely common in the ancient world, especially in cultures profoundly influenced by Greek philosophy...

One of the most influential church fathers, Tertullian, was appalled at the extent to which some of his contemporaries were using Greek philosophies such as Platonism and Stoicism to explain Christian ideas to pagan audiences. Tertullian asked in rhetorical indignation, "What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the [Platonic] Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians?" One rift running right down the middle of Christian theology from very early on has been that between Christian thinkers who wish to meet critics on their own ground and argue the faith reasonably and even philosophically, and Christians thinkers who see that endeavor as a dangerous accommodation to enemies of the faith. Tertullian represents the latter approach.

...The Jewish scholar Philo had attempted to wed Judaism and Greek philosophy in Alexandria, Egypt. His great influence there among both Jews and Gentile God-fearers probably helps to explain why Alexandrian Christians in the second and third centuries were most open to this project of explaining the Bible and Christian belief philosophically. Some of the apologists emulated Philo's positive evaluation of Greek philosophers... Philo's approach to Jewish thought was already widely accepted (though not without controversy) among Jews of the diaspora, and Christian apologists of the second century built on that foundation in order to show a similar consistency between the best of Hellenistic thought and their own fairly sophisticated versions of the Christian message.

...Moses and Plato fit together nicely in Philo's version of Jewish Middle Platonism.

...When [Origen] turned to Scripture and its interpretation, Origen showed his true Alexandrian colors by emphasizing the spiritual meaning of much of it and the allegorical method of its interpretation... Like Philo before him, Origen distinguished among three levels of meaning in Scripture ...[which] correspond to the three aspects of the human person; corporeal (bodily), soulish (rational and ethical) and spiritual (having to do with salvation in the highest sense).

...[Origen] was unduly influenced by the Greek philosophical theism of the Platonic tradition... On many things Origen was willing to stand firmly against Greek culture and philosophy, but in the doctrine of God's attributes he seemed to capitulate all too readily to Greek metaphysical assumptions about emotion as evidence of imperfection.

...Many early Christian thinkers borrowed their hermeneutical strategies from Philo." The Story of Christian Theology, pp 49, 54-55, 57, 106-107, 202, Roger E. Olson, Apollos, 1999 [Bold emphases mine]

My answer is that Christian theology that is sound comes from the whole of the Bible, minus contamination with Greek (or any other philosophy). Once hermeneutics becomes entangled in various philosophies (be they ancient or modern) then conclusions will be skewed. This is seen today with modern trends in many Christian circles to incorporate current social views and practices. That, in turn, leads to doctrine being either changed or ignored.

As Philo was a contemporary of Jesus, he certainly had great influence in the early Church, but the foundations for Christianity had already been laid by Jesus and the Apostles, as carefully recorded in writing by eye-witnesses (see Jude verse 3). In the nine examples of Plato's views given, there are points that agree with the written record of scripture, and there are others that start to veer off at a tangent. I will not examine each point individually, for I believe Philo's hermeneutical strategies to have been contaminated with a desire to attract Greek thinkers, not by the pure, biblical gospel, but by bending over to accommodate some pagan notions, to appeal to those who held them. We see much the same type of compromise in some of today's Christian circles.

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  • Up-Voted +1. The statements of opinion in the so-called 'question' are not scriptural (or hermeneutic) arguments.
    – Nigel J
    Jan 26, 2023 at 3:36
  • Anne, thanks for your answer. What is your source? Do you have an internet link? What you stated is fairly consistent with what I already know. I know that the pre-Nicene Fathers attempted to reconcile the NT with Greek philosophy, just like Philo attempted to reconcile the OT with Greek philosophy. But that is not my worry. My main question is: Did Philo influence the formulation of the Bible? That you did not get to. I think I need to clarify my question.
    – Andries
    Jan 26, 2023 at 5:44
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    @Andries. My source is detailed at the end of the quotes. It is a 641 page book. I have no idea if any or all of it is on-line. I work from printed books and articles as much as possible because on-line versions can be changed by the authors. With books, that requires a new edition. Some unscrupulous people don't say when or where they've changed their web-pages from earlier publications. I object to you having changed the Q. You need some evidence that Philo caused apostles to follow his views before writing and not that the NT influenced him first, before he became mired in Greek philosophy.
    – Anne
    Jan 26, 2023 at 12:29
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    @Anne, my question lists 9 parallels between the Bible and Philo. It does not list parallels between early church fathers and Philo. Furthermore, right at the beginning of the question I said "IE claims that Philo influenced the Bible itself." So, I believe it should have been clear that what I want is an explanation of the similarities between the Bible and Philo. I did not change the question; I clarified it.
    – Andries
    Jan 26, 2023 at 13:04
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    Andries...how can you ask the question did Philo influence the Bible...the Old Testament is known to have existed long before achrist and the apostles. We know the Isaiah scroll is at least 300 years before Christ. It's difficult to make the claim "Influenced" when the OT points to the New.
    – Adam
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:27
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Did Philo influence the Bible's description of the Son of God?

Purpose

The Old Testament (OT) presents only one God. But then Jesus Christ appeared and claimed to be the “only-begotten Son” of God (John 3:16; 10:36), to have received all authority in heaven and on earth (John 17:2; Matt 28:18), and even implied to be the “I am” of the OT (John 8:58). This “I am” may be understood as “the angel of the LORD” who appeared to Moses “in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush,” who is also called “God” and who said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exo 3:2, 4, 14).

So, the writers of the New Testament (NT) had to figure out who Jesus is relative to God. They wrote things of Jesus that Jesus never said of Himself, such as that:

  • He is the “Logos” (John 1:1), the image of God (Col 1:15), and the “mediator … between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5).
  • He was “in the beginning with God” (John 1:1).
  • God created and still maintains all things through Him (e.g., John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:2-3; 1 Cor 8:6).
  • God gave Him all authority in heaven and on earth (John 17:2; Matt 28:18).

As Christians, we like to think that this message of the only begotten Son of God is unique to the New Testament. It is then a little disquieting to discover that, before the NT was written, Greek philosophy, as interpreted by Philo, also spoke about a Logos who always existed, through whom God created all things, who is the image of God and the mediator between the Uncreated and created.

Given these similarities, the Internet Encyclopaedia article on Philo (IE) claims that the NT descriptions of Jesus are derived from Greek philosophy via Philo and therefore that Christianity is based on Greek philosophy. The purpose of this article is to evaluate this claim. For this purpose, this article discusses the similarities and differences between Philo’s Logos and Jesus Christ and attempts to explain why such concepts existed even before the New Testament was written.

Philo

Philo of Alexandria was a Jewish philosopher who wrote a few decades before the NT was written. “Philo was thoroughly educated in Greek philosophy. … He had a deep reverence for Plato and referred to him as ‘the most holy Plato’.” But Philo was also committed to the Jewish faith. By using “an allegorical technique for interpretation of the Hebrew (Bible),” he produced a synthesis of the Old Testament and Greek philosophy.

Foundations of Christianity

Philo is not important for Judaism. “Philo’s primary importance is in the development of the philosophical and theological foundations of Christianity.”

IE claims that the Christian theologians of the second and third centuries (the Apologists) used Philo’s synthesis of the Old Testament and Greek philosophy to formulate the Logos theology. To explain:

The church began as a Jewish-dominated movement. After the church became Gentile-dominated in the second century, Logos Theology became the standard explanation of who Jesus Christ is and of His relationship with God. We cannot deny that that theology was substantially influenced by Greek philosophy.

But IE goes much further and even claims that Philo may have influenced the New Testament itself, particularly the writings of Paul, the gospel of John, and the epistle to the Hebrews.

By reading the Greek philosophy of his day into the Old Testament, Philo gave Greek philosophy a Biblical appearance. Therefore, what IE effectively claims is that Christianity grew out of Greek philosophy via Philo.

God

First, consider some of Philo’s views concerning God, namely:

  • No other being, not even the Logos, is able to fully understand the One who exists without cause: Only God is able to fully understand God.
  • God also created time and, therefore, for Him, “nothing is past and nothing is future, but everything is present only.”
  • “There never was a time when he did not create.”

The Logos

Philo’s most important doctrine

When Philo lived, “the notion of the Logos was deeply ingrained in Greek philosophy” and Philo included the Logos in his interpretation of the Old Testament. Philo’s entire philosophical system hinges on his doctrine of the Logos. The Logos was his means of synthesizing the Old Testament and Greek philosophy. Furthermore, IE claims that it was also Philo’s doctrine of the Logos that created “the foundation for Christianity, first in the development of (Paul’s letters) and (the books) of John, later in the Hellenistic Christian Logos and Gnostic doctrines of the second century.”

The Logos in the Old Testament

Philo found the Logos in the Old Testament in:

  • “The Word of the LORD” that is often said to come to the prophets and by which "the heavens were made,"
  • The personified “Wisdom” (Proverbs), and in
  • The Angel of the Lord.

A Personal Being

"Logos" is the common Greek word for “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” But, in Greek philosophy, the word Logos had a very specialized meaning, namely, “a rational, intelligent and thus vivifying principle of the universe.”

IE claims that Philo, by introducing the concept of the Logos into Judaism, has transformed the Logos from a metaphysical theoretical entity into a humanlike being and mediator between God and men.

Other prominent scholars (Ronald Nash, RPC Hanson, Rowan Williams) disagree. They say that “Philo’s Logos is not a person or messiah or savior but a cosmic principle … a metaphysical abstraction.” The descriptions in Philo of “an individually subsistent Logos, distinct from the Father” are not literal but metaphorical.

My understanding is that Philo illogically describes the Logos as both a “metaphysical abstraction,” as in Greek philosophy, and as a Personal Being, as he interprets the Logos in the Old Testament to be. Rowan Williams adds, “To look for a clear definition or identification of the Logos in his writings would be … fruitless” (RW, 124).

Has always existed.

Both Philo’s Logos and Jesus Christ have always existed:

Philo holds that “the Logos … constitutes the manifestation of God’s thinking, acting.” Consequently, the Logos has been brought into existence by God but always existed (because God has always existed and never began to think or do).

Similarly, in the NT, the Son was "begotten," meaning that He has been brought into existence by God. At the same time, the Son "was" in “the beginning” (John 1:1-2) and is “the First and the Last” (Rev 1:17), implying that He has always existed.

Literally first in time

Since, in both Philo and the NT, the Logos has always existed, the Logos has existed first in time. For that reason, Philo described the Logos as “the first-begotten Son of the Uncreated Father.” Jesus Christ, similarly, is “the ‘first-born’ of God” (Col 1:15; Heb 1:6), although this might also be interpreted symbolically

Uniquely Generated

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos has been uniquely generated:

Philo used “begotten” and “created” as synonyms but he says that the Logos is neither uncreated as God nor created as men. In other words, He was generated differently from created beings.

The NT, by saying that the Son is “the only begotten” and not only “the first begotten” as in Philo, makes a distinction between “begotten” and “created” and indicates that the Son was uniquely generated.

Direct Agent of Creation

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is the direct Agent of creation:

In Philo, “the direct agent of creation is not God himself … but the Logos. … the Logos … was used as an instrument and a pattern of all creation.”

In the NT also, God created all things through the Logos (John 1:1-3; cf. Col 1:16; Heb 1:2; 1 Cor 8:6).

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos maintains the universe:

In Philo, “the Logos is the bond holding together all the parts of the world” and “produces a harmony … between various parts of the universe.”

Similarly, in the NT, God maintains all things through His Son (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17).

Subordinate

Both Philo’s Logos and Jesus Christ are subordinate to God:

In Philo, the Logos is “inferior to God” (Davis). “The supreme being is God and the next is Wisdom or the Logos of God” (IE).

In the NT, the Father sent the Son and Jesus said, "the Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). See - The subordination of the Son.

However, the orthodox teaching of the church accepts that the Son is functionally subordinate to the Father. The real question is whether the Son is also ontologically subordinate to the Father:

In Philo, “the ontology of the Logos would most closely resemble an emanation from the divine essence” (Davis). Therefore, He is also ontologically subordinate to the High God.

The Bible nowhere explicitly teaches anything about the substance of God or ontological equality.

Mediator

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is the mediator between God and man:

Philo described the Logos as the “mediator between God and the world,” “continually a suppliant (pleading) to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race,” “to procure forgiveness of sins, and a supply of unlimited blessings.”

Similarly, in the NT, “there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5; cf. Heb 8:6; 9:15).

The Light of the World

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos illuminates the soul. In Philo, “the Logos … in the mind of a wise man … allows preservation of virtues” (IE). Similarly, John wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

The Logos in our God.

In both Philo and the NT, the Logos is our God:

In Philo, “God is revealed to His creation through the Logos.” Due to “the utter transcendence of the First Principle [the One who exists without cause],” “man’s highest union with God is limited to God’s manifestation as the Logos.” For Philo, the Logos is the only experience of God that man will have. Effectively, therefore, the Logos is our God.

Similarly, in the NT, God “dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” but the Son is “the (visible) image of the invisible God” (Col 1:15). As the direct Agent of our creation and our continued existence, and since we will never be able to "see" or directly experience God, the Son is effectively the God of all created things.

Cannot become Flesh

Philo would never have accepted that the Logos “became flesh” (John 1:14) because “Philo disdained the material world and physical body. The body was for Philo … ‘an evil and a dead thing’.”

Philo also taught that “a wise man ... should be free of … pleasure, desire, sorrow, and fear.” But Jesus suffered sorrow and fear. Philo would never have tolerated such thinking.

Man’s Mind

For Philo, “the reasoning capacity of a human mind is” an indivisible part of the Logos. For this reason, the “Logos is apportioned into an infinite number of parts.” For that reason also, the human mind is imperishable and has the power of free will.

Did Philo influence the NT?

The following support the view that Philo influenced the NT:

  1. The NT says things about Christ that Christ never said of Himself but which Philo did say about the Logos, for example, that God created and maintains all things through Him.

  2. Since the word Logos had a very specialized meaning in Greek philosophy, and given the pervasive influence of Greek philosophy at the time, John’s description of Jesus Christ as “the Logos,” must mean that John identified the Son of God as the Logos of Greek Philosophy.

  3. There are many other similarities between Philo’s Logos and the Biblical Son of God. For example, both have an origin, have always existed, are the direct Agent of creation, are subordinate to God, have been uniquely generated, and are the mediator between God and man.

The differences between them do not take away the astounding similarities or our duty to explain these similarities.

Possible Explanations

So, how do we explain the similarities?

The Bible is not inspired.

In the view of Critical Scholars (theologians who do not believe in the supernatural), the NT is simply the result of the evolution of human thought and the reliance on Philo is proof thereof.

A Different Logos

An alternative is to argue that the differences between Philo’s Logos and the NT’s Son of God are great and that Philo, consequently, did not influence the NT writers. However, the similarities between them are too substantial and too specific to deny the influence of Greek philosophy.

Teaching Mechanism

A fourth possibility is that the writers of the NT used concepts from Philo to explain Jesus Christ to Greek readers in their own language. However, the similarities are too extraordinary (out of the ordinary, e.g., eternal, creator) to be simply explaining truths in Greek thought forms.

To oppose pagan theology

Nash proposes that the significant number of similarities between Philo and the letter to the Hebrews can be explained as that the writer of Hebrews uses the language of philosophy to describe the Christian message as better than philosophy; not bring philosophy into Christianity.

This may be part of the answer but it is very far from explaining all the similarities. For example, the description of the Logos in both as the direct Agent of creation cannot simply be an argument that Christ is a better mediator than the mediators of pagan philosophy.

Therefore, I propose that:

Greek Philosophy was inspired.

Observations:

  1. The large number of significant conceptual similarities between Philo and the NT means that Philo was right in some respects about the Logos. Since Philo’s writings were based on Greek philosophy, it means that Greek philosophy was right in some respects.

  2. God elected Israel to take His message to the nations of the world. So, God worked particularly and extraordinarily with the Jewish nation. But that does not mean that the Holy Spirit was not working with and inspiring people from other nations as well.

  3. In contrast to the multiplicity of gods in the Greek pantheon, Greek philosophy is monotheistic. Where did the Greek philosophers get this?

I propose as follows:

Firstly, to prepare the non-Jewish world to receive "the kingdom of God" from the Jews, God, through His Holy Spirit, inspired Greek philosophers, either through contact with Judaism or directly through the Holy Spirit, to move away from Greek polytheism to monotheism and with many truths concerning the nature of God.

Secondly, to make it easier for the writers of the NT to understand who Jesus is, God inspired Philo to harmonize Greek philosophy with the Old Testament.

Thirdly, through His Holy Spirit, God inspired the writers of the NT to selectively accept Philo’s teachings and to explain Jesus Christ as the Logos of Greek philosophy, as harmonized with the Old Testament by Philo.

I would like to support this proposal as follows:

Firstly, nothing prevents the Holy Spirit from using Pagan philosophers for revealing truths to the people of the world.

Secondly, the Logos Theology that the second-century church fathers developed explicitly explains Jesus Christ as the Logos of Greek philosophy. See - The Apologists. That implies that they assumed that Greek philosophy was inspired.

Thirdly, the Nicene Creed is influenced by Greek philosophy. RPC Hanson described words substance (ousia), same substance (homoousios), and hypostasis as “new terms borrowed from the pagan philosophy of the day” (RH, 846). These concepts do not appear in the Bible.

Fourthly, since the Arian Controversy was caused by objection to these pagan concepts in the Nicene Creed, the “discussion and dispute between 318 and 381 were conducted largely in terms of Greek philosophy” (RH, xxi).

Fifthly, even today many philosophical concepts from ancient Greek philosophy, such as that God is immanent, transcendent, simple, immutable, impassable, and timeless, are generally accepted by church theologians even though NOT stated in the Bible. This is called Classical Theism.

For the full article, of which the above is a summary, see here.

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    In my first comment to you I said "Given that you ask this Q, then proceed to detail 9 theological matters where you quote Philo as if he, indeed, was a great early influencer with those Christian beliefs, are you just wanting a "Yes" or a "No" answer?" Now you have given your own massive "Yes" answer to your own Q, which makes it look as if you had made your mind up before asking, and just want to use this site as a platform to promote your own articles. Forgive me if I am wrong.
    – Anne
    Feb 4, 2023 at 16:01
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    @Andries - Began to lose the will to live half-way down your own answer. Looks to me like you are using Christianity Stack Exchange as a platform to present your own views. Why should anyone answer any other questions you post?
    – Lesley
    Feb 4, 2023 at 17:30
  • @Anne There are better ways of advertising articles. My purpose is to promote the truth. We are confronted with a huge amount of misinformation. Children are indoctrinated from birth. My hope is to expose brilliant young and upcoming minds to alternatives. I did have a draft answer when I posted the question but I was not sure. So, during the 10 days between my question and answer, I studied this important subject to the best of my abilities. I was hoping for guidance from this site but there was only one other answer - yours, which only addressed a minor part of the question.
    – Andries
    Feb 5, 2023 at 5:57
  • @Lesley Did you get depressed because you think I use the site to present my own views? I guess not. Are you aware of glaring errors or invalid arguments?
    – Andries
    Feb 5, 2023 at 6:01
  • If you are going to use Philo, you cannot pick and choose his beliefs. It is without question he wrote of the logos. It is also without question he called the logos a second God. In Som. I.227-9 he writes of the logos who says "I am God." Philo's logos theology went so far as to conclude I am as a statement of deity. In this regard, Christianity differs in that Philo understands the logos as a second "theos" of lesser standing than "ho theos" whereas Christianity understands the logos who is I am and reads the OT accordingly. Feb 8, 2023 at 17:47

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