⌚ Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories

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Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories



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His praise of the contemplative life of the monastic Therapeutae in Alexandria attests to his preference of bios theoreticos over bios practicos. He adheres to the Platonic picture of the souls descending into the material realm and that only the souls of philosophers are able to come to the surface and return to their realm in heaven Gig. Philo adopted the Platonic concept of the soul with its tripartite division. Philo differentiated between philosophy and wisdom. Moses was also the interpreter of nature Her. By saying this Philo wanted to indicate that human wisdom has two origins: one is divine, the other is natural Her. Moreover, that Mosaic Law is not inconsistent with nature.

A single law, the Logos of nature governs the entire world Jos. Because of this we have a conscience that affects even wicked persons QG 4. Wisdom is a consummated philosophy and as such has to be in agreement with the principles of nature Mos. Philosophy prepares us to a moral life, i. From this follows that life in accordance with nature hastens us towards virtues Mos. Thus Philo does not discount human reason, but contrasts only the true doctrine which is trust in God with uncertain, plausible, and unreliable reasoning LA 3. To Philo man is basically passive and it is God who sows noble qualities in the soul, thus we are instruments of God LA 2. Still man is the only creature endowed with freedom to act though his freedom is limited by the constitution of his mind.

Philo advocates the practice of virtue in both the divine and the human spheres. Lovers only of God and lovers only of men are both incomplete in virtue. Philo advocates a middle harmonious way Decal. He differentiates four virtues: wisdom, self-control, courage, and justice LA 1. Human dispositions Philo divides into three groups — the best is given the vision of God, the next has a vision on the right i.

Felicity is achieved in the culmination of three values: the spiritual, the corporeal, and the external QG 3. Philo adopts the Stoic wise man as a model for human behavior. Such a wise man should imitate God who was impassible apathes hence the sage should achieve a state of apatheia, i. In such a state of eupatheia, the sage achieves a serene, stable, and joyful disposition in which he is directed by reason in his decisions QG 2. But at the same time Philo claims that the needs of the body should not be neglected and rejects the other extreme, i. Everything should be governed by reason, self-control, and moderation. Joy and pleasure do not have intrinsic values, but are by-products of virtue and characterize the sage Fug.

Mysticism is a doctrine that maintains that one can gain knowledge of reality that is not accessible to sense perception or to reason. It is usually associated with some mental and physical training and in the theistic version it involves a sensation of closeness to or unity with God experienced as temporal and spatial transcendence. It is similar to a later doctrine of intellectual contact of our human intellect with the transcendent intellect developed by Alexander of Aphrodisias and Ibn Rushd and different from the Plotinian doctrine of the absorption into the ineffable one.

But this position is rather alien to biblical and rabbinical understanding. Philosophically, however, Philo differentiated between the existence of God , which could be demonstrated, and the nature of God which humans are not able to cognize. The expression of this act of God, which is at the same time his thinking, is his Logos Prov. But there are degrees and levels to our cognizance of God. Those at the summit and the highest level may grasp the unity of the powers of God, at the lower level people recognize the Logos as the Regent Power, and those still at the lowest level, immersed in the sensible world are unable to perceive the intelligible reality Fug.

Steps in mystic experience involve a realization of human nothingness, a realization that the one who acts is God alone, and abandonment of our sense of perception Her. A mystic state will produce a sensation of tranquility, and stability; it appears suddenly and is described as a sober intoxication Gig. According to Philo the highest knowledge man may have is the knowledge of infinite reality which is not accessible by the normal senses, but by unmediated intuition of divinity.

Humans were endowed with the mind, i. We received the first in order that we might consider the things that are discernable only by the intellect, the end of which is truth, and the second for the perception of visible things the end of which is opinion. Opinions are unstable, based on probability, and untrustworthy. Thus by this divine gift men are able to come to a conclusion about the existence of the divinity.

And in the process the soul may climb the ladder to perfection by using natural means i. The other is a direct apprehension by being instructed by God himself when the mind elevates itself above the physical world and perceives the uncreated One through a clear vision Praem. To the mind uninitiated in the mysteries, unable to apprehend God alone by himself, but only through his actions, God appears as a triad constituted by him and his two powers, Creative and Royal Abr.

Such a direct vision of God is not dependent on revelation but is possible because we have an impression of God in our mind, which is nothing but a tiny fragment of the Logos pervading the whole universe, not separated from its source, but only extended Det. And we receive this portion of the Divine Mind at birth being endowed with a mind which makes us resemble God Op. At birth two powers enter every soul, the salutary Beneficent and the destructive Unbounded. The world is created through these same powers. Philo evidently analyzes these two powers on two levels. The Logos keeps it in balance through the Limit. The other level is the human one where the Unlimited or the Unbounded represents destruction and everything morally abhorrent.

Human reason is able, however, to maintain in it some kind of balance. This mind, divine and immortal, is an additional and differentiating part of the human soul which animates man just like the souls of animals which are devoid of mind. Thus we can arrive at it through the dialectical reasoning as apprehension of the First Principle. The characteristic feature of the Greek scientific approach is the biological interpretation of the physical world in anthropocentric terms, in terms of purpose and function that may apply to biological and psychological realities but may not be applied to the physical world. Moreover, Philo operates often on two levels: the level of mythical Hebraic religious tradition and the level of philosophical speculation in the Greek tradition.

Nevertheless, Philo attempts to harmonize the Mosaic and Platonic accounts of the generation of the world by interpreting the biblical story using Greek scientific categories and concepts. He elaborates a religious-philosophical worldview that became the foundation for the future Christian doctrine. Was the world created ex nihilo or from primordial matter? Was creation a temporal act or is it an eternal process? For it is out of that essence that God created everything, without indeed touching it himself, for it was not lawful for the all-wise and all-blessed God to touch materials which were all misshapen and confused, but he created them by the agency of his incorporeal powers, of which the proper name is Ideas, which he so exerted that every genus received its proper form LA 1.

According to Philo, Moses anticipated Plato by teaching that water, darkness, and chaos existed before the world came into being Op. Philo reasons that by analogy to the biblical version of the creation of man in the image of God, so the visible world as such must have been created in the image of its archetype present in the mind of God. The Logos is an indestructible Form of wisdom.

Interpreting the garment of the high priest Exod. Forms, though inapprehensible in essence, leave an impress and a copy and procure qualities and shapes to shapeless things and unorganized matter. Mind can grasp the Forms by longing for wisdom. This may seem a controversial point whether the primordial matter was preexistent or was created ex nihilo. Philo, being a strict monist, could not accept the existence of independent and eternal preexistent matter however disorganized and chaotic as Plato did. Philo denies the Aristotelian conclusion coming, according to him, from the superficial observation that the world existed from eternity, independent of any creative act.

He elaborates instead his theory of the eternal creation Prov. But God is the creator of time also, for he is the father of his father, and the father of time is the world, which made its own mother the creation of time, so that time stands towards God in the relation of a grandson; for this world is a younger son of God, inasmuch as it is perceptible by the outward sense, for the only son he speaks of as older than the world, is Idea, and this is not perceptible by the intellect, but having thought the other worthy of the rights of primogeniture, he has decided that it should remain with him; therefore, this younger son, perceptible by the external senses being set in motion, has caused the nature of time to shine forth, and to become conspicuous, so that there is nothing future to God, who has the very boundaries of time subject to him; for their life is not time, but the beautiful model of eternity; and in eternity nothing is past and nothing is future, but everything is present only Deus.

Philo contends that God thinks simultaneously with his acting or creating. Thus any description of creation in temporal terms, e. God is continuously ordering matter by his thought. His thinking was not anterior to his creating and there never was a time when he did not create, the Ideas themselves having been with him from the beginning. Thus ever thinking he creates, and furnishes to sensible things the principle of their existence, so that both should exist together: the ever-creating Divine Mind and the sense-perceptible things to which beginning of being is given Prov.

Thus Philo postulates a crucial modification to the Platonic doctrine of the Forms, namely that God himself eternally creates the intelligible world of Ideas as his thoughts. The intelligible Forms are thus the principle of existence to the sensible things which are given through them their existence. This simply means in mystical terms that nothing exists or acts except God.

On this ideal model God then orders and shapes the formless matter through the agency of his Logos Her. Now we must form a somewhat similar opinion of God [Philo makes an analogy to a plan of the city in the mind of its builder], who, having determined to found a mighty state, first of all conceived its form in his mind, according to which form he made a world perceptible only by the intellect, and then completed one visible to the external senses, using the first one as a model Op. Philo claims a scriptural support for these metaphysics saying that the creation of the world was after the pattern of an intelligible world Gen.

There are, however, differences between Philo and Plato: according to Plato, there is no Form of space chora. In Plato space is not apprehended by reason; rather it had its own special status in the world. Also pneuma as a Form of soul does not exist in the system of Plato. Philo, being a strict monist could not allow even for a self-existing void so he makes its pattern an eternal idea in the divine mind. Before Philo there was no explicit theory of creation ex nihilo ever postulated in Jewish or Greek traditions. Both Philo and Plato do not explain how the reflections eidola of Forms are made in the world of senses. The Logos would shape the elements from this preexistent matter, first into heavy or dense and light or rare elements which were differentiated properly into water and earth, and air and fire Her.

Fire was characterized by a pyramid, air by an octahedron, water by an icosahedron, and earth by a cube QG 3. Logically, God is for Philo indirectly the source of preexistent matter but Philo does not ascribe to God even the shaping of matter directly. In fact this unorganized matter never existed because it was simultaneously ordered into organized matter — the four elements from which the world is made. Doing this he extends the natural order to encompass the biblical miracles and tries to explain them by their coincidence with natural events.

This was the tendency inherited from some Stoics who attempted to explain miracles of divination as events preordered in nature by the divine power pervading it. Similarly Philo considers the biblical miracles as a part of the eternal pattern of the Logos acting in nature. Augustine considers miracles as implanted in the destiny of the cosmos since the time of its creation. Philo and rabbinic literature emphasize the miraculous and marvelous character of nature itself. Even in modern Jewish teaching there is a tendency to explain the miraculous by the natural. But since we are found to be influenced in different manners by the same things at different times, we should have nothing positive to assert about anything, inasmuch as what appears has no settled or stationary existence, but is subject to various, and multiform, and ever-recurring changes.

For it follows of necessity, since the imagination is unstable, that judgment formed by it must be unstable; and there are many reasons for this Ebr. But we are able to comprehend things by comparing them with their opposites and thus arriving at their true nature. The same applies to what is virtue and to what is vice, and to what is just and good and to what is unjust and bad. And, indeed, if any one considers everything that is in the world, he will be able to arrive at a proper estimate of its character, by taking it in the same manner; for each separate thing is by itself incomprehensible, but by a comparison with another thing, is easy to understand Ebr.

The same reasoning he extends to differences between national customs and ancient laws which vary according to countries, nations, cities, different villages, even private houses and instruction received by people from childhood. And since this is the case, who is foolish enough and ridiculous as to affirm positively that such and such a thing is just, or wise, or honorable, or expedient? For whatever this man defines as such, some one else, who from his childhood has learnt a contrary lesson, will be sure to deny Ebr. By developing this doctrine he fused Greek philosophical concepts with Hebrew religious thought and provided the foundation for Christianity, first in the development of the Christian Pauline myth and speculations of John, later in the Hellenistic Christian Logos and Gnostic doctrines of the second century.

All other doctrines of Philo hinge on his interpretation of divine existence and action. The term Logos was widely used in the Greco-Roman culture and in Judaism. Through most schools of Greek philosophy, this term was used to designate a rational, intelligent and thus vivifying principle of the universe. This principle was deduced from an understanding of the universe as a living reality and by comparing it to a living creature. In the so-called Jewish wisdom literature we find the concept of Wisdom hokhmah and sophia which could be to some degree interpreted as a separate personification or individualization hypostatization , but it is contrasted often with human stupidity.

The Greek, metaphysical concept of the Logos is in sharp contrast to the concept of a personal God described in anthropomorphic terms typical of Hebrew thought. Philo made a synthesis of the two systems and attempted to explain Hebrew thought in terms of Greek philosophy by introducing the Stoic concept of the Logos into Judaism. In the process the Logos became transformed from a metaphysical entity into an extension of a divine and transcendental anthropomorphic being and mediator between God and men. Philo offered various descriptions of the Logos. Philo accepts the Platonic intelligible Forms. Forms exist forever though the impressions they make may perish with the substance on which they were made Det.

They are not, however, beings existing separately, only exist in the mind of God as his thoughts and powers. Those powers are his glory, though invisible and sensed only by the purest intellect. Logos is the indestructible Form of wisdom comprehensible only by the intellect Det. Philo relates that in an inspiration his own soul told him:. And further, Philo finds in the Bible indications of the operation of the Logos, e. In Plato these two principles or powers operate at the metaphysical, cosmic cosmic soul and human human soul levels.

Philo considers these powers to be inherent in transcendental God, and that God himself may be thought of as multiplicity in unity. Goodness is Boundless Power, Creative, and God. Creative Power, moreover, permeates the world, the power by which God made and ordered all things. Philo follows the ideas of the Stoics that nous pervades every part of the universe as it does the soul in us. According to Philo, the two powers of God are separated by God himself who is standing above in the midst of them Her. Referring to Genesis 2 Philo claims that God and his two Powers are in reality one. For so soon as one sets eyes on God, there also appear together with His being, the ministering powers, so that in place of one he makes the appearance of a triad QG 4.

This picture is somewhat confusing because we learn that in the final analysis the Creative Power is also identified with the Logos. The Creative Power is logically prior to the Regent Power since it is conceptually older. Though the powers are of equal age, the creative is prior because one is king not of the nonexistent but of what has already come into being QE 2. These two powers thus delimit the bounds of heaven and the world. The Creative Power is concerned that things that come into being through it should not be dissolved, and the Regent Power that nothing either exceeds or is robbed of its due, all being arbitrated by the laws of equality through which things continue eternally QE 2. According to Philo these powers of the Logos can be grasped at various levels.

Those who are at the summit level grasp them as constituting an indivisible unity. At the two lower levels, respectively, are those who know the Logos as the Creative Power and beneath them those who know it as the Regent Power Fug. The next level down represents those limited to the sensible world, unable to perceive the intelligible realities Gig. These two powers will appear again in Plotinus. The Logos is the bond holding together all the parts of the world. And as a part of the human soul it holds the body together and permits its operation. In the mind of a wise man thoroughly purified, it allows preservation of virtues in an unimpaired condition Fug. The reasoning capacity of a human mind is but a portion of the all-pervading Divine Logos.

Mind is a special gift to humans from God and it has divine essence, therefore, as such, it is imperishable. By receiving this humans received freedom and the power of spontaneous will free from necessity Deus. This concept, that it is chiefly in the intellect and free volition that makes humans differ from other life forms, has a long history which can be traced to Anaxagoras and Aristotle. Though his spirit is distributed among men it is not diminished Gig. Uninitiated minds are unable to apprehend the Existent by itself; they only perceive it through its actions.

The union of Roosevelts Long Term Solutions To The Great Depression and Tefnut are then said to have given rise to Nut Utterance 7 Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories Geb Utterance making them the grandson and granddaughter of Ra. I'm not Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories why Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories would think their is a polemic intent on the part Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories the writer. For it follows of necessity, since James Allen Customer Service Center Case Study Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories is unstable, that judgment formed by it must be unstable; and there are many reasons for this Comparing Genesis And Chinese Creation Stories.

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