Philo, the Two Powers within Israel’s God, and 1 Cor 8:6

Philo, the Two Powers within Israel’s God, and 1 Cor 8:6 September 12, 2020

I’ve recent recently noticed how Philo depicts Israel’s God as having two powers within himself, his creative and vitalizing power called “God” and his sovereign and regal power called “Lord.”

For instance:

Therefore the appellations already mentioned reveal the powers existing in the living God; for one title is that of Lord, according to which he governs; and the other is God, according to which he is beneficent. For which reason also, in the account of the creation of the world, according to the most holy Moses, the name of God is always assumed by him: for it was fitting that the power according to which the Creator, when he was bringing his creatures into the world, arranged and adorned them, should be invoked also by that creation. (PLANT 1:86 )

The Father of the universe, who in the sacred scriptures is called by his proper name, I am that I am; and the beings on each side are those most ancient powers which are always close to the living God, one of which is called his creative power, and the other his royal power. And the creative power is God, for it is by this that he made and arranged the universe; and the royal power is the Lord, for it is fitting that the Creator should lord it over and govern the creature. (ABR 1:121 )

I should say, that what is here represented under a figure are the two most ancient and supreme powers of the divine God, namely, his creative and his kingly power; and his creative power is called God; according to which he arranged, and created, and adorned this universe, and his kingly power is called Lord, by which he rules over the beings whom he has created, and governs them with justice and firmness; 100 for he, being the only true living God, is also really the Creator of the world; since he brought things which had no existence into being; and he is also a king by nature, because no one can rule over beings that have been created more justly than he who created them. (Mos 2:99-100)

This arguably reminds a bit of what Paul does in 1 Cor 8:6 when he splits Deut 6:4 around God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

There is one God the Father.
        All things come from him, and we belong to him.
And there is one Lord Jesus Christ.
        All things exist through him, and we live through him.


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