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PROVERBS 8, PROVERBS 30,
PSALM 2 and EZEKIEL 17,
MAKE A STUNNING FOURSOME
Proverbs 8 alone is a marvel. There you have it, wisdom. It is cast in the form of a woman as a poetical device, but the meaning is clear enough. The point is that the bad woman had been calling man, and now by contrast, the good lady is calling to a very different life. Not dregs of desire but creation in the full vitality of God is now in view, sharing in the life which is offered by this - as you see in Proverbs 8:34-36 -
he man who listens to me
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the post of my doors.
For whoever finds Me finds life,
and obtains favour from the Lord.
But he who sins against Me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death."
THIS is vital, final and absolute. Without this, nothing!
This WISDOM (cf. I Corinthians 1:30 where you find wisdom as one of the things which CHRIST is MADE TO US) calls with tenderness, not lust, to mankind, so differing from the preceding 'bad woman'. Spiritual salubrity, not carnal pollution and corruption is the aim. To the "simple ones" wisdom calls, right things, yes TRUTH will come from these lips (Christ in John 14:6 declares, "I AM THE WAY, THE LIFE AND THE TRUTH; NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT BY ME!"
ALL the words of wisdom's mouth (Proverbs 8:8) are with righteousness; there is in fact NOTHING CROOKED in them at all, and they are moreover, PLAIN TO THE ONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, reminding us of Ephesians 1:17-19. Not only is wisdom better than rubies (8:11), but with it "all the things one may desire cannot be compared." Incomparable, essential, source of spiritual life, when absent cause of death, it is obviously precisely equivalent to "the Lord", and in view of Isaiah 28:16, it is God-the-Sent which is in view, though the form is poetic. NO OTHER is able to deny and apply life in one sweep, dependent only on this ONE. There is NO OTHER GOD, as Isaiah 45 tells us, and Isaiah emphasises over and again, none formed before, none after, God does not know of any! as we read in delightful irony!
Then we proceed to the depths, literally and figuratively both. Wisdom was there when God assigned the sea its limits, when "He drew a circle on the face of the deep", "when He marked out the foundations of the earth". There was wisdom all the time.
Now we come to the even more fascinating part. Wisdom was there
a)"BESIDE HIM". Here is something wholly personal. There is a tenderness and a unity, a completeness and in intrinsic internality on the one hand, and correlativity on the other.
b)"REJOICING IN THE INHABITED WORLD" - there is emotional delight, there a sort of rapture in the wonder of the works being wrought together.
c) "I was daily His delight" - here is love, the background to and basis of marriage, but more enduring and more permanent, "from the beginning"(8:22), before creation.
d) "THE LORD POSSESSED ME IN THE BEGINNING OF THE WAY" - in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" - not "a god" for the idiom is normal as used, for "God"; and because there is, as God has said multiple times ONLY ONE GOD. The Psalm 83 touch is irony in which the fake pretenders will meet an early death to show the illusionist character of their mad claims and proud dealings. It is rather like Ezekiel 28:9! "Will you still say before Him who slays you, 'I am god' !"
There is the precise parallel in speech, form and thought, in John 1, and of course it is (in incarnate form) Jesus Christ.
But let us to the marvel of marvels. "I was beside Him as one brought up before Him", or "one tenderly correlative with Him", with the sense of inward nurture or deep affection. It is just like "This is my beloved Son, hear Him!" in the New Testament in the days of the incarnation. It is a measure of the love of God that He even yielded this, His fellow of eternity within the trinity, to that garbage bag of horror which amounted in the end to the crucifixion. It is by no means just the Jews. Though this nation was an immediate agent, so was Pilate; and look at the scores of seminaries today whose chief purpose may seem to remove the word of God from faith if it kills them, by the most devious and appallingly irrational means (as I found when for a time attending one in my own comparative youth).
Are they not as devious as the priests of the Jews ? Are not these "Protestant priests" in much the same category as those who believe in a biological Pope, for their ministrations are as far removed from the Bible, and constitute as deep an attack on it as was the original of the original of the word, this Wisdom, this Christ who came in love in order to be hated, praying for His persecutors, and saving many!
It is MANKIND which is astray, and only by the wonder of the mercy of the wisdom of God in its love and coming down to earth, is there any way to heaven, is there that wonder in which this wisdom can pick up and deliver those who are sunk in sin, without hope, without God. I HAVE CHOSEN YOU, says Christ as recorded in John 15, YOU HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME! One is to hope that Billy Graham has read this. And whether or not he has, it is still there.
In The Kingdom of Heaven Ch.4, 'Love that Passes Knowledge' and SMR Appendix B and elsewhere we deal with the fact that this is not at all any diminution of the love of God, but rather the ensuring that it takes effect. But it is there: it is a supernatural gift which He gives by His own power, in His own wisdom - and so see Proverbs 8:34-36. Such blessing is there, and to refuse it is real enough, this being the condemnation that light has come into the world, the world into which God sent His only begotten Son so that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish, the world that Christ did not ENTER to CONDEMN but that through Him it might be saved. THIS is the wisdom. Let us return to it, in Proverbs 8.
d) 8:30 - "There was I beside Him, as One brought up with Him". This tenderness in the analogy of 'brought up" or as noted above, in the sense of a "fondling", the sense of father and son which we know, but in its eternal reality before this biological world was even created -as Proverbs 8 so powerfully teaches (vv.22-29). Koehler-Baumgartner's Lexicon on the Old Testament, p. 61, tells us that the Hebrew word in view means "fondling" and gives a parallel term which means "tenderly nursed", and another "caretaker of children". The texture of the term is in "faithfulness", solidity, reliability, and relates to such meanings as "proving oneself steady" and indeed to our "Amen", loyal-minded and trustworthy. It can flower into forms like "being minded, feeling safe" and the like.
As seen elsewhere, it can even relate to "believe" in one form of the verb, and one denominative means "truth". The Pulpit Commentary's textual exposition here allows that either "one brought up" or "artificer" might be rendered, and points to the word "in the bosom of the Father" in John 1:18.
However, as to "artificer", the context is decisively against it, and small wonder a Jewish tradition does not favour this rendering. The WHOLE EMPHASIS of the passage is that of ONE WITH THE FATHER, beholding, being beside, rejoicing as the work is done. It by no means EXCLUDES co-operation, indeed it allows strongly for just this, but it is CERTAINLY NOT THE FLAVOUR.
While HE does this and that, the WISDOM is by Him, near Him, beside Him, with Him so that the master-craftsman concept, though it could apply, would be far from express. What IS express is that it is rather like a delighted partner in collaboration certainly, but not the agent. There is no sense of being DEPUTED, but rather of being INVOLVED. It is PERSONAL not professional, and that in the highest degree.
To be there as "a master craftsman" with the immediate addition "and I was daily His delight" seems, to say the least, awkward; and to say the most, disharmonious, clashing, discordant in the mutuality of the concepts. It disperses and does not intensify. It sits alone like a grasshopper on a diamond. The involvement is on the one hand far greater, and on the other, far more intimate. This sort of thing is being in this passage CONSTANTLY and CONTINUALLY emphasised of the Father, and the intimate correlativity is likewise being emphasised continually of the WISDOM. This would set a new direction, make inroads into what had already been said, and disturb the picture which is one of art and form, entirely. To keep it to the forms noted in the area of nurture and being brought up as the analogy for the depth of the affection and devotion and delight, rather like a son working with his dad, in full capacity, yet with his father's jurisdictional initiatives: this is to have fidelity to the passage in its integrity.
Thus not only would this be a radical change of emphasis; it would in the immediate phrasing of the sentence in view, disrupt instead of consummate the concept, it would have a misalliance of feeling instead of a co-ordination such as is common in Hebrew poetry. The continued emphasis in this verse, moreover, is still on DELIGHT, INTER-PERSONAL relations, for it says "and my delight was with the sons of men."
Nor is this all. The sense of delight, of fondness as brought out by Baumgartner in his massive work on Hebrew, is in the rendering 'fondling' brought into immediate application. JUST as the Father delighted in HIM, SO HE delighted in the sons of men. Here is the texture of nurture, the nestling and the love, the cherishing and the intimacy all wrought together, that the love that is in the Father and which the Father has for HIM, might also be in US who believe, which is in fact the thought which Jesus Christ expressly passes on, almost as if He were at that very point giving an exposition of this very passage.
Since the thought is amazing in kind, this correlation and parallel could scarcely be thought to be accidental; and since the word of God is the powerful work which is in constant appeal in the mind of Christ as He speaks (John 12:48-50 crystallises this point), it becomes what could be called a mandate, to conceive that this is the parallel of the One who so declares (John 17:11,23-25). THIS love, Christ affirms, is one way for the world to KNOW that the Father has sent HIM! "I IN THEM, AND YOU IN ME; THAT THEY MAY BE MADE PERFECT IN ONE, AND THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW THAT YOU AHE SENT ME, AND HAVE LOVED THEM AS YOU HAVE LOVED ME."
Thus "the Lord possessed Me in the beginning of the way, BEFORE HIS WORKS of old" (emphasis added) shows the personal side at the first which is constant throughout, and sets the tone for the passage, just as it comes again in the climax as He is beside the Father, constantly with Him, His own delights extending to the children of men, made of course in the divine image.
Accordingly, the imagery which continues is one people WAITING AT HIS GATES, at his doors, eagerly expectant, just as He was so tenderly close to HIS Father. This then is the nature of this passage, and this the overwhelming character of its composition.
HERE then is wisdom, poetically placed as a woman in competition with the coarsening corruption of harlots, and equally, in opposition to the oft-used form of a woman as a parable for false religion, like some spiritual courtesan. Here is wisdom ACTUALLY placed as a fondling, one always beside and with His Father, constantly working with Him, at His initiative, like the "word", the living word which John speaks of in John 1, and the "express image of His Person" as found in Hebrews 1, indeed "the brightness of His glory" as it is well rendered.
Proverbs 30 moreover continues the theme, as well it might with such preliminaries. Speaking of God, it asks:
"Who has ascended
into heaven, or descend?
Who has gathered the wind in His fists?
Who has found the waters in a garment?"
The words echo Proverbs 8.
"Who," it continues, "has established
all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is His Son's name,
If you know?"
We have here the very language of Proverbs 8, and term 'son' merely applies what we have already found to be the necessary translation, or genre of translation for that passage, if full justice is to be done to its every aspect.
Psalm 2 is another masterpiece of divine instruction. It sings, it radiates. Thus we read of the LORD and His MESSIAH (as in Daniel 9:24) who is being set at nothing. His counsel, His wisdom is despised. It is mocked. There is that magnificent crescendo of power and passion as the people successively "take counsel against the Lord and His anointed" in just that togetherness when rejected as we saw they had when they created. Before we proceed, it would now be timely to note the interesting rendering of the Vulgate, for Proverbs 8 at the point of "fondling". It has "cuncta componens". What a fascinating and exceptionally powerful phrase that is! It means one with togetherness, integrity, wholeness (cuncta) and one brought together, acting as one. These terms in unison to my mind almost make history.
What unity is this! What emphasis emphasised do we have here! Yet this also seems true to the enormous stress in the Hebrew on steadfastness and nurture. The sense of this phrase could almost be rendered "acutely involved in an integrity that is unitary, though there is diversity". It does not rest till it has said it all. There is, or can be in Latin, a wonderful style and brevity combined (though you pay for it in all those nearly endless endings).
Well then, in Psalm 2 there is this unity of opposition to the unity of the Lord and His anointed. Let us cast THEIR bonds away! This is the cry of the rebellion being depicted prophetically in this Psalm, quoted in this light in the book of Acts in the New Testament.
So against the Lord and His anointed in their oneness, the people
a) take counsel
b) they rage
c) they imagine (a vain thing, like the Proverbs 7 "bad woman" either in the physical or the spiritual sense, or as appears in the context of the Old Testament on this topic - BOTH), working rebellion in their minds whilst doubtless showing it with their hands
d) they will cast away the restrictions, the limitations, the word which oppresses them in their licentious liberties, their hearts fattened until the cloth of Christ is too tight for them, showing restraint where they would deny themselves in power, NOTHING!
e) they will BREAK the bonds.
In fact they first break and then cast away in a succession of enmity and aversion, and one can almost see them doing it in a kind of rage of frustration, a dynamic of dis-faith and a cyclotron of defiance.
In response God will
a) laugh at them in the heavens.
b) hold them in derision - a more permanent-seeming perspective on them.
c) speak in His wrath - to them.
d) distress them in His "deep displeasure" - murder is never nice and deicide is a grave to beauty, a defiance of truth and a request for a death-dealing destiny.
e) set up HIS KING on HIS HOLY HILL (that is, where He was meant to be, in Jerusalem, city-wise, and in the earth over which, having co-created it, He has due reign)
f) declare HIS DIVINE DECREE.
This is a begetting of this being, His Messiah, THIS DAY. That is, although long have they worked together, even before the beginning of creation, in eternal places (Micah 5:1-3), yet now there is in this very pronouncement of divine power in the face of this aggravated cyclotronage of human rebellion, an action in its face. The SON rejected is MADE MANIFEST as living and KING anyway; He is resurrected as we see in Psalm 16, and see implied here, in the face of the ferocity and the frequent prophetic rendering in Zechariah, Isaiah and Daniel of this fact. Begotten from the dead, He is thrust into the midst of His rejection, in the sense of re-establishment after the marauding murder is fulfilled, so that He is "first-begotten from the dead" as Paul renders it, He is to be given His place again.
Thus God will
g) give Him the nations for His inheritance.
h) break this ruinous and graceless rebellion.
i) do it with dynamic.
God then asks the kings to be wise, the judges to be instructed. The judges who might seem sources of inspired judgment, but who when the nations raged, were the exact opposite, had better now learn what they should have known. The bonds of grace were not given place for divine adventurism, but in truth; and their casting aside is to cast life aside. God has allowed His Messiah to suffer, and to redeem, and now will rule, giving righteousness its relish and its place.
"Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling!" He instructs.
Now all this brings us at last to our immediate vital point.
To whom are the nations, the judges, the people to come in this situation, where the divine unity has thus been assaulted ? It is to one so close in unity and in affection that He is called "THE SON". It is not here "MY SON", as if there were some relationship being stated, but "THE SON" as if there were no other relationship that could be. Some might be adopted, but this is "THE SON".
And what is the reaction to be? It is this: KISS THE SON, LEST HE BE ANGRY.
Affection cannot be bought, but it is in place in the light of the prodigious divine kindness in redemption (cf. Titus Chs.2-3). Without the love of Christ, says Paul, "let him be accursed". It is the sine qua non, the essential, the indispensable. If you do not have love, love as one brought up, love as a child of God, you do not have what the universe is founded upon, its rebellions and curses notwithstanding! "He who hates me loves death!" remains what the WISDOM of God has said, and we remember Christ is MADE TO US WISDOM, as well as RIGHTEOUSNESS (I Cor. 1:30).
Thus this Person, this Messiah is once again, seen as the SON OF GOD. Elsewhere on several occasions (e.g. SMR Chs.8-9, with Ch.7, Section 4, Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Items 13, 17,20,23 and in Biblical Blessings, Appendix-News), we have shown the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and His coming as the incarnation definitively of that One who is God-the-Sent. Here however we are dwelling on the eternal sonship of Christ. Now of course it is not biological in the eternal sense, since they neither marry nor are given in marriage in heaven, as Christ stated. As indeed we have seen in Proverbs 8 and can see in Colossians 1, for example, as well as in John 1:1-3, and I John 1:1-4, Christ is the eternal creator in companionship with the Father. In Him dwells, as Colossians 2 tells us, all the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form.
The Father sent the Son into the world, says John in I John 4:9-10. The love of God in John 3:16, paralleling John 1:1-3,12-14, is so vast because this ONE who was eternal with Him (John 8:58, cf. Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 45:1-6, Hebrews 1, Zechariah 12:10, 2:8, Isaiah 28:16,, 48:16) is given a temporal form, sent thus into the world (Philippians 2). Not some extraneous thing, but what has the full parallel for man, in sonship, being fellows; and what in uniqueness has likewise the full force, the only one like me, of me, integumentally mine. This is essential to the integrity of the passage, which is showing that the Father SO loved the world that He did this. The incarnation is the mode, the biological format. The essential sonship is celestial. There is sonship in heaven, though not as we know it. What we know is its created parallel, analogue.
Again we read in Ezekiel 17, the parable of the tender twig. Using the fact that Israel had been rebellious in breaking a contract under divine discipline with another nation, and that a king had been taken from them into exile by the offended, conquering nation, God proceeds to talk of this in terms of horticulture. There was a cedar, the highest branch of which was cropped by an eagle and taken to another land.
Now using this parable, the Lord indicates a startling feature to come. In Ezekiel 17:22-24, we learn of a TENDER TWIG, which HE will plant on a high and prominent mountain. IT will "bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a majestic cedar. Under it will dwell birds of every sort: in the shadow of its branches they will dwell." This of course is the parable used by Christ with reference to the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:31-32).
Let us pursue this parable in Ezekiel now. It goes on:
the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord,
have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree,
dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish;
I , the Lord, have spoken and have done it."
There, once again, is this precious prophetic perfect, the telling of a coming event with such graphic force and vital conviction that it is said as if done.
Now the "root out of a dry ground" becomes interpreted in Isaiah 53. The Messiah who is to be murdered, as seen in that chapter of Isaiah, is to start on earth as a "root out of a dry ground". This ROLE is a tag, a code, a logo. It is His. It is that also for the tender twig, which though tender, is given no luxury in its implantation. Christ was in fact born in a manger. Wealth did not caress Him, nor did indulgence form His life. But He grew till the whole world is not enough to contain Him; which is not surprising, since before His definitive incarnation, He co-created it. THIS is REAL pastoral care!
This is that same tenderness, and here is that same delight we have seen in Isaiah 42:1-3, in Proverbs, this loving delight which is of the Lord, which alone brings families to fruition, marriage to reality and inter-relationships among mankind to reality, and not dimness of anguish, superficiality or littleness, which indeed alone is health to the world.
Sin has a double
problem: it makes its practitioners ugly, hence harder to love, and spoils
them for themselves as well. It is the peculiar marvel of the love of God
(Romans 5:1-11), that when we were yet SINNERS (i.e. ungodly ignoramuses
of what matters), that Christ died. He did not die in delight at the wonder
of the little marvels He was redeeming; He died despite their ugliness and
sin-shame syndrome. His death avails for all who receive Him. Otherwise,
He told them, "You shall die in their sins" - that is, "If you do not believe that I am He".
As Wisdom, speaking personally, and indeed MOST personally in Proverbs 8, puts it: ALL WHO HATE ME LOVE DEATH.
IT IS A FUNEREAL COURTSHIP WITH A COFFIN.
But in Him
is a lively friendship with God.
EXTENSION - An Application
WITH THE PHILOSOPHY OF PHILO
God, unlike man, knows the form of God, the nature of His life and the way He acts within Himself. He tells us in Proverbs 8, and in many places, especially in the Gospel of John and in Colossians; but indeed throughout the Gospels we find from His own lips, the declarations which inform on these things. However, when man decides to "investigate" the heart and inward goings (cf. Micah 5:3) of God Himself, rather than to understand from His word and works what in fact is His power and grandeur, and the nature of what He has said, we come to the futile realm of foolish philosophy (Colossians 2:8).
It is so in fact, presuming where it has no place, indeed more than in the folly of making 'space' a place for man (Psalm 115), the mind of man can construct a fabric of presumptuous fantasy which adds to the word of God, and would penetrate that light to which no man can approach. Christ has led forth God to show us, but it is quite another thing when someone seeks to breach he barrier of incandescence and merely announce what he imagines, the philosophy of frustration and vanity.
Philo became famous about the time of Jesus Christ (and lived past the crucifixion and the resurrection with some zeal for what he took to be the Jewish faith) for his ambitious deliverances in just this field. It is of interest to us here as both a divagation, an exploration without adequate ground, into the area which Jesus Christ had JUST shown in the only historical direct incursion of the Godhead into human form, he only definitive expression of Himself in this way. Here was a bypass indeed!
Yes, Philo, like Arius, is a somewhat distinctive character. Arius too vexed the church and Athanasius, back of the Athanasian creed in substance, was banished five times before it was over, that great controversy which the Jehovah's Witnesses still take on the downward side, to their bosom. Arius' influence too was felt and some succumbed, indeed many; and some were slow to realise the implications, as today of course with Rome, though there is not now the excuse that one is ignorant, or too busy, for Reformers of merit, acuity and distinction have long adorned the scene from Wickliffe and before to the present.
Philo's heresy, which downgrades Christ to created status, for that reason has some little similarity to that of Arius - except of course Philo was not a professing Christian, so that it was the Word which he was downgrading, the Word which is the Christ. It is cast in lofty language, which always helps that sort of thing. Such could appeal to many an unwary soul. I well remember when in N.Z. the lofty language with which the bodily resurrection was dismissed from required service in the church, being given instead merely a stall where it could appear as an option (because of which, in the end, I was to leave that former church body which, in such terms of speech, became a heretical sect thereby). If Christ be not risen then our faith is in vain, as Paul said in I Corinthians 15:1-4, having already noted that, as Machen put it, the THING which was put in the ground was the THING which was raised.
They did not in NZ say this: WE REPUDIATE THE BODILY RESURRECTION, or: WE THINK IT IS ASKING TOO MUCH TO BELIEVE THIS; or even this: : IT IS A POSSIBLE OPTION IF YOU WANT TO WEAR IT. What they rather said was to the effect that ... within the scope of the existing controversy, they wished to affirm that both parties in the debate were within the ambit of belief acceptable and held within the NZ Presbyterian Church. That of course is quite as horrifying as the case the writer formerly met, when a Baptist Principal in a church reputedly biblical, nevertheless sought for long to attack - but in vain - the Bible. This he did over and over during a time when I was talking to him, in concert with one of his professors. The Lord had secretly prepared me for that confrontation, though I did not expect it to be what it was; but this did nothing to lessen its exposure of inner workings in unexpected places, nowadays alas, not so unexpected.
The word of God as always, remains. Indeed, if, as Gladstone put it, they want to start a religion, let them rise the third day and so forth, but not use the name of another.
Back to Philo: yes, he of course had an influence on a number of susceptible souls, and like Arius doubtless it would be felt in various ways, especially by the unwary, the unstable and the seduced.
His "contribution" may have sharpened perception of what the facts are NOT, as often happened. Plato and Philo doubtless have much in common. Philo's words and those of Christ, as with the RC, have some formal similarities pulverised by the categorical differences. The additions in both cases are not without peril (Proverbs 30:6); but some love to add to His words, their own. For my part: If God is the author, don't worry about your own two cents worth. Infinity bears no improvement and needs no ventriloquist; and the fact He is personal makes it worse when any try.
The Biblical doctrine of the Bible
is reviewed in Appendix D, especially, in
The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (pp. 1165-1186C). , and elsewhere such as in Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Appendix III, The Living God.
It is, then, well the Lord has stated the facts in the Bible, with stringent safeguards such as indeed one might well expect with anything of such absolute importance, sent by someone with such marvellous power, with such entirely fundamental results. Thus the intoxications of some sections of what is called the church may be sobered, and the accretions -
such as indeed Princeton Seminary, once one of the greatest in the world if not of all time, in 1929 in its fall, explicitly acknowledged in declaring the Bible to be ONE of the sources of doctrine - an be detached as cancers worthy of surgical removal.
As to God's own revelation especially in this area, in the Old Testament before Philo, some millenium later, it is textually investigated in the preceding pages along with reference in *2 of Item 31, pp. 265ff. infra. The former expounds what the Bible actually says of the "wisdom" of God in a personal way, in the book of Proverbs, Ch.8. This passage, because it is the word of God, shows important aspects of the real relationship (which of course being personal, only God can know) between Father and Son, co-creator as in Colossians 1 *1, John 1:3. There is nothing new about it, Solomon preparing or at least presenting this about a millenium before Christ - and Philo, for that matter.
Philo wedded Plato - a formalist with occasional flashes (Timaeus) of thought of an Almighty being - with Moses; and naturally enough, the children are illegitimate, with some form of similarity at times to the authentic revealed statements from the One who knows what is in His heart, and what are the modes of inter-relationship and working. Being infinite, He knows well what may be merely imagined, and one does well not to play the tele-psychiatrist to Him. However such advice is not always taken, despite the fact that Paul so well notes in I Tim. 6:16, and the other fact of critical point here, moved to in John 1:18.
In particular, it is of interest to read in the Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (which, to use a word much loved by cognoscenti, is "prestigious") - Vol. 9, p. 40, that Philo held that God in Himself is unknowable. The Bible (John 1) states that Christ has declared Him - what is declared, of course, is not unknown, when the declarer is competent to the point - and in fact, eternal life (John 17:3) by flat contradiction of Philo, is stated by John to consist in knowing God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent*2.
This merely illustrates how utterly estranged the illegitimate child (Philo's thought) is from the Bible. Philo's construction of "mediators" from God is a multiple one; whereas as to God, His consists in one (I Timothy 1); and as to these mediators of Philo, when done, they leave the job of revelation of the "unknown God", in this way undone. Christ on the other hand declared, He who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14).
Again - "Between God the Infinite and the finite imperfect universe," Philo we find from Schaff to be teaching, "there is a wide gap which is, however, removed by being filled with divine potencies" - and of these the Word is the chief.
In the Bible, by contrast, however the Christ and the Father are one, in the sense of equality (John 10:30, Philippians 2), and there is never any question of "mere" instrument as John 5:19-23 makes clear - they do, we find Christ there telling us, THE SAME THING IN JUST THE SAME WAY, AND THE SON IS TO HAVE THE SAME HONOUR AS THE FATHER, AT THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE.
Philo's 'head dynamis' or chief mediator, is a sort of effluvium which has separate powers and does the stuff, forming and so forth. Biblically in both Testaments they are ONE God, with one name (Isaiah 28:16, Zechariah 2:8, Psalm 45), distinguished but not in any sense separate. Actually Philo is very like Aristotle in this - that Aristotle in many ways so loved by Rome.
Of course Philo's heresy extends further, as to be expected in any ideational marriage with Plato. Man was made imperfect, we find from his teaching, was indeed made not very good, being in such a perspective, equipped with capacity to sin; indeed, was made not by Logos alone, but with aid from some dynameis, mediators ... Thus the whole doctrine of God and man is warped incredibly and ceases to have even passing interest as serious exposition, or charm, involving dangerous presumption into declarations about the form of the divine Being and His mode of consisting within Himself.
Like so many of this kind of 'interpreter' of God, Philo has sown many seeds which have, to change the image, become stuck in the trouser legs, or long socks of many, and have been deposited in many places, before being picked up by the relevant vacuum cleaners. It is sometimes indirectly useful in stirring up the due use of vacuum cleaners, this sort of thing, which then may pick up other stray seeds; but then, prickly seeds which pierce the foot are not entirely to be coveted in the first place. (Cf. I Corinthians 11:19).
*1 Colossians 1:15-23 is given careful exposition and is intensely interesting in this sphere, being distinctive, Biblically integrated as indeed is ALL the Bible, each part complementing the other, supplementing it like a cohesive fabric of delightful tartan, fearlessly individual in strains, gloriously harmoniously in totality - and what more so than the Gospels, written with that fearless objectivity which comes from the reality which needs neither timidity nor excuse, that frankness like that of someone who knows his team has won, and is not confined to effort, the facts being able to speak, yes to shout for themselves.
For this, see Appendix IV in Biblical Blessings: The Redeemer who has a Infinitude of His own, being God as Man: The Magnificence of the Messiah. This really is integral with the above.
For further in this area, see Bible Blessings, Ch. 10, The Unsurpassable Pinnacle, Jesus Christ and SMR Ch.7, Part 4, pp. 532ff..
*2 Of course, eternal life is God's. Such is its nature, and the nature of Him who gives it, that eternal life thus given, is also indissoluble, indestructible, inerosible, uncancellable - for the Yea and Amen of God has granted it (II Cor. 1:18-20, Revelation 3:14 - He from whom all Creation has its beginning, as the commanding word of God, John 1:1, 5:19-23, 8:58, I John 1:1-4, 5:12-13, 3:9, I Thess. 5:9-10, Col. 3:13, Phil. 3:20-21), and it involves an inheritance "incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade way, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time..." ( I Peter 1:4-5).
To be sure, fraudulent nominalists, glancing at it and 'adopting' it in name only are no more covered by it than are those who consider an insurance policy, but do not sign, though they go out to dinners many a time with the representative. Indeed, they are less covered, since there is no possibility whatever of deception with God, even in fact thought they should run or found churches, and those a plenty.
Though many try to sell Him (cf. Zech. 11:10-13, John 13:27, Acts 1:16-19), He is not for sale, and His life is available only as a gift to faith (Romans 6:23, 5:1).