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The Logos Continuum: Sophia & Genesis

Philo Judaeus, a Hellenistic Jew who lived in Alexandria, adopted some of the Stoic ideas of the Logos. But an important point to be made is that Philo distinguished between the Logos and God. His idea of the Logos as the "word of God," as in Scripture,was specifically derived from Jewish Hellenistic wisdom literature which used the word "wisdom" essentially as the "word of God." Philo was talking about the Sophia. [Winston, pp. 24-25, 30]

Philo likened this wisdom, this Word, as to a spring of water--in that out of reason flowed speech. Especially important in this analogy is that the "reason" is the Source and the "speech" is the Flow. Philo presents us with a two-fold Logos--a Ground of Being out of which flows manifested intelligence.

He believed in archetypal ideas that framed our intelligible world. And what we see manifested--visible objects--are likenesses of these ideas. So like the macrocosm, man is a microcosm. Like the Cosmos, man lives in a multidimensional context--there is within him reason which he utters as thought.

Philo believed God acted in this world through certain Powers: God's Goodness (Creative or Beneficient or Gracious Power); and God's Sovereignty (Regent, Punitive, or Legislative Power).

He also believed that the form of man was in the image of the Logos. And it was only through the Logos (alone) that man was capable of interacting with the Divine. And it followed that Philo believed that the entire sensible world was also a form of the Logos.

As for the sequential account of Genesis, Philo believed this was a vehicle to indicate the "logical order in God's design of the universe." [Winston, pp. 24-25, 30]

Let us take a small look at Genesis--and see how it compares with the Big Bang and modern astrophysical cosmology.

"In the beginning of Creation, when God made heaven and earth, the earth was without form and void, with darkness over the face of the abyss, and a mighty wind that swept over the surface of the waters, God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light..." [Genesis 1: 1-4]

Out of No-Thing came a glowing ball of energy, compact and heavy beyond comprehension. This ball held within itself all the enfolded information that would forever fuel the unfolding Cosmos. This little ball, virtually a particle spatially small enough to be held in one's hand, contained the enfolded information of all the world that would bloom forth into cosmic reality.

"and God saw that the light was good, and he separated light from darkness..." [Genesis 1: 4-5]

This primordial ball exploded, unfolded simultaneously everywhere. Every particle rushed away from every other particle. The explosion filled all space--a space that curves back upon itself like the surface of a sphere.

Eventually the frenzied particles calmed dissolving into a great scattering, and the Cosmos began to transfigure itself. It fashioned the galaxies. These gigantic, self- organizing systems pinwheeled and clustered across the outer mantle of the Universe.

Feeding on helium and hydrogen, brillant stars and planets were born. The early planets bubbled forth as moltening gaseous soups that cooled into planetary crusts. Chemical creativity began to churn away. And on one of the planets, the Earth, the first living cell arose about four billion years ago.

"God said, 'Let the waters teem with countless living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of heaven.'" [Genesis 1: 20]

Gathering hydrogen from the oceans, releasing oxygen, these primal cells built the land and the atmosphere of the Earth. In time multicellular organisms arose. They began as corals, became worms and insects and fish. They wiggled and flashed about in the sea and on the land. They multiplied into many life forms. Experimenting, they discarded some forms and built upon others. And about two hundred million years ago mammals entered into the life of the Earth.

"Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image and likeness...'" [Genesis 1: 26]

From these mammals came the first glimmers of consciousness, a sense of emotional sensitivity and self-awareness. In due time the human brain unfolded.

"So it was; and God saw all that he had made, and it was very good..." [Genesis 1: 31]


  • David Winston, LOGOS AND MYSTICAL THEOLOGY IN PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA, Hebrew Union College Press, 1988.
  • Brian Swimme & Thomas Berry, THE UNIVERSE STORY, Harper, 1992.

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