Scott Hafemann, «'Divine Nature' in 2 Pet 1,4 within its Eschatological Context», Vol. 94 (2013) 80-99
This article offers a new reading of what it means in 2 Pet 1,4 to participate in the «divine nature». The divine fu/sij («nature») in 2 Pet 1,4 refers not to an abstract, divine «essence» or «being», but to God’s dynamic «character expressed in action» in accordance with his promises. Being a fellow participant (koinwno/j) of this «nature» thus refers to taking part in the eschatological realization of the «new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells» (cf. ta\ e)pagge/lmata in 2 Pet 1,4 with e)pagge/lma in 2 Pet 3,13).
88 SCOTT HAFEMANN
that â€œguides people into reasonable and virtuous livesâ€, so that, as its
corollary, Philo is the first extant Greek writer to speak so often of the
Î½á½¹ÂµÎ¿Ï‚ fusewj 29. Philo can therefore say that the Mosaic law guiding
human behavior expresses the law of nature (cf. Ebr. 37; Spec. 2.129;
3.137). Conversely, the true life of serving the â€œGod that is,â€ who is
the oldest cause of all things, is â€œinscribed on the tablets of natureâ€
(Spec. 1.31: á¼Î½ Ï„Î±á¿–Ï‚ Ï„á¿†Ï‚ Ï†á½»ÏƒÎµÏ‰Ï‚ ÏƒÏ„á½µÎ»Î±Î¹Ï‚ á¼€Î½Î±Î³á½³Î³ÏÎ±Ï€Ï„Î±Î¹). In short,
the goal of life taught by philosophers was also taught by Moses (cf.,
e.g., Migr. 128). The unwritten truths in the law of nature lead to the
same virtues written down in the law of Moses (Mos. 2.216) 30.
In this manner Philo combines the philosophical concept of â€œna-
tureâ€ found in both the Stoicism and Middle Platonism of his day
with the biblical view of God as the transcendent creator and ruler
of nature itself. Nevertheless, although Philoâ€™s use of the language
of lo,goj and Ï†á½»ÏƒÎ¹Ï‚ for Godâ€™s operation in the cosmos recalls Stoic
theology, â€œStoic ideas on pantheism and Godâ€™s corporeal nature are
so obviously false that Philo hardly ever bothers to polemicize
against themâ€ 31. From Philoâ€™s own use of Ï†á½»ÏƒÎ¹Ï‚ as part of his inte-
gration project, it is clear that Stoicismâ€™s â€œemphasis on divine om-
nipresence and the divine activity of nature (Ï†á½»ÏƒÎ¹Ï‚) in the cosmos
Philo finds deserving of incorporation in his own theological de-
scriptions, provided they are understood as applying at the level of
the divine Logosâ€ 32. Philoâ€™s adaptation of the philosophical views
MARTENS, One God, 75.
Cf. MARTENS, One God, 21, 22, 28, 29, 84, 90, 91: on the one hand, in
Stoicism the â€œlaw of natureâ€ was viewed as inherent within nature and known
only to the perfected reason of the sage (cf. Epictetus, Diatr. 4.7,34; Cicero,
Off. 1.100; Leg. 2.11), and so was never equated with written laws (Cicero,
Leg. 1.17, 42, 44; 2.13; Off. 3.69; Rep. 3.18; Seneca, Ep. 30; Epictetus, Diatr.
1.26.1-2; 4.3.11-12). On the other hand, Philoâ€™s unique move, due to his com-
mitment to the Torah, was to equate virtue with the unwritten law of nature
(Leg. 3.245; Post. 185; Abr. 16), which is equated with reason, which is equated
with Logos, which is equated with the law of God (Spec. 2.37), which is equated
with the living law (Î½á½¹ÂµÎ¿Ï‚ emyucoj) embodied in the king (Abr. 5).
RUNIA, Philo, 434.
RUNIA, Philo, 482-483. When it comes to the meaning of â€œnatureâ€ in a
theological context, the function of the Logos, â€œrepresenting the immanent
presence of the divine in the cosmos, certainly corresponds to that of the cos-
mic soul in the Timaeus, now â€˜modernizedâ€™ by the Stoic conceptâ€ (483, fol-
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