Philo: "Every Good Man is Free"
January 26, 2012
"You can't feel good without being good." We spend our loves trying to skirt
Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary of Christ, reminds us that freedom is a
spiritual state. A reader, Al Thompson, reviews Philo's inspiring essay, "Every
Good Man is Free."
by Al Thompson
"....Every wicked man is a slave, and that proposition I fully established by
many natural and unquestionable arguments;" "......we will proceed to show
that every virtuous man is free."
Anyone who offends God in any way is indeed a slave. He is in bondage to
Satan or evil and there is no way a man can please God while breaking any of His
Philo (20 BCE - 50 CE), known also as Philo of Alexandria was a Hellenistic
Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria. His work was important for
several Christian Church Fathers but has been ignored by Judaism.
"...God is my ruler, and no mortal man....."
"For, in real truth, that man alone is free who has God for his leader;..."
Ultimately, this is the only viable condition for any man, woman, or
child. Because man-made laws are too inconsistent, too capricious, and too
convoluted to be of any practical use.
God's natural laws are very easy to understand because they are self-evident.
By taking other men out of the equation, the true relationship between God and
man is direct and profound. There is no middleman because it isn't needed.
The goal should be the acquisition of virtue and good character. These things
can be acquired by keeping within the natural law of God's creation. And that
is all for which most people are responsible. We don't need any religious
nonsense to satisfy God. What we need is to build good character within
ourselves in order to defeat the evil. Evil is weak and ineffective, and there
is no good thing that can come from it. And people who are engaged in evil are
then slaves to it. There's a reason why it is called bondage.
"But the virtuous man has absolutely no obstacle at all since he rises up
against, and resists, and overthrows, and tramples on fear, and cowardice, and
pain, and all things of that kind, as if they were rivals defeated by him in the
public games. For he has learned to disregard all the commands which those most
unlawful masters of the soul seek to impose upon him."
Notice the use of the words "unlawful masters." Can we not apply them to our
religious and political leaders? All politicians and religious leaders I am
aware of are chronic liars and only use God's laws if it suits their agenda.
"But the virtuous man does do everything wisely; therefore he alone is free.
And indeed the man whom it is not possible either to compel to do anything, or
to prevent from doing anything, cannot possibly be a slave; and one cannot
compel or prevent the virtuous man."
This is a very important point. A wise man cannot be compelled to do anything
that he doesn't want to do. A virtuous man cannot be corrupted. And I think
that if more men and women made it a point to avoid their evil inclinations it
would make their lives--and those around them-- a lot more pleasant.
No matter what the situation, the virtuous man will always have the upper hand
in everything because he is setting his foundation upon natural law that is in
turn established by the God who created us.
"..Slavery, then, is of two kinds; slavery of the soul and slavery of the
body. Now, of our bodies, men are masters; but over our souls, wickedness and
the passions have the dominion. And we may speak of freedom in the same
manner. For one kind of freedom gives fearlessness of body in respect of any
dangers which can come upon it from men of still more powerful body; while the
other produces peace to the mind, by putting a check upon the authority of the
Evil and passions have a way of putting us into a type of stupor where we do
evil things and can't seem to control it. By exercising a little self-control,
any man can separate himself from evil and build up his character by obeying
Religions seem to blur the common sense that God established under natural law.
When I conduct my behavior in line with God's commandments, I seem to have more
inner peace and I don't have a lot of bad things happening to me.
As I look back on my life, bad things happened due to my disobedience to God's
law. Having said that, I am not a religious man, and I don't practice any
religious rituals because they always have the potential to lead me into
I just leave all religious rituals alone as they are too dangerous to use. I
don't go to any churches or religious functions because there is simply too
Goodness and virtue are things that every man, woman, or child should be
pursuing rather than digging themselves deeper and deeper into the hole of
In addition, there is no sense in studying evil people and evil events. They
are what they are and it is destructive to the mind to keep studying things that
are stupid; nothing smart comes from it.
Sure, you need to know the basics, but after that, there's no sense in viewing
it over and over again. Keeping the mind continually focused on the goal of
becoming a good man or woman should be of the highest priority.
An unabridged version of this article can be
A copy of Every Good Man is Free
Walter Allen Thompson is the author of Grace of
Repentance: Keeping God's Commandments and is a former businessman, income tax
activist, who has recently spent over 5 years at a federally-funded sabbatical
in a gated community. His website is