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Wisdom
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Submitted: Sep 13, 2012
By Debbonnaire Kovacs


Here's something different. Different to me, anyway. I have read the Old Testament apocrypha before (and I can't figure out why we got stuck with the version of Esther that doesn't include God, instead of the lovely Greek Esther) but I don't recall this. It was one of the possibilities you could select on what is known as the Lectionary Page. 

It's very reminiscent of parts of Proverbs, in which wisdom and folly are both personified as women. In fact, in Proverbs 8, wisdom is personified as a child growing up beside God and watching (perhaps helping) him create the universe. Some have seen in those verses a "younger" (odd term to use for an eternally pre-existing Being) God the Son, "growing up" beside God. However, it clearly uses feminine pronouns (not that any human pronouns are more or less correct to use for God), and in context, is seen to be the personified Lady Wisdom. I was tempted to use the title "Mother Wisdom," as a contrast with the colloquial "Mother Nature," but decided that was just inviting controversy.

Don't worry, I'm not saying the apocrypha should be equal to the Bible; I believe God oversaw what got put into the canon and what did not. I do believe, however, that wisdom, that invaluable commodity, can be found in quite a few unlikely places--the apocrypha, unexpected books by obscure authors, a song on the radio, the clouds at sunset, the faces of your co-workers. . . even in the cybersphere of Adventist Today!

Happy Sabbath to all!

Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1
For wisdom is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
Although she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
in every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.
She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
and she orders all things well.

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Join in the discussion:

Barry Wecker
2012-09-14 9:00 PM

Proverbs 8 is a beautiful allegory to the love between the first member of our triune God and the second member.  In this chapter read Wisdom = the Word = the second person of God = "she".  The "he" in this chapter refers to the first member of our triune God.  In chapter 9 we can assume that stupidity refers to the adversary. 

Theist cosmologists and philosophers ask the question "Before the Creator created anything, before energy and matter were created, what was there?"  The most common answer is:  wisdom. 

Understanding the concept of wisdom as an allegorical reference to our God has made me appreciate the name chosen for the greatest church of Christendom built by the Emperor Justinian -- the Church of the Holy Wisdom (Hagia Sophia). 

Thought provoking article -- thanks.

Elaine Nelson
2012-09-15 12:04 AM

Debonnaire,

That is an idea that is seldom heard.  I discovered several years ago that the word used as wisdom:  Sophia, is very similar to the word John uses in the prelude to his Gospel:  "In the beginning was the word.....  In the beginning was Wisdom.  Is there any wonder why this is so seldom discussed....the feminine as representing God? 

Debbonnaire Kovacs
2012-09-22 6:42 AM

The feminine in God is very threatening to some people. I think there are many reasons, and one of them even makes sense, to a certain extent. That is the tendency on the part of humans throughout human history to sexualize femininity and therefore to sexualize any idea of a feminine side to God. Hence you have fertility religions, in which there is a male god and a female god and when they mate it causes the earth to be fertile. These religions frequently have priests and priestesses with whom the "worshiper" has sex in order to convince the gods to make their land fertile. I know people today who believe in this sort of thing, and that sex is connection with god.
God's opinion of this kind of false worship is very clear in Scripture, and I think that's part of the reason why some people are so wary of using any feminine pronouns or ideas concerning God. (By the way, Shekinah is also feminine.)
The devil isn't creative. He (another case of human pronoun) only takes what God has made and twists it. So there's even truth behind the above confusion--sex is powerful and godly, within the kind of eternal committed relationship modeled for us by the oneness of the triune God. The health and fertility of the planet is influenced by our spirits and their communion with the Great Spirit. So you can see where things come from. The answer, I believe, is just to keep things simple and straightforward. Commune with God in every moment of life. That will bring immeasurable "fertility" into our inner and outer lives. It doesn't require lustful rituals.

Elaine Nelson
2012-09-22 12:08 PM

God created the two sexes.  Too many Christians believe Satan created sex.

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