Wisdom from Above
The Bible has a single theme: God’s visit to His world. * To believe this is to walk with Christian thinkers of 1900 years. But today, evangelicals see Scripture as discrete texts, lacking a unifying theme. We look at the literal meaning of ‘wisdom,’ largely ignoring its usage in the One Author’s Big Story.
Paul calls us to approach sacred writings together, so that we may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ … (Ephesians 3:18-19a, my emphasis).
We need powerful, Spirit-filled minds from all ages alongside us to grasp difficult texts.
In Proverbs 8, great Christian thinkers heard the Voice of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God. First, the Son is divine. The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his ways…. It doesn’t say, “He created me” or “acquired me,” as Wayne Grudem translates it. Some versions say “He fathered me” or “He possessed me by begetting me.” I was brought forth (v. 24).** A Divine Father begets a Divine Son. It was a begetting without a beginning.
The Word / Wisdom / Knowledge within the Divine Intellect is not an add-on. It’s one with God’s nature. Whatever is in the nature of God is God. God is not merely wise, He is Wisdom itself. Jesus is the Wisdom of God in human flesh, the ‘truth’ in John 1:14.
He’s truly human and truly divine. Jesus was a human being created by the Spirit, birthed by a woman without a father (John 1:13). When the Son was begotten of God in eternity, there was a Father, but no mother. Can we comprehend this? No.
Christ is also eternal. Here, we lack words. It’s beyond our paygrade. For Christ, the Divine Mind was His mind. Nothing of God was hidden. Every thought and every purpose was infinitely known to Him, in time before time, in a moment before moments. Christ eternally knew the depths of God. Christ dwells in the timelessness of eternity.
Also, He’s not merely a spectator at creation. He is its cause ( vv. 27-30). He is the master Craftsman. The word “craftsman” is “Amon,” which transliterates into Greek as “Amen.”
John plays off the words of Proverbs. The real meaning of the next phrase is, “The workman responsible for beginning Creation.” English fails us. The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation (Revelation 3:14).
He’s Creator of the universe, of this planet in particular. This is the theater where He exhibits His craftsmanship. Here He demonstrates the vastness of His Life and Being, of His Creativity and Wisdom.
Christ is also Redeemer, just one reason the Father delights in His Beloved Son (v. 30). The Son also rejoices in the Father (Matthew 3:17, Luke 20:13, Luke 10:21).
The Son enjoys His Creation. He delights especially in “the children of man” (vv. 30b-31). He expresses affection for you and me -- before one atom or gene was created! Truly, we’re the objects of everlasting love.
Why delight in us? Because He eternally planned to assume our nature and become human. This exalted Person of the Trinity bypassed lofty angels and was found in fashion as a man (Philippians 2:6-8).
Whatever you think about yourself, this Voice in Proverbs 8 describes His love and purpose in your salvation. The Nicene Creed says, “for us and for our salvation, He came down from heaven… and was made man.”
This eternal Word / Wisdom exchanged the throne of glory for the cross of shame. The Father’s Son left ineffable delight for indescribable derision, the worship of seraphim for the violence of man. He set aside inexpressible joy for unimaginable sorrow. Why? Because the fruit of His suffering would be another joy set before Him. So He endured the cross, despising the shame for your sake and for mine (Hebrews 12:2, Isaiah 53:11).
He’s Almighty Creator, yet friend of sinners. What then shall we do with Him? How should we respond to the Word, the Wisdom of God?
Listen to Him, keep His ways and heed His instructions. Blessed is the person who waits for Him, and so finds Life (vv. 32-35). He’s our Mediator. Through Him, we find grace and favor. Have you found that in Him?
It stretches our minds. We will never comprehend it. We’re at the edge of the precipice of all knowledge and experience. We can only bow in worship. “We worship you, Almighty God. We thank you for your Wisdom from on high breaking into our world.”
During Jesus’ earthly ministery many asked, “Where did He get this Wisdom?” According to God in His word, the answer is simple. He is the Word of God, God’s Wisdom made flesh.
Liam Goligher is Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Liam and his wife Christine have five adult children and ten grandchildren.
*A Sermon on Proverbs 8:22-35
**Any reference where the book is not mentioned refers to Proverbs 8:22-35.
This was an Advent sermon, but it was rooted in two audio series -- TRINITY: The Eternally Divine Son and TRINITY: The Two Natures of Christ available as CDs, MP3s or downloads. They are largely expositions of Hebrews 1 and 2, delivered in late 2016 and early 2017 by Liam Goligher, Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and speaker on No Falling Word.