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 Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom

اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn
مؤسس ومدير المنتدى
أحمد محمد لبن Ahmad.M.Lbn

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Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom Empty
مُساهمةموضوع: Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom   Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom Emptyالإثنين 21 أغسطس 2017, 10:54 pm

Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom
I knew that I had to find out what "Word" meant. I looked it up in my Oxford Companion to the Bible and found that “Word” and “Wisdom” were synonymous in Jewish thought at the time of Jesus. The Oxford Companion directed me to the book of Proverbs, where I found Proverbs 8:22-30 (in which Wisdom is speaking): “The Lord brought me forth at the beginning of his work, before his deeds of old; I was appointed from eternity, from the beginning, before the world began.

When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the earth or its fields or any of the dust of the world. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was the craftsman at his side.” I also found Proverbs 3:19-20: “By Wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.”

My introduction to the Spirit of Wisdom as the first of God’s creations came as quite a shock! These verses described a created being who could fulfill the criteria set by the opening to the Gospel of John and yet not be God. If this was true, then I only had to reject a misinterpretation, something that I found vastly preferable to rejecting every Prophet in the Bible and my own Faith in God. I started to review everything that I could find about Wisdom in various translations and my Oxford Companion.

The Oxford Companion led me to two books of Apocrypha termed “Wisdom Literature”. The following apocryphal quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version.

Jesus ben Sira was reportedly a devout Jew of Jerusalem who had lived about two centuries before Jesus Christ. The book he wrote, ‘Sirach' or 'Ecclesiasticus’, was included in all editions of the Bible up to the time of the Reformation, when it was excluded from Protestant and Calvinist texts. According to my Oxford Companion, the grounds for this exclusion had been that only Greek translations were available at that time and that its canonicity had been therefore somewhat questionable.

Since then, Hebrew versions have been found at Qumran and Masada, and because of this, the exclusion seemed to me to be invalid. In the book, Wisdom proclaims in Sirach 24:1-12: “Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory: ‘I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist.

I dwelt in the highest heavens, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud. Alone I compassed the vault of heaven and traversed the depths of the abyss. Over waves of the sea, over all the earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway. Among all these I sought a resting place; in whose territory should I abide? Then the Creator of all things gave me a command, and my Creator chose the place for my tent. He said: “Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive your inheritance.”

Before the ages, in the beginning, he created me, and for all the ages I shall not cease to be. In the holy tent I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion. Thus in the beloved city he gave me a resting place, and in Jerusalem was my domain. I took root in an honoured people, in the portion of the Lord, his heritage.’”

Another book of the Apocrypha, "The Wisdom of Solomon", written by an anonymous Jewish scholar, was also part of the Canon of the Bible until the time of the Reformation. The Wisdom of Solomon 7:25-27 reads: “For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing evil gains entrance into her. For she 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.”

I remember feeling quite angry that no one had ever mentioned the creation story in Proverbs to me before, or anything else about the Spirit of Wisdom, because "she" was quite able to fill the role of the “Word” spoken of at the beginning of the Gospel of John and not be God. In fact, it seemed quite unlikely that the Gospel actually intended any other meaning. The phrase: “and the Word was God.

He was with God at the beginning” had always confused me because I had never understood how the Word could both be God and be with God at the same time. I had always supposed that this verse had been the foundation of the concept of God being three persons in one being, the doctrine of the Trinity. Reading these books, it was easy to see how the Spirit of Wisdom, as a reflection and image of God, and a pure emanation from Him, could be said to "be" God.

Wisdom was made of God's goodness and power. It would have been as normal to say that Wisdom was God as it would be to say that salt was a spice, or two a number, without meaning that all spices are salt, or that all numbers are two. 

Based on Ecclesiasticus, I could imagine the excitement of the Jewish theologians as they watched and waited for a sign that Wisdom had been manifested amongst them, as had been prophesied.

After I realized this, I was still confused, but very excited as well. I didn’t know what to do, where to go, what to think or whom to talk to. One thing that I noticed immediately was that the feeling of panic I had felt earlier had by now pretty much disappeared. It seemed that I was very close to some real breakthrough in understanding. Jesus, indwelt and supported by the Spirit of Wisdom, could have fulfilled the prophecies and records of the Bible and yet not be God.

I reread the Book of Proverbs with The Wisdom of Solomon and Sirach, and then all of John’s writings and the rest of the Gospels. I realized that there was no contradiction between what the Old and New Testaments said about Jesus’ relationship to God. Jesus was not God, or a liar, or a madman! The declarations at the beginning of the Gospel of John did not have to be construed as declarations of Jesus’ divinity. They could mean that John believed that the Spirit sent by God to Jesus had been the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Prophecy, sent to all prophets, and another of God’s creations. If this had been the intention of the writer, then the conflict between Old and New Testament had never existed!

The doctrine of the Trinity as it had been taught to me said that the Holy Spirit, Jesus and the Father were all aspects of the same divine, eternal, uncreated, One God. Although I had tried long and hard, I couldn't find any verse in the Bible that actually said that this was true. In these "Wisdom" books, I had found that doctrine refuted. The Spirit of Wisdom was God's first creation, uttered as “Word” or “Breath” and then participating with God in the rest of Creation.

Wisdom of Solomon 7:22 said: “For wisdom, the Fashioner of all things, taught me.” If The Spirit of Wisdom was the Holy Spirit, and if John had taught that this Spirit was the one seen to descend on Jesus at his baptism, then everything else recorded to have been said by Jesus and written in the Gospel according to John made sense. John 1:32-33 said: “Then John (the Baptist) gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”

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Chapter 7: The Spirit of Wisdom
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