The Mysterious Hidden Wisdom

How do you sum up the mystical hidden wisdom that existed before the ages in a single Word?

The Alef and the Tav. Artwork from the Torah Club Jesus, My Rabbi study. (Image and art © First Fruits of Zion)

The apostles say that all things were created through the Messiah. This truth is closely connected with the role of God's Wisdom "in the beginning." God created the universe through the agency of His Wisdom: “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth” (Proverbs 3:19). As Paul says, “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7). What is the mysterious, hidden wisdom that existed before the ages?

The book of Proverbs personifies God’s Wisdom and gives it a voice. Wisdom claims that she was present at the time of the creation and that she was the master workman at God’s side. Wisdom declares, “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth” (Proverbs 8:22-23). She says that she was present with God before the depths existed, before the mountains, before the earth, before the waters above, before the waters below, before the heavens. She says, “I was beside Him, as a master workman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him” (Proverbs 8:30).

Don’t think of God’s Wisdom as a separate person different from Him. God’s attribute of Wisdom is Himself, but not the totality of His transcendent being. God’s Wisdom is a unique aspect of His self-expression.
Jewish scholars took note of hints in the Hebrew that connect Wisdom with the Work of Creation. For example, the Bible links Wisdom and the first Hebrew word of Genesis together:

In the beginning (reshit) God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

The fear of the LORD is the beginning (reshit) of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10)

The LORD possessed me (Wisdom) at the beginning (reshit) of His way, before His works of old. (Proverbs 8:22)

The early Aramaic versions of the Torah make the link between Wisdom and the creation narrative even more obvious. While in exile in Babylon, the Jewish people adopted Aramaic as their common tongue. By the days of the apostles, most of the Jewish people living in Judea and Galilee no longer understood biblical Hebrew fluently. The early Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible were more like paraphrases than serious translations, and the Jewish translators of the day imported their theology and tradition into their translations. The early paraphrases of Genesis 1:1 imply the belief that Wisdom served as a co-creator with God:

From the beginning, with Wisdom the LORD created and perfected the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

In Wisdom the LORD created. (Genesis 1:1)

The Gospel of John incorporates these ideas when it declares that, "in the beginning," the Word was with God and was God, and all things are created through the Word. If, by the Word (Logos), John means “God’s Wisdom personified,” we can understand the first three verses of his gospel as follows:

In the beginning was the Wisdom,
And the Wisdom was with God,
And the Wisdom was God.
It was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through Wisdom,
And apart from Wisdom, nothing came into being that has come into being.

Then that Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That's how you sum up the mysterious hidden divine Wisdom that pre-existed the universe into a single Word.

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