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Question

Good morning Father Angelo,

I am writing because I would like you to clarify a difficult matter.

Christians have since ancient times identified Christ with Wisdom.

But this identification of Christ with Wisdom leads us to believe that Christ is a creature and not God.

In fact, both in the book of Proverbs (Prov 8:22, “The Lord begot me, the first-born of his ways”) and in the book of Sirach (Sir 24:9, “…he created me…) it is written that Wisdom was created.

If we interpret Christ as Wisdom, then Christ was created and is submitted to God and is not God.

Can you clarify this identification of Christ with Wisdom? How can we consider Christ not being made and call him Wisdom?

Thank you

Marco


Response from the priest

Dear Marco,

1.     the verse 22 of the eighth chapter of Proverbs reads: “The Lord begot me, the first-born of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago”.

And the verse 23 specifies: “From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.”

Then it goes on with a majestic pace that presents Wisdom as a person with whom God does everything: “When he established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep; when he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth; when he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command; then was I beside him as his craftsman” (Prov 8:27-30).

2.     The prologue of the Gospel of John says well who this person is who collaborated with God in being the craftsman of all things:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.” (Jn 1:1-3).

Word of God and wisdom of God are the same.

3. As you can see, nothing leads us to think that the Wisdom spoken of in Sacred Scripture is a creature.

4. With reference to Prov 8:23, here is what the well-known biblical scholar Father Vaccari writes: “The praise of wisdom here reaches its peak and touches the sublime.

God himself used Wisdom to engineer this wonderful universe, enchanting for the multitude, variety and beauty of the creatures that adorn it and for the harmonious order that reigns there”.

The sage in this sublime ode amplifies and deepens the thought briefly sketched in Prov 3:19-20 (“The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, established the heavens by understanding; by his knowledge the depths break open, and the clouds drop down dew”), but presents Wisdom in a completely new and daring conception.

It is not an abstraction for him, it is a concrete being, living and operating alongside God. But it is not a creature, it is a divine being, since it existed before God created anything (22-26), and it contributed to the creation of everything (27-30).

It seems to be an essential attribute of God; but it is personified with such a strong emphasis that from this description there was only one step left to distinguish several persons in God.

The step was taken with the incarnation of the Divine Wisdom in Jesus Christ ” (cf. G. Girotti, Commentary on Prov 8:23).

5. These remarks apply not only to Prov 8:23 (“From of old I was poured forth”), but also to Sir 24:9 (“He created me…”).

Therefore the Arians, who affirm that the Son (Wisdom) is the first creature of God, cannot lean on these texts because this Wisdom is before all created things: “When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water; before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet the earth and the fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world.” (Prov 8:24-26).

I bless you and I remind you to the Lord.

Father Angelo


Translated by Chiara P.