WISDOM PERSONIFIED – Proverbs 8

Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, Before his works of old.

I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, Before the earth was.

When there were no depths, I was brought forth, When there were no fountains abounding with water.

Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills was I brought forth; While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, Nor the beginning of the dust of the world.

When he established the heavens, I was there: When he set a circle upon the face of the deep, When he made firm the skies above, When the fountains of the deep became strong, When he gave to the sea its bound, That the waters should not transgress his commandment, When he marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was by him, as a master workman; And I was daily his delight, Rejoicing always before him, Rejoicing in his habitable earth; And my delight was with the sons of men.

Proverbs 8:22‭-‬31 ASV

These verses are among the most discussed passages in all the Bible.

Here was a prominent battle ground of the great Arian controversy, which was led by Arius and his followers during the fourth century of this era.

They denied the oneness of Jesus Christ with the Father, basing their arguments largely upon Proverbs 8:22 in this passage.

We have already noted the stupidity of that argument, on the grounds that the passage does not even mention Christ.

That many of the things here stated with regard to Wisdom are also most certainly true of Christ is no proof whatever that everything here said of Wisdom is also true of Christ.

Therefore, even if Wisdom was created by God, how could that prove that Christ was a created being?

This, of course, is totally apart from the fact that the Septuagint (LXX) mistranslation of Proverbs 8:22, upon which the Arians based their heresy, was simply that, a mistranslation.

Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way” (Proverbs 8:22).

This is the line which the Septuagint (LXX) translated, “The Lord made me the beginning of his ways.”

The Arians, of course, read this, “The Lord created me, etc.” The current tragedy is that the RSV has erroneously translated this verse as, “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work.”

It is absolutely impossible that the RSV is correct in this rendition. There is no ground for the thought of creation either in the meaning of the root or in the general usage of the word.

Even the Anchor Bible rejected the stupid error of the RSV in this verse, rendering it, “The Lord possessed me, the first principle of his sovereignty.

Ugaritic literature (and the paganism that dominates it) has recently swung opinion toward `created’ as in the RSV.

The false notion that, “Wisdom was the first of God’s works,” overlooks the axiomatic truth that nothing could have been created, not even wisdom, without the Creator’s prior possession of it.

Any other postulation on this appears to this writer as the height of the ridiculous.

Ordinary human intelligence dramatically refutes such a corrupt rendition.

How, in the name of all that is reasonable, could God have created that Wisdom by which the worlds were made, if he did not indeed already possess it?

Let the scholars who authored this ridiculous translation answer that!

To say that God at first lacked Wisdom by which he would create all things, and that He had first either to create it or learn it is absurd.

The true translation of this Proverbs 8:22 is that in the KJV, which is also followed in the ASV.

Great controversy for ages has raged over the word from which the various words, made, possessed, and created have been translated.

But the truth is apparent even to the unlearned that God did not need to create wisdom, he possessed it!

And if God had not already possessed it, He would never, in a billion years, have been able to create it! In this connection, it must be remembered that the wisdom mentioned here was that knowledge by which heaven and earth were created.

Many scholars have devoted countless pages to the discussion of the problem reviewed here; but we shall not further bother with an old controversy that was actually decided more than a thousand years ago.

It is all resolved in the one incontrovertible truth that God did indeed “possess” (that’s the key word) all Wisdom, all Knowledge, all Intelligence, Omnipotence, Ubiquitousness, and Omniscience from the eternal past.

Furthermore, even the Septuagint (LXX) statement that, “The Lord made me (Wisdom) the beginning of his ways,” in no way suggests that God needed to create wisdom.

The passage merely says that God made it the beginning (or foundation) of all his works; and God could not possibly have done THAT unless he did indeed already possess Wisdom.

So the Arian heresy died because:

(1) It was founded upon a passage that did not say what they alleged that it said, and

(2) because if it indeed had said such a thing, it would not have applied to Christ, because the whole passage is a literary personification in which Christ is not even mentioned.

“I was set up from everlasting” (Proverbs 8:23).

It is impossible that this could have been said of any created thing.

The eternity of wisdom as a possession of God is here clearly stated.

This verse says that, “Wisdom is eternal.”

The RSV translators, seeing that this contradicted their false rendition of Proverbs 8:22, made it read, “Ages ago”; but unless we are willing to allow modern unbelievers to re-write the holy Bible to please themselves, we should reject their changes out of hand.

“Before the earth was … when there were no depths … fountains … mountains …hills … nor fields … I was there” (Proverbs 8:23-27).

These several expressions all say that Wisdom is eternal.

“When he made firm the skies above” (Proverbs 8:28).

The basic truth of this statement is totally lost on some evil writers.

The skies above us ARE INDEED FIRM.

The atmosphere itself is a divine coat of armor that protects the planet earth:

(1) from the ultra-violet radiation that would destroy all life without that “firm” atmosphere which includes the protective layer of ozone, and

(2) also from the myriads of wandering meteorites, which long ago would have pock-mocked our earth in a manner similar to that which is seen on the moon if it had not been for those “firm” skies. Every time one sees what is called “a falling star,” he is really witnessing our “firm” skies burning up and destroying another meteorite.

The destructive critics writing in the International Critical Commentary have perverted this passage by identifying it with Babylonian mythology, affirming that the Bible here teaches that:

“The sky was a solid dome supported on pillars, that there were two oceans, one beneath the earth and another above that solid dome, and that the rain came down when God opened the windows of heaven (Genesis 7:11).

All of this is an imaginary construction of modern (unbelieving) authors who take literally the figurative and poetic expressions of Biblical passages and, putting them together, build a crude cosmology which the Bible does not teach.

Unbelieving critics love to literalize Biblical passages for the purpose of denying the truth.

A New Testament example is in the statement of Christ regarding the deceased daughter of Jairus, “The child is not dead, but sleepeth” (Mark 5:39).

Toy’s writing with regard to the “windows” of heaven was cited by Harris as another example of this same evil device.

Ancient windows could not open and close as do ours.

The Bible also noted that, “The windows of heaven” could let down barley and flour, and other blessings (2 Kings 7:2; Malachi 3:10); and even a grammar school student should be able to recognize such language as figurative.

This wicked habit of unbelieving writers may properly be called “the fundamentalism of critics.”

Quite inconsistently, they deny many plain and literal statements of God’s Word, making light of Christians who believe them; and then, they themselves will deliberately literalize any figurative passage that may serve their purpose.

“I was by him … a master workman … daily his delight … rejoicing always before him … and my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:30-31).

All of these expressions find their full explanation in the New Testament; and that is why Christian theologians for centuries have seen Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God who is mentioned in this remarkable passage.

Christ was in the beginning with God, and was God, and without him nothing was made that has been made (John 1:1-5).

Yes, John used the word Logos here (a word identified with the philosopher Philo); but, “Philo’s [LOGOS] was impersonal … So when John speaks of the Word (the [LOGOS]), he teaches the true Hebrew idea of a personal, creating God, thus using Philo’s word to reject and contradict Philo’s thought.

The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 ASV

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