(This is a continuation of Part 1 where I argue for the relationship between Wisdom in Proverbs 8 to The Word in John 1.)
The similarities between the Word and Wisdom appear in the New Testament as well.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he links Wisdom to Christ.
He begins by emphasizing there are two types of wisdom, one of the world and one from God. (As described in Part 1 this is personified as female in Proverbs and other Wisdom literature)
In this letter, Paul explains that the world seeks a wisdom that is unlike God’s Wisdom, and therefore they do not know God. (1 Cor 1:21)
Similarly, John 1 describes the Word as something the world does not understand and wholly rejects.
“He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:10-12)
Paul goes onto say when we know God’s wisdom, we receive salvation. “He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”(1 Cor 1:30)
Likewise, the Evangelist claims we must know the Word to receive salvation. “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
For Paul, this entity from John 1 that was at the beginning of creation, that connects humanity to God, is Wisdom.
Some may argue that while Paul uses the Greek word “Sophia,” he is not referring to the Wisdom of Proverbs.
However, Paul is referring to the Wisdom of God, which from a Hebrew perspective, is the woman described in Proverbs.
Unless we are also arguing that Paul had a view of wisdom contradictory to Proverbs, we must acknowledge the biblical connection.
We can now take one of two stances.
1) Sophia Wisdom is a separate entity from the trinity. Divine, but not Christ, good but not a part of Godself.
If we are to do this, then we must say Paul is referring to another path towards knowing God that is different from Christ.
Paul is offering an alternative scenario, salvation through wisdom. This stance contradicts the gospel, and of course, runs contrary to church tradition.
Besides, this also runs very close to Gnosticism, which Paul vehemently opposes in later writings.
2) Sophia Wisdom is another understanding of the Word of God.
Confirming that while Jesus is incarnate biologically male, his genitalia has very little to do with the values of the incarnation.
This understanding is firmly in line with the gospel, while at the same time complicates our understanding of God and Christ’s maleness.
However, if whatever was incarnate was resurrected, a hyper-focus on the maleness of Jesus tosses the salvation of women to the side. Are women’s bodies included in the resurrection?
Of course, they are!!
Sophia Wisdom brings about another focus: that Jesus is not only a male incarnation of God but the incarnation of The Word/Wisdom. Fully human, fully God, complete with all masculine and feminine aspects of divinity.
Beautifully and utterly outside of our finite human understanding.
Just as Paul saw it, Just as John saw it, Just as the writer of Proverbs saw it.