One of my favorite passages from Proverbs is when Wisdom is personified in chapter 8.
This particular passage has been interpreted many different ways over the centuries. At the heart of the passage is praise for wisdom herself. Remember as you read this that it is poetry. I know many times we get into ridiculous debates over whether or not the Bible is literal. I say ridiculous because no matter where you land on the authority of scripture, no one who has ever read the Bible can say that everything should be taken literally! After all, in Psalms trees are clapping their hands and here Wisdom is walking around and talking. In my mind there is a vast difference between taking the Bible literally and taking the Bible seriously. It is our sacred scripture which is written in many different genres and by humans. So I do not take it literally but I take it very seriously. This passage is a great example of taking the Bible seriously.
In that respect, I do not worry about the idea of Wisdom being a divine being. There are many who would argue that Wisdom is a being like God. In fact some argue that Wisdom is really Christ. Though it an interesting thought and something that you may want to toy with yourself, it leaves the Trinity in question. Wisdom is clearly a creation of God – the source of all wisdom in the universe. If Wisdom equals Christ, then Christ is a creation of God too. As a follower of Christ baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit, this explanation does not work for me.
However, the power of Wisdom and the connection to the creation itself is certainly intriguing for me. It seems to me that we live in a world in which wisdom does not get the emphasis it should. We are so convinced that knowledge is critical that we have a whole system of knowledge at our finger tips called the internet. Yet I hear less and less reflection on what life really means, less discernment of what is really most essential for meaningful life, and I witness less and less time devoted to spending time in thought and real conversation about anything today. I believe it is time to begin valuing the beauty of wisdom again.
May this passage be a way to start you valuing wisdom once again! I trust that it is telling us that wisdom is one of the greatest gifts that God gives to us. But it also reminds us that none of us has the depth of wisdom and understanding that came from creation itself. Those who are truly wise certainly know that there are mysteries in this world and beyond that we as humans cannot comprehend. Only our Maker has true wisdom. Being human means seeking that wisdom now and always.