"For wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me: for in
her is an understanding spirit holy, one only, manifold, subtle, lively,
clear, undefiled, plain, not subject to hurt, loving the thing that is
good quick, which cannot be letted, ready to do good, kind to man, steadfast,
sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all things, and going
through all understanding, pure, and most subtil, spirits. For wisdom is
more moving than any motion: she passeth and goeth through all things by
reason of her pureness. For she is the breath of the power of God, and
a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can
no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting
light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness."
"For the spirit of the Lord fills the whole earth, and that which holds all things together is well aware of
what men say." (Wisdom 1:7).
"This is our God, and there shall none other be accounted of in comparison of him. He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved.
Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men." (Baruch
This apocryphal work equates wisdom with God, though the announcement of
Wisdom's incarnation has to raise eyebrows. Is it just a Christian interpolation?
This inter-testamental work by Jesus son of Sirach
identifies 'wisdom' with 'the word:'
"Hear the praise of wisdom from her own mouth, as she
speaks with pride among her people, before the assembly of the Most
High and in the presence of the heavenly host: 'I am the word which
was spoken by the Most High; it was I who covered the earth like a
mist. My dwelling-place was in high heaven; my throne was in a
pillar of cloud. Alone I made a circuit of the sky and travered the
depth of the abyss. The waves of the sea, the whole earth, every
people and nation were under my sway.'" (Ecclesiasticus, The Wisdom
of Jesus son of Sirach, 24:1-6).
Unfortunately the author also describes Lady Wisdom as a created being.
How the Roman Catholics, who include this work in their canon of
scripture, reconcile this new discovery with the Christian teaching
that the word was in the beginning, I cannot say. Like much of this
material, this is heading somewhat in the right direction, but does
not arrive at the destination.
On the issue of God's omniscience, contra the open theists, this
writing is on board with Philo's theology:
"He fathoms the abyss and the heart of man,
he is versed in their intricate secrets;
for the Lord possesses all knowledge
and observes the signs of all time.
He discloses the past and the future,
and uncovers the traces of the world's mysteries.
No thought escapes his notice,
and not a word is hidden from him
He has set in order the masterpieces of this wisdom,
he who is from eternity to eternity;
nothing can be added, nothing taken away,
and he needs no one to give him advice." (Ecclesiasticus,
The open theists claim that Biblical theology was polluted by contact with pagan
theology, that our familiar ideas about God's omniscience are
derived from Greek philosophy, not revelation. If so, when was the
Biblical stream ever pure? When is the God of the Bible not
omniscient, when does He not inform the prophets about the events of
futurity? Certainly not when Isaiah was penning his 40's chapters.
Not when ben Sirach wrote. This alleged contamination with pagan
theology, if such it is, was already accomplished long before
Christianity split off from its parent stem.
Some of these authors, for example the writer who produced the
Wisdom of Solomon, do seem to maintain a commitment to Platonic
philosophy. Believers should be aware that there are aspects of this
philosophy, such as reincarnation and the real existence of multiple
independent, self-subsistent, eternal entities, which are not
consistent with Biblical revelation; neoplatonism is a much better
fit. But certainly no believer deserves to be lectured by
materialistic Epicureans like the open theists. Talk about an
ancient Greek philosophy, and talk about a bad one. . .
Book of Enoch
As with the Wisdom of Solomon, let me stress I don't accept this pseudepigraphical
work as inspired. 'Enoch' was a flat-earther! The book of Enoch talks about
the Messiah being "named" and "hidden" before the creation
of the world:
"And at that hour that Son of Man was named
In the presence of the Lord of Spirits,
And his name before the Head of Days.
"Yea, before the sun and the signs were created,
Before the stars of the heaven were made,
His name was named before the Lord of Spirits.
"He shall be a staff to the righteous
Whereon to stay themselves and not fall,
And he shall be the light of the Gentiles,
And the hope of those who are troubled of heart.
"All who dwell on earth shall fall down and worship before him,
And will praise and bless and celebrate with song the Lord of Spirits.
"And for this reason hath he been chosen and hidden before Him,
Before the creation of the world and for evermore."
(Book of Enoch, Chapter 48).
The pre-existence of the Messiah was an idea already in the air in the century
prior to Christ's first advent: not that He had pre-existed as a 'plan'
or a 'concept', but in very truth, as the Bible also testifies. The Son of
Man was from the beginning, "hidden" with God: "For from the
beginning that Son of Man was hidden, and the Most High kept him in
the presence of His power, and revealed him only to the chosen."
(Book of Enoch, Chapter 62:7). For most of the authors of the inter-testamental apocrypha, there
is no evidence they exerted any influence on the New Testament authors.
'Enoch' is an exception, because a passage from this work is quoted
in the epistle of Jude:
“Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying,
'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,
to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
What makes this citation interesting is that it quotes from what
is unarguably an 'Advent of Jehovah' passage in the original. So
both sides of the 'Trinity' equation are found here: Jesus, while
personally distinct from the Father, is nonetheless the living God:
"Concerning the elect I said, and took up my parable concerning them: The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling, And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai, [And appear from His camp] And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens. And all shall be smitten with fear And the Watchers shall quake, And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth. And the high mountains shall be shaken, And the high hills shall be made low, And shall melt like wax before the flame And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder, And all that is upon the earth shall perish, And there shall be a judgement upon all (men).
. . And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
(1 Enoch 1:1-10),
Who comes? The "eternal God." To Jude, this is Jesus. While the authors of the apocrypha were not inspired, reading
their works underscores that there is also no reason not to take the
New Testament authors at their word when they testify to the truth
of the Trinity; this is in no way an impossible view for a 'first
century Jew' to take. The fifth and sixth century (A.D.) theology of the
Talmud was not then the dominant viewpoint, and it should not be
inserted back into where it never was.