Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ms. Insight

Leaf, in our backyard

In my prayer times I am slowly reading through Genesis. I'm using two resources: The Life with God Bible (NRSV), and John Goldingay's Old Testament Theology Volume One: Israel's Gospel.

This morning I was reviewing Goldingay's book as he writes about "Wisdom" as a personfication of an aspect of God; Wisdom as another person alongside of God (not literally, of course). In the First Testament we read of God's hokma, translated as "wisdom," "know-how," or "insight." (Goldingay, 44) "Yhwh accomplished the task of world-forming in an effective way, making the heavens and the earth to form one cosmos, through the exercise of insight, understanding, and knowledge (Prov. 3:9-21)

Goldingay refers to hokma as "Ms. Insight," who "stood by Yhwh's side during the execution of the great building project that brought the cosmos into being. This was not an expression of mere power but of insight. 'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth," Genesis says. "And I was there," Ms. Insight adds, "and I will tell you of a beginning before that" (Prov. 8:22). Behind the words God uttered to bring the world into being was the insight God possessed to make this possible." (46)

Goldingay says that "in Proverbs 8, Insight itself speaks." Here she is:

“The Lord brought me forth as the first of his works,
    before his deeds of old;
23 I was formed long ages ago,
at the very beginning, when the world came to be.
24 When there were no watery depths, I was given birth,
when there were no springs overflowing with water;
25 before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
26 before he made the world or its fields
or any of the dust of the earth.
27 I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
28 when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
29 when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
30 Then I was constantly[e] at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
31 rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.

Before God created the heavens and the earth, "before those long ago deeds, at the very beginning of the course of action that would bring the world into being, Yhwh possessed insight (Prov. 8:22)." (47)