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CHAPTER 12How the Son of God is called the Wisdom of God

WISDOM in man is a habit whereby our mind is perfected in the knowledge of the highest truths: such are divine truths. Wisdom in God is His knowledge of Himself. But because He does not know Himself by any presentation of Himself other than His essence, and His act of understanding is His essence, the wisdom of God cannot be a habit, but is the very essence of God. But the Son of God is the Word and Concept of God understanding Himself. The Word of God, thus conceived, is properly called ‘begotten Wisdom’: — hence the Apostle names Christ the wisdom of God (1 Cor. i, 24). This Word of wisdom, conceived in the mind, is a manifestation of the wisdom of the mind which thereby understands: as in us acts are a manifestation of habits. Also the divine wisdom is called ‘light,’ as consisting in a pure act of knowledge; and the manifestation of light is the brightness thence proceeding: the Word of divine wisdom therefore is fittingly called the ‘brightness of light,’ according to the text: being the brightness of his glory (Heb. i, 3).899899The brightness of light is nothing else than its intensity; or as we might say, its adequacy. Thus the Son is adequate, or equal, to the Father. But in these metaphors the imagination, and consequently the meaning, of the ancients who first used them, and our imagination, disciplined by modern science, continually fail to correspond. To understand the ancients, we must leave our science behind, and dwell in the prima facie region of sense and first impressions. But though the Son, or Word of God, is properly called ‘conceived wisdom,’ nevertheless the name of Wisdom, when used absolutely, must be common to the Father and the Son; since the wisdom that is resplendent through the Word is the essence of the Father, and the essence of the Father is common to Him with the Son.


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