Proverbs 8: 1 – 4, 22-31
Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings and poems compiled after the return from the Babylonian exile. Many of the collected sayings were already ancient. Today we hear about God the Creator. In fact, most of our reading is a creation story. The creation stories of Genesis are not the only ones in the Bible. According to Proverbs, God’s first creature is, interestingly, an abstract entity, Wisdom, personifies as a woman. At God’s right hand during creation of the physical world, she is a sort of cheering section, rejoicing at his creations, including humanity. But there is no indication that Wisdom has another function. She is a sort like Plato’s Ideals (or Forms, or Ideas) against which God can measure what he is planning to create. That would make her independent of God’s mind. That notion must wait a few centuries. But she is independent of God’s human minds. They may seek from her the knowledge she acquired of observing God’s creations. That is useful Wisdom.
Romans 5: 1 – 5
We return to Romans, Paul’s longest and (possibly) last epistle. But then, it may not be an epistle at all, but a collection of pieces and passages from letters Paul wrote. Our reading follows Paul’s discussion of Abraham in which he argues that those who believe in Christ are the true descendants of Abraham. In this faith we are, like Abraham, “justified,” a term meaning something like “being acceptable to God.” We attain this condition by suffering, endurance, and the gift of Jesus, who was sacrificed for us. It is a condition of hope, not hope that we win the next lottery, but hope of “sharing the glory of God.”
© Arthur H. Cash