2.18.1 Another response of the philosopher: “But the wisdom Solomon possessed is the Son of God, that is, the Wisdom of God, who said, ‘The Lord created me,’ and so on.”

2.18.2 The holy bishops’ answer to the philosopher through Bishop Eusebius Pamphili: “Tell me, philosopher: The wisdom which Solomon possessed, as you say, is the Wisdom of God?”

The philosopher: “Yes, it is.”

The bishop: “Tell me, is the Wisdom of God prescient, or not?

The philosopher: “Yes, it is.”

The bishop: “Is the Wisdom of God, which you say Solomon possessed, the Son of God?”

The philosopher: “Yes.”

The bishop: “How does the judge render judgment? According to prescience, or not?”

The philosopher: “Yes, how else?”

The bishop: “Then does the one who judges according to prescience render judgment according to works, since he is prescient?”

The philosopher: “Yes, I have said so.”

2.18.3 The bishop: “How, then, can the wisdom which Solomon possessed say, ‘Three things I do not understand; a fourth I do not know’ [LXX Proverbs 24:53, Proverbs 30:18]? After the three things it does not understand, the wisdom Solomon possessed said the fourth: It does not know ‘the ways of a man in his youth’ [LXX Proverbs 24:54, Proverbs 30:19].

2.18.4 Therefore, if it is the Wisdom of God which Solomon possessed, how does it ‘judge the world’ [Romans 3:6] without knowing ‘the ways of a man in his youth’? And how can it be true that he who made man in the image of God, namely, the Son of God (as the prophet Moses and John the Evangelist say: ‘All things were made through him’ [John 1:3]), does not know ‘the ways of a man in his youth’?

2.18.5 It is he ‘who formed all their hearts, who observes all their works’ [Psalm 33:15, LXX 32:15], who ‘examines hearts and minds’ [Psalm 7:9, LXX 7:10], according to the prophet who said, ‘You know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive all my thoughts from afar. You trace out my track and my path, and you foresee all my ways’ [Psalm 139:2-3, LXX 138:2-3].

2.18.6 Elsewhere, ‘He who disciplines the nations, who imparts knowledge to humans—will he not punish? The Lord knows that the thoughts of humans are vain’ [Psalm 94:10-11, LXX 93:10-11].

2.18.7 Does the one who understands all this and foreknows everything not know the ‘ways of a man in his youth’? One can find many passages in the Scriptures which refute those who wrongly interpret this passage in their foolishness.

2.18.8 How could he who ‘imparts knowledge to humans’ not himself know ‘the ways of a man in his youth’? Therefore, know this, philosopher: Solomon received discerning wisdom, which the Son of God ‘found by his insight,’ which he prepared for humans, who were made in his image, as a means of inference.

2.18.9 The Lord further confirms this in the Gospels: ‘Now one greater than Solomon is here.’1 With these words he refuted those who say he is the wisdom Solomon possessed. Although in both cases the word ‘wisdom’ sounds the same, the Wisdom of God, the Son of God, as creator and craftsman of all things, is prescient and judges according to prescience and according to works, as his ‘chosen vessel’ [Acts 9:15], Paul, says about him, writing to the Hebrews:

2.18.10 ‘The word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It penetrates even to the point of dividing soul and spirit; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in creation is hidden from him; rather, everything is bare and open before the eyes of him to whom we are accountable’ [Hebrews 4:12-13].

2.18.11 To the Romans the same Paul writes: ‘Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, came the Christ, who is God over all, forever blessed. Amen’ [Romans 9:5].

2.18.12 In this way he shows that the wisdom of God the Father is truly God, from God himself, eternal from eternal, true God from true God, and by nature is always Son of him who is always God and Father.”


Next Chapter – 2.19 The philosopher’s counter-argument

Previous Chapter – 2.17 The philosopher’s counter-argument concerning the phrase from Solomon’s proverbs:  “The Lord created me as the first of his paths for his works”

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Created by RR 7-16-21

  1. Cf. Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31. The quotation changes the neuter πλεῖον, “something greater,” to masculine πλείονα, “one greater,” to make it refer more explicitly to Christ.

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