The Holy Spirit’s Omnipresence and the First Day of Creation

A reader David asked some excellent questions that I believe are of general interest to the blog, and so I think it appropriate to answer the questions here. 

> The idea of the Holy Spirit choosing to move to the
> other side of the earth to experience the day is still
> difficult for me to grasp. The Holy Spirit is spirit (duh!).
> He is everywhere at once if I understand the concept of
> omnipresence. Now, much greater minds than mine
> have been wrestling with Genesis for thousands of
> years. Nevertheless, what about this?

The question of the Holy Spirit’s omnipresence is an interesting one.  Well let’s first consider a similar question.  Is Jesus omnipresent? I think that’s an easier one to tackle.  Clearly, Jesus was able to be in one place at a time when He lived out His life here on Earth.  Yet, Jesus is God, part of the Holy Trinity, and God is omnipresent.  Therefore, if one member of the Godhead can be in one location at a time without negating God’s overall omnipresence, then I don’t see why the Holy Spirit couldn’t do the same.

To support this assertion, let us consider some instances in scripture where the Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in a manner suggesting that He can be only in one place for a given moment:

  • I believe the Holy Spirit was with the Hebrews and Moses at Mt. Sinai and in the desert: Exodus 13:21-22; 33:9,14; 40:34-38
  • I believe the cloud at Jesus’ Transfiguration was the Holy Spirit: Matthew 17:5

Notice that in both the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Spirit’s presence is marked by the apparent physical manifestation of a cloud.  In “Jesus on Mount Sinai“, I make the case that the member of the Godhead who talked to Moses in his tent, “face to face, as a man speaks to a friend,” (Exodus 33:11) was a preincarnate Jesus.  This implies Jesus used the Holy Spirit, in the form of a cloud (Ex: 33:9), as His transport.  If He did this with Moses, He could have done this at Creation.

Consider that Genesis 1:2 actually says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.”  Hmmm… clouds hover, and we’ve seen hints that Holy Spirit often appears as such.  Is that what happened here?  I think the question is answered by Psalm 104:3, “He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters, Who makes the clouds His chariot, Who walks on the wings of the wind.”  As I discuss in “Creation Account in Psalm“, this is a description of Days 1 and 2, when Jesus the Creator (John 1:1-3; Proverbs 8:27-30) was used the Holy Spirit for transport during Creation.

So in all sincerity, I do not believe it is me saying the Holy Spirit was present, but scripture itself!

Now as for God’s omnipresence, one could hypothesize a situation where the Son is one place, the Holy Spirit in another place, and the Father yet someplace else… this might be the kind of situation you are implying threatens our understanding of God being omnipresent.  However, I have two responses to that concern.

The first is that the Father appears to only manifest Himself in Heaven, and has the capability of interacting with the universe without leaving there.  Read the book of Matthew and look for Jesus’ references to the Father.  He almost always to refers to Him as the “Father who is in Heaven”.  Also, when the Father appears to speak, no one ever really sees Him.  Therefore, I would say that the Father is clearly omnipresent, even the Holy Spirit and Jesus would appear not to be.

My other response is to notice that every example of the Holy Spirit on earth is in a physical form, even while we know Him to be spirit.  Therefore, it would seem that the Holy Spirit is capable of interacting with the universe as easily as the Father, but does so in a different manner.  Where the Father “speaks” into the universe, or puts things into the universe, He chooses never to actually create something representing Him in the universe.  The reason for this is because we’d create idols that look like Him, and God the Father was trying to keep the Hebrews (later the Jews) from worshipping powerless idols!  The Holy Spirit on the other hand has the freedom to travel incognito, and actually make a cloud through which He then interacts with the universe, much as Jesus interacts through His body and we interact through ours.  Therefore, He actually remains spiritually omnipresent, while physically interacting with the universe in one place.

> Daniel’s 70 weeks clearly have a ‘gap’ between weeks
> 69 and 70. I am sure that many would shudder at the
> use of the word ‘clear’ in this context. Let me just say
> it is clear to me.

Me too.

> When God spoke to Daniel, He chose not to mention
> the gap. Could this be the message of the creation week
> with the days that are called out actually being 24 hour
> days that were spaced in time quite a bit? Forgive me if
> this is just one of the many explanations that others have
> already shot down. It’s new for me.

I do not claim the creation days are 24 hour days.  As I have mapped the creation days to the Earth’s geological history, it is my opinion that God’s creative actions were allowed to take as long as necessary.  Jesus would remain within the cloud of the Holy Spirit, with the earth rotating beneath Him for as long as it was necessary to get His work done.  If evening doesn’t fall until sunset overtakes Him, then it doesn’t have to overtake Him until He’s ready for it.  The nighttime can then take as long He wants to, only stepping into the sunrise when He’s ready.  So, in this manner, I believe that God experienced 6 consecutive sunsets/sunrises, and His lingering within the day or the night caused Him to experience 6 literal days (as defined in Genesis — “there was evening and morning”) that spanned geologic history from approximately 3.9 billion years ago to about 6,000-10,000 years ago.

> One more thing and then I’ll stop bothering you.
> Most of the English translations have God ’separating’
> the light and darkness in Genesis 1:4. The word that
> is translated as ’separate’ may also be translated as
> ‘distinguish.’ A literal translation of the words in the
> verse could be “and distinguished – God – between -
> light – and between – darkness.” The very next set of
> words has God naming the light and darkness.
> Having defined for us what constitutes a day/night,
> God could now start the count by calling out the first
> 24 hour day of the creation week. Could it be that
> Scripture is interpreting Scripture here by telling us
> how God distinguished, by naming, light and darkness,
> day and night, for us?

My explanation in the previous paragraph for how the creation week spanned 3.9 billion years of geologic history was actually spawned from an insight very similar to your own.  I do in fact believe that God’s act of separating light from dark, and then naming them day/night was His way of telling us how to interpret the days.  However, I concluded that these days were not 24 hour days, but whatever duration was necessary to get the job done.

What I did was to compare the account in Genesis with those in Proverbs 8, Job 38, and Psalm 104.  Proverbs 8:26 tells us that God “drew a circle on the deep” on Day 1.  Job 38:5 tells us that God “stretched the line upon” the foundations of the earth.  Finally, Psalm 104:2-3 tells us that God covered Himself with light, and laid the “beams of His upper chambers in the waters.”  Let us compare this to what happened on the Earth.

There was a time 3.9 billion years ago when a vaporized ocean was raining back down onto the earth.  The sun was dim, the atmosphere was thin, and the sky looked nearly black.  Beneath the clouds, in the rain, it was pretty dark.  Over time, the atmosphere began dispersing the lights through the clouds.  Within the rain, as it grew brighter and brighter, the view grew further and further.  Eventually, the rain stopped, and you could see all the way to the horizon in every direction.  Note that there was no land.  That would come on Day 3, 1.5 billion years later.

Now if you view the Earth from space, you will see a circle around the earth separating the day from the night.  That is the circle on the deep in Proverbs 8.  As the increasing light made it possible to see further and further from the Holy Spirit’s vantage point of hovering over the deep, that increasing distance was a line around the earth being stretched (Job 38:5).  (Notice also that when the line was done stretching, it matched the circle.) Finally, the reason the light beams of God’s upper chambers are in the waters (Psalm 104:2-3) is because He’s hovering over the deep in the rain, and the light being dispersed above the clouds could now be seen below them.

Given the nice correlation here between the earth’s geologic history and scripture, we see that the entire process was clearly more than 24 hours.  To see the line stretch, the Holy Spirit would have needed to remain in the rain, but beneath the sun, until there was enough light for Him to declare it “good”.  One can only speculate how long that took, but I believe it was less than 50 million years (based on the discovery of fossilized algae in Greenland dating back to 3.85 Ga, which must have been after Day 2, and therefore after Day 1).

Finally, realizing that the line around the earth separating night from day is the separation between the day and night in Genesis 1:4, we can now define evening as crossing that line, and morning as crossing it again.  It seems to me that Jesus could ride the Holy Spirit into the sunset, and cross that line into the night, anytime He wanted.

Mike

10 thoughts on “The Holy Spirit’s Omnipresence and the First Day of Creation

  1. David

    Thank you for your impressive response. I am still trying to digest it. However, I have a few early thoughts; not in any way comprehensive. Also, please do not take anything I might say here as in any way argumentative. I am just struggling to grasp this subject.

    Jesus, at the time of all of this, had the ‘form’ of God. At the time of the incarnation, He set this form aside, apparently never to be taken back up again. WOW!!! He did not set aside His essence. He remained fully God. So, during the creation, both He and the Holy Spirit had the same ‘form,’ which I take to be spirit (not that I have the slightest idea what that means!). Thus, all members of the Godhead would have had the attribute of omnipresence during creation week.

    Now, to be omnipresent and yet to be nowhere makes no sense. Further, the Bible is written for us, fairly limited linear thinkers who are trapped by time and space. So, for any one of the Godhead to be ‘described’ as appearing in a place (in any form He might choose) seems perfectly reasonable. Naturally, two of them could also be reported as having made their presence known in a particular place at a particular time. None of this would negate the fact that other narratives could have been written describing their activities in other places at that same time. Even in other forms. Thankfully, God saw no reason to make our job even harder by our having to rationalize multiple concurrent activities of His. So, I conclude that during creation, each member of the Godhead was omnipresent and we have a report of particular ‘sightings’ of each of the members of the Godhead performing various activities in specific places. What we are not told is where else any of them were also doing other supernatural things at the same time.

    My understanding of your view is that the Holy Spirit and Jesus chose to position themselves (as far as a specific instance of their presence was concerned; all the while maintaining their omnipresence) over the deep between the earth and the sun while the earth rotated beneath them. At such time as they wished to ‘experience’ a day, they (the presence being reported to us) began to rotate with the earth and crossed the day/night barrier or line or circle. Thus completing the morning/evening cycle, one day of a very long duration. When the earth had rotated once, they stopped again between the sun and the earth; maintaining the integrity of the definition of ‘day’ (day/night, morning/evening; not 24 hours). I see no reason why God could not have chosen to report to us the experience of day for the Holy Spirit as you have proposed. Although, I suppose it could also have been specific 24 hour days of activity that had gaps interspersed. In this case, the Holy Spirit ‘cloud’ would not have had to determine when to rotate and when to remain stationary.

  2. Mike Post author

    David,

    > Also, please do not take anything I might say here as
    > in any way argumentative.
    No problem! Just 2 guys looking for the truth.

    > Jesus, at the time of all of this, had the ‘form’ of God.
    I choose to visualize Jesus as a man riding a cloud, but only because that is what I believe the scriptures are describing. Creation was a physical process, with physical days and physical nights, witnessed by physical manifestations of the Son and the Holy Spirit. I would suggest that contemplating their respective spirituality could lead you toward an inaccurate perspective on the Trinity. They are simply the three aspects of God, with specific roles in the Creation and throughout history.

    > What we are not told is where else any of them
    > were also doing other supernatural things at the same time.
    I have yet to see a scripture describing multiple simultaneous physical manifestations of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I will not say it cannot happen, but in my opion, the context of Genesis suggests they were not simultaneously active in other physical forms during Creation.

    > When the earth had rotated once, they stopped again
    > between the sun and the earth;
    Your last paragraphs describes my understanding of Creation accurately until here. After crossing over into the night, I do not believe God simply let the night pass. I mean, the scripture allows for it, but there are subtle indications that He may have stayed on the dark side of the earth for long periods, much like He stayed on the light side for long periods. For example, Day 2′s light ended after the firmament formed, and Day 3′s light appears to begin with the strengthening of the deep, which I interpret to be the hardening of the earth’s crust and the beginning of plate tectonics. This suggests that Day 3 could have started as long as 1.5 billion years after Day 2 ended. If true, then that’s a pretty long night!

    > I see no reason why God could not have chosen to report to
    > us the experience of day for the Holy Spirit as you have
    > proposed.
    God could have given us more detail, but I believe He wanted to model for us a work week we could relate to, so that we would keep the sabbath holy. The model of the 7-day “week” also served His purpose in Daniel’s vision of the 70 weeks.

    > Although, I suppose it could also have been specific
    > 24 hour days of activity that had gaps interspersed. In this case,
    > the Holy Spirit ‘cloud’ would not have had to determine when to
    > rotate and when to remain stationary.
    You may not mean it this way, but you make it sound as if the Holy Spirit had to figure out when the day was over, as if He was confused or had to pay close attention or something. On the contrary, I believe it was a simple matter of Jesus doing the work the Father sent Him to do, and the day ending when His work was done.

  3. David

    Mike,

    You said: ” I choose to visualize Jesus as a man riding a cloud,”

    I am having trouble coming up with a reason for why, when man had not yet even been created, Jesus would choose this form during the creation week, when of course there was nobody to see Him. And the picture of ‘a physical man riding a physical cloud,’ . . . well you get the point. Also, I’m assuming you know that He did not permanently take on the physical form of man (according to Philippians 2) until the incarnation. I am aware that the scripture continually uses anthropomorphic language in talking about God. But, these are clearly just figures of speech and not intended to be taken literally, right? I am an engineer and definitely not an English major. But, I do know that reading an historical account (e.g., Genesis) and reading poetry (e.g., Psalms) require very different rules of interpretation. What in the Scriptures leads you to conclude that He literally took on the form of a man during creation.

    You said: “I would suggest that contemplating their respective spirituality could lead you toward an inaccurate perspective on the Trinity”

    Would you be so kind as to supply some more explanation of what you mean here?

    You said: ” I have yet to see a scripture describing multiple simultaneous physical manifestations of Jesus or the Holy Spirit.”

    Nor I. The point I was addressing was your comment that “let us consider some instances in scripture where the Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in a manner suggesting that He can be only in one place for a given moment:” This seemed like an argument from silence, which struck me as unnecessary and risky.

    You said: “This suggests that Day 3 could have started as long as 1.5 billion years after Day 2 ended. If true, then that’s a pretty long night!”

    Sorry, but I try to not to be too verbose, so my description of your view was less descriptive than it could have been. I understood your view that the ‘night’ and ‘day’ portions of the days of creation could each be long periods. I have no problem with this as a possibility.

    You said: “I believe He wanted to model for us a work week we could relate to, so that we would keep the sabbath holy.”

    I too believe the 7 days of creation was a model for us regarding work/rest. However, you caught my attention when you brought up ‘sabbath’ and ‘us’ in the same context. Are you using the term ‘sabbath’ as in the Mosaic Law and ‘us’ as in members of the Body of Christ?

    You said: “You may not mean it this way, but you make it sound as if the Holy Spirit had to figure out . . .”

    Right, I didn’t mean that the Holy Spirit now had a problem of figuring something out. It just seems like an unnecessary complication. He stays in one place for a few million years, then moves to another place for a few million years, and so on. Why would the physical manifestation have to move around? I just can’t come up with a simple explanation for what this is telling us.

  4. Mike Post author

    > I am having trouble coming up with a reason for why,
    > when man had not yet even been created, Jesus would
    > choose this form during the creation week, when of
    > course there was nobody to see Him.
    I do not believe you need to come up with a reason.

    > What in the Scriptures leads you to conclude that He
    > literally took on the form of a man during creation.
    As I interpret them, the scriptures treat it as physical. Read Jesus, the Father’s Proxy on Earth for justification for treating Jesus’ presence as physical whenever He appears. Then, read In the Beginning Jesus for evidence that He was appeared at Creation. Then read Jesus on Mount Sinai for an argument that Jesus physically presented His account of creation to Moses.

    > You said: “I would suggest that contemplating their
    > respective spirituality could lead you toward an
    > inaccurate perspective on the Trinity”
    >
    > Would you be so kind as to supply some more
    > explanation of what you mean here?
    I meant no offense, and I had no particular view of the Trinity in mind when I wrote that. As a fellow engineer, I have observed that people with intellectual approaches toward the Bible tend to keep drilling down into things, asking questions that the scripture does not necessarily address. A given answer can therefore (though not necessarily) be suspect, and cause a person to go in a direction contrary to how God wants them to proceed. That is a warning for myself as well!

    > The point I was addressing was your comment that
    > “let us consider some instances in scripture where the
    > Holy Spirit does manifest Himself in a manner suggesting
    > that He can be only in one place for a given moment:” This
    > seemed like an argument from silence, which struck me as
    > unnecessary and risky.
    Point taken. I can reword that slightly to say, “let us consider some passages where the Holy Spirit manifests Himself in a manner suggesting that He only does so in one place at a time.” I don’t want to misrepresent what God can do; my argument is in regards to what He does do (in scripture at least).

    > you caught my attention when you brought up ’sabbath’
    > and ‘us’ in the same context. Are you using the term
    > ’sabbath’ as in the Mosaic Law and ‘us’ as in members
    > of the Body of Christ?
    I meant two things, but, like you, was attempting to not be too verbose. First, I am a Christian of Jewish heritage. Therefore, I include myself as a recipient of the Mosaic law. But, I also meant ‘us’ in the respect of the church… though we may not keep the sabbath as commanded, and are not obliged to, I believe it would glorify God if Christians did pick a day out of the week and rested from their work.

    > Right, I didn’t mean that the Holy Spirit now had a problem
    > of figuring something out. It just seems like an unnecessary
    > complication. He stays in one place for a few million years,
    > then moves to another place for a few million years, and so
    > on. Why would the physical manifestation have to move
    > around? I just can’t come up with a simple explanation for
    > what this is telling us.
    I am aware of nothing obliging God to work in this manner. My only argument is that He did, and I only believe that because treating Genesis 1 like an eyewitness account and Days like physical days results in something consipuously close to the Geologic record. I suppose another possibility is that Jesus and the Holy Spirit did their work during a Day, poofed up to Heaven, then came back down to the light side of the earth when it was time to end the Day, but I have no justification for proposing it, other than man’s desire to figure out the details for which there is no record, physical or otherwise.

    I suggest reading those links I included above for a better idea of the scripturual foundation I attempt to build my arguments and conclusions on.

  5. David

    Mike,

    I sure hope I am not detecting irritation in your responses. When you get tired of this and want me to go away, just say so. I’ll do the same.

    ” I do not believe you need to come up with a reason.”

    For the most part I agree. I would completely agree if the Scripture explicitly said – “Jesus took on the form of a male human and the Holy Spirit etc. etc. …..”. But since that is not the case, we are in the arena of interpretation. And each of us comes with presuppositions to this game and there is great danger of getting it wrong. If I can not come up with a simple rationale for what I ‘guess’ the right answer is, then I am wary, that’s all.

    “As I interpret them, the scriptures treat it as physical (Jesus being transported on a cloud presence of the Holy Spirit at creation).”

    I read the three posts you suggested and fundamentally agree with everything you said with one little exception. Genesis 1:1 says the Spirit of God was moving over the waters. It simply does not say that Jesus was present in the form of a human riding on the Spirit. That has to be eisegesis. Was Jesus present? Of course He was. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are omnipresent God. Jesus is clearly identified in Scripture as being the one who created. But, so did the Father and so did the Holy Spirit. There is after all only one God. There isn’t a conflict here as to who did it; there is a difference in functionality. And, the ultimate ‘implementor’ according to Genesis 1:1 is the Spirit of God. Nothing in the text requires Jesus to be physically over the waters that I can see.

    “I meant no offense”

    I took none, really. I just couldn’t figure out what you were trying to communicate. No problem.

    “I believe it would glorify God if Christians did pick a day out of the week and rested from their work.”

    Like you I too am a Jewish Christian and I also agree with your statement.

    “. . . treating Genesis 1 like an eyewitness account and Days like physical days results in something consipuously close to the Geologic record . . ”

    I really am getting a lot of insights out of studying your writings. However, I don’t see days being treated here like ‘physical days.’ A physical day has 24 hours; a morning and an evening; a light period and a dark period. Leave any one of these out and you have something else. You may have a ‘day’ which is nothing more that an indeterminant period of time with a beginning and an ending. But, I can’t see that you have a physical day.

  6. Mike Post author

    > I sure hope I am not detecting irritation in your responses.
    If there is a little, don’t take it personally. I get that way sometimes.

    > Genesis 1:1 says the Spirit of God was moving over the
    > waters. It simply does not say that Jesus was present in
    > the form of a human riding on the Spirit. That has to be eisegesis.
    I’m sure you mean Genesis 1:2, and I agree it doesn’t say it. However, I believe Psalm 104:3 says it… **if** the clouds referred to in Psalm 104:3 include the Holy Spirit, who is hovering, and appears to always do so as a cloud in other scriptures. I discuss Psalm 104 in more detail in Creation Account in Psalm.

    > And, the ultimate ‘implementor’ according to Genesis 1:1
    > is the Spirit of God.
    I do not believe that Genesis 1:2′s statement, that the Spirit of God was hovering, requires that He be the aspect of God that either made the pronouncements or implemented them.  As far as function is concerned, I believe the ultimate implementer is Wisdom in Proverbs 8. Combined with John 1:1-3, I believe Wisdom is Jesus. That is why I believe Jesus served the function of Implementer at the side of Father. There is a parable in the New Testament, where the Father is the vineyard owner and Jesus is the vineyard keeper (or vineyard ‘implementer’ if you will). I believe their relationship was always like that. Tying things together, it is for that reason that I believe Jesus is the active creative agent in Psalm 104:3, which ties the Son’s presence with that of the Holy Spirit, who we already know from Genesis 1:2 is hovering during creation, and we know from other scriptures tends to hover as a cloud.  And we also know Geologically that He was hovering among the clouds… a cloud among clouds, a “chariot” as Psalm 104:3 puts it, perfect for riding into the sunset.

    > I don’t see days being treated here like ‘physical days.’
    If ‘physical days’ can only mean 24 hour days, then need to find another phrase to be clear to people. I said ‘physical’ because the arrival of evening/morning is physical. I do not believe the evening/morning in Genesis 1 to be figurative as Day-Age Creationists generally do. I believe it reads literally, because in some sense it is… physical sunset and physical sunrise.

    > Like you I too am a Jewish Christian
    Very cool!

  7. David

    Mike,

    I believe that you have concluded that while Genesis 1:2 does not say Jesus was riding on a cloud (the Holy Spirit) at creation that:
    “I believe Psalm 104:3 says it… **if** the clouds referred to in Psalm 104:3 include the Holy Spirit,”

    I really need some help to follow the logic for the above statement. Psalm 104 is poetry; Genesis 1 is prose. Two very different genres of communication. Basing an important theological conclusion on figurative language is very risky, don’t you think? In any case, the only person in the first few verses of Psalms 104 is Jehovah, not Jesus. You see clouds (plural!!!, is the Holy Spirit one cloud among many?) mentioned in Psalm 104:3; but you certainly don’t see Jesus there.

    “Because we know that Jesus was at Creation (Proverbs 8:27)”

    Surely the Son of God, who later became the man Jesus (also fully God) was at creation. However, we see this not from Proverbs 8:27. This verse clearly tells us that ‘wisdom’ was there at creation. This is an attribute of God that He has always had. Naturally, the Son of God and the Holy Spirit of God also have always had this attribute.

    “I believe Wisdom is Jesus.”

    I understand your view. Let me just try something. If what you say is true, then shouldn’t we be able to simply replace the word wisdom with the word Jesus in Proverbs chapters 7-9? For example, this gives us:

    Proverbs 7:4 Say to Jesus, “You are my sister,”
    Proverbs 8:22 The Lord possessed Jesus at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old.
    Proverbs 8:25-26 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, Jesus was brought forth; While Jesus had not yet made the earth and the fields, . . .
    Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Jesus, . . .

    Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just see that the abstract term, wisdom, is being personified in figurative language in all of these verses and many more in Proverbs? And, that many of the verses clearly point to an attribute of Jesus and not to His person?

  8. Mike Post author

    You make many good points about Pslam 104, and I will attempt to address them:
    1) You point out that the writer was referring to Jehovah. That is true. But, if the Psalmist were writing of the Holy Spirit, he would have still said Jehovah. Ditto for Psalms about the Father, and therefore about the Son, because the Psalmists were unaware of the Trinity.
    2) You point out that Genesis is Prose and Psalm 104 is poetry. True enough. That doesn’t make it fiction, just figurative, with perhaps a divinely inspired dose of reality.
    3) You point out the risk in basing an important theological conclusion on figurative language, and indeed it is risky. However, I came to my conclusion before ever seeing that verse… when I did see it, I took it as confirmation.
    4) You point out that Psalm 104 says clouds, not ‘cloud’. I agree. But, as we’ve also agreed, it’s poetry. The geological situation this occurred in was during the rain amidst clouds. If Jesus had grabbed a cloud and rode it a like a chariot through the others, a poet might not write all of that detail. And if the poet didn’t realize that the cloud He rode was the Holy Spirit, the omission would still occur.
    5) You point out that wisdom has always been an attribute of God and the Holy Spirit. However, what proverbs does is to personify Wisdom as a creative agent of God. John 1:1-3 personifies Jesus as the Word through whom all things were created. If it be rational to say that the Word is wisdom personified, then it at least suggests the possibility that Wisdom in Proverbs is a representation of the Son aspect of the Trinity.
    6) You suggest that one should be able to replace “wisdom” with “Jesus” in Proverbs 7-9, based on my reasoning. Taking your examples:
    - Proverbs 7:4 Say to Jesus, “You are my sister,” — I’ll address this one last.
    - Proverbs 8:22 The Lord possessed Jesus at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. — This is true.
    – Proverbs 8:25-26 Before the mountains were settled, Before the hills, Jesus was brought forth; While Jesus had not yet made the earth and the fields, . . . — If Jesus was at creation, then is true, too
    - Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Jesus, . . . — In this case, the substitution is out of context, but still suggests a truth if you think about it!

    Going back to Proverbs 7:4, I agree that we would never say to Jesus that He is our sister. I am granting Solomon some poetic license here, especially because the scriptures are God-inspired, God-breathed, not God-dictated (except where the scripture says otherwise). But so as not to skirt the issue entirely, I will acknowledge that Wisdom is a woman and Jesus a man. But, would you be so bold as to suggest that the female cannot be a representation of God? even of the Son? After all, God created Eve in His image, too… and we agree, Proverbs is poetry.

    You close with this:
    “Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just see that the abstract term, wisdom, is being personified in figurative language in all of these verses and many more in Proverbs? And, that many of the verses clearly point to an attribute of Jesus and not to His person?”

    I think this gets to the heart of our disconnect, because I agree completely on this point! So then, why I do express it as I do?

    I do in fact thing that wisdom is being written of abstractly. The reason for the female form is because of “her” role opposite the “adulteress”. A man’s lust for a woman is unique in this world, and Solomon knew this well! Writing of wisdom as a woman made his more abstract points more clear and understandable.

    I also realize that Jesus has many more aspects to Him than just being wisdom personified. He is love, grace, mercy, sacrifice, servant, and more. Concentrating on only one of these aspects would surely fall short of representing Jesus completely.

    I also agree that wisdom is an attribute of all three aspects of the Trinity.

    So then, the question is whether wisdom personified is talking of all three Godheads, or just one in this particular context. Solomon may not have known at the time that God had three aspects to Him, and so I am not trying to read between the lines for what Solmon meant. Rather, I am trying to read in between the lines for truths that may have unwittingly ended up in Solomon’s writing. For that, I look to John 1:1-3. Given John’s Jewish education, I assume that He was aware of Proverbs 8, and particularly where Wisdom speaks about her role in creation. His points are strikingly similar:

    Proverbs 8:22 – The LORD possess me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old.
    John 1:1-2 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

    Proverbs 8:30a (following an account creation Days 1 to 4) – …then I was beside Him as a master craftsman
    John 1:3 – All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

    I do not believe, given John’s Jewish upbringing, that he could have written something that parallels Proverbs 8 by accident… I think he knew what he was doing. And because we believe all scripture is inspired by God, I conclude that this parallel was every bit inspired as either scripture on its own. And if that’s true, then it makes the Proverbs verses a more detailed account of John’s synopsis. More than that, Proverbs 8 is a first-person account of Wisdom personified, and therefore of God… specifically God the Son, or Jesus.

  9. Mike Post author

    Dave,

    There was one other question you asked, which I neglected to address:

    > Wouldn’t it be much simpler to just see that the abstract
    > term, wisdom, is being personified in figurative language
    > in all of these verses and many more in Proverbs?
    Perhaps it would be easier. I’m not sure. However, after seeing evidence that He was present in John 1:1-3, as the Son, I have to think that any other verse consistent with that is not a coincidence.

    I concluded through logic that if Jesus was there, then He wasn’t the one doing the hovering in Genesis 1:2, because that was clearly the Holy Spirit. So, I concluded that if Jesus was physically there, then He was using the Holy Spirit as transport. And, given the Holy Spirit’s tendency to show up as a cloud, it seemed to logical consider that the Holy Spirit was a cloud here, too.

    I then concluded from the science that it was raining during Genesis 1:2.

    That is when I saw that Psalm 104:3 contained such precise physical description of that picture, that the easiest thing for me to do was believe it.

    Consider 104:3. I’ll break it up into pieces:
    He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the water,
    – This the light coming through the clouds that was “created” on Day 1

    Who makes the clouds His chariot
    – To an onlooker, one might not distinguish the Holy Spirit from the other clouds… it would look like God was riding through the clouds.

    Who walks on the wings of the wind
    – A pretty good description of someone standing on a cloud in the midst of the rain.

    >And, that many of the verses clearly point to an attribute of Jesus and not to His person?

    Should I be wrong in my interpretation, yours is certainly a safe way to go. My goal is not to create a new theology that would impact the Church’s understanding of God’s nature, His personality, or His plan of salvation. I only want to demonstrate for those who have trouble reconciling science and scripture that they are reconcilable, and that they’re reconcilable because where they speak of the same events, they do not conflict on the facts. Your alternative interpretation of the spiritual aspect could also meet those goals, but it would be more difficult because it removes the justification I argue for interpreting Genesis 1 from a physical perspective, including my rationale for how to define 1 Creation Day.

    I started this journey with the thought that Genesis 1 was recorded from the perpsective of a witness to it, and every creation verse I find in scripture, when treated as yet another account, has served only to fill out that picture. They do not contradict in any way… unless leaving out details that the other accounts contain is a contradiction. But, if we’re going to interpret by those rules, then we have to be careful. Skeptics find fault with the Gospel accounts for similar reasons.

  10. David

    Mike,

    First, let me say how much I appreciate how dramatically you have increased my understanding of Genesis. I can’t imagine ever clarifying my thinking this much without your outstanding efforts in unraveling the truth here. I say this sincerely and with great thanks to you. So, please keep this in mind as I point out where I do not yet see things as you do. I’ll also point out where I agree with you!!

    “But, if the Psalmist were writing of the Holy Spirit, he would have still said Jehovah. Ditto for Psalms about the Father, and therefore about the Son, because the Psalmists were unaware of the Trinity.”

    I always cringe a little when I hear people (not you!!!) say that “Paul’s theology . . . ” or “John believed . . . ” etc. Either this is God’s WORD or it isn’t. Even in the Psalms, it is either true and God speaking or they are just some nice sounding words of men. God certainly knew about the trinity and, if it were important to His message, then He would have identified which member of the Godhead was specifically in view. For example, in Psalm 51:11 God (David) says “Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.” And, even in Psalm 104 we find in verses 29 and 30 “. . . Thou dost take away THEIR spirit, they expire, And return to their dust. Thou dost send forth THY Spirit , they are CREATED; . . . ” Who’s spirit is sent forth? Who creates the creatures of the earth? And, what about Psalm 139:7 ” Where can I go from THY Spirit ? Or where can I flee from Thy presence”

    I have to conclude that the ‘Psalmist’ knew about the Holy Spirit. God had not chosen to explain the trinity like He finally did; but, He seems to have left hints in several places.

    “That doesn’t make it (Psalms) fiction, just figurative, with perhaps a divinely inspired dose of reality.”

    No perhaps about it! It is just the added difficulty of getting at the reality through the medium of figurative language.

    “when I did see it, I took it as confirmation.”

    Rightly so. I am just recommending caution because I know how easily I see confirmation of my opinions where it later turns out not to have been wise.

    “then it at least suggests the possibility that Wisdom in Proverbs is a representation of the Son aspect of the Trinity.”

    It is clear to me that in John 1:1-3 Jesus is ‘called’ the Word. . . . This has meaning; but it is not personification of the word ‘Word.’ In Proverbs, the abstract concept, wisdom, is personified. It is that aspect of God the creator that is being discussed. But, God (or Jesus) is not being called wisdom as happens with ‘Word’ in John 1.

    The first 21 verses of Proverbs 8 seem to only talk about wisdom personified. There is no mention of it being Jesus or any of the Godhead. In verse 22 there is the first mention of Jehovah and what it says to me is that God ‘possessed’ wisdom. I don’t think that is the way the relationship between the Father and the Son is ever described elsewhere in Scripture. From verse 23 to the end of the chapter I see how one could make the connection between what is said about wisdom and what we believe about Jesus. However, can we really say that Jesus was established (or set or installed)? or that He was brought forth (or birthed)? Then in chapter 9, we see wisdom again being talked about as having a house, preparing her food, mixing her wine, etc. Again, it seems hard to see Jesus in this section. Isn’t it more ‘logical’ that God brought forth wisdom long before the creation and that He (or His Son or His Spirit) used wisdom in all of what He did at creation?

    By the way in Proverbs 8:25-27 the son’s ‘heart’ is treated in this same way. It is a part of the son that is personified. The son is not his heart and clearly, the heart does not cast down victims, etc.

    ” I am granting Solomon some poetic license here (in describing wisdom as female),”
    “The reason for the female form is because of “her” role opposite the “adulteress”.”
    “Writing of wisdom as a woman made his more abstract points more clear and understandable.”

    The Hebrew word for wisdom is feminine and so for it to be referenced with female pronouns is not so surprising. However, for Jesus, clearly the ‘Son of God,’ to be called a ‘sister’ is a little odd to me.

    “But, would you be so bold as to suggest that the female cannot be a representation of God? even of the Son?”

    I hope that I would not be so bold. On the other hand, is there any other place in scripture where Jesus is specifically referenced and the female gender is used to represent Him? Fortunately, the Greek word logos (word) is masculine so we don’t run into this problem in John 1.

    “I assume that He (Solomon) was aware of Proverbs 8, and particularly where Wisdom speaks about her role in creation.”

    Other than saying she was there, what role exactly does she say that she had at creation? She doesn’t seem to have an active role as far as I can tell that in any way would lead one to conclude that Jesus created everything. And we know He did (Colossians 1:16).

    “My goal is not to create a new theology that would impact the Church’s understanding of God’s nature, His personality, or His plan of salvation.”

    ABSOLUTELY. I think we, both of us, are on safe ground here. The expression I like is that “the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” We are just discussing stuff around the edges. I can only thank you for helping me clarify my own thinking on this very important (but not the main thing) subject. SHALOM!

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