The Nicean Creed and Wisdom Christology

There have been a couple of questions of late about how Wisdom Christology meshes with the Nicean Creedal affirmation. Some new to Wisdom Christology mistake it for a form of modalism. Others, like Jesus Seminar denizen Robert Miller, know little enough of both that the ask, "Theologically, how can [the Wisdom idea] be reconciled with the doctrine of the Trinity...?"

The answer is that it reconciles exactly with the doctrine of the Trinity, as affirmed in the Nicean Creedal affirmation, and this article shall provide a quick "exegesis" of the relevant portion of the Creed to show that this is the case.

We believe in one God, the Father All-sovereign, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

The first thing to note here is that "God" as used is NOT a proper name (as we use it today) but is actually a objective description (like "deity"). "God" is not here a person, but an object description. "Father" IS a person reference.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, and the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of the Father before all the ages, Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father, through whom all things were made;

Wisdom, as Christ here, was begotten "before all the ages" (eternality), was not made (in the sense of, created yet not existing at some point), and is of one substance with the Father. Wisdom was Light and was truly deity ("God" -- keeping in mind again what is said above) for Wisdom shared in the divine nature, having proceeded from the divine.

The rest of the Creed on Jesus refers to his earthly life and deeds.

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Life-giver, that proceeds from the Father

As we noted here pre-NT Jewish Wisdom theology did not bifurcate between Wisdom and Spirit. It is here where the Nicean Creed does deviate from the Jewish template the same way the NT does, although note again the specified relationship ("proceeds from the Father") which matches the ontological relationship of Wisdom with the Father.

In sum, the Nicean Creed lays at the end of a train of thought that began with pre-NT Jewish Wisdom theology, and winds its way through the NT.