Christ, the Beginning of Creation – Part VII

Christ, the Beginning of Creation – Part VII

by Fr. Maximilian M. Dean

[To see the full article on one page visit Appendix: Christ the Beginning]

Christ “in the beginning… I was set up… before the earth was made” (Prov 8,22-23)

Solomon wrote: “The Lord possessed me, the beginning [Gk: εχτισε με ] of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived… before the hills I was brought forth: When he prepared the heavens, I was present… when he balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times; Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men… (Prov 8:22-9:6).

The Holy Fathers (Ss. Augustine and Cyril included) are unanimous in interpreting this splendid passage as referring to Christ.[1] Let us cite other Doctors of the Church as a solid confirmation:

– St. Ambrose: “Do not marvel if it is said that before the ages He [the Word] was set up, where you read that He was predestined before time. That this expression, ‘The Lord possessed me,’ might be referring to the Incarnation is evident from the following…”[2]

– St. Jerome: “And since… in Proverbs Salomon speaks of Wisdom as the created beginning of the ways of God… we freely proclaim that there is no danger in maintaining that Wisdom was created…; the words ‘The Lord possessed me…’ are referring to the mystery of the Incarnation, not to the nature of God.”[3]

– St. Anselm: “ ‘ab initio ante saecula creata sum.’ From the beginning of the world and before the ages Wisdom was created in being predestined according to His humanity.”[4]

Having established this we can confirm that the Wisdom of God, which is the God-Man Jesus Christ,[5] was set up from the beginning [Latin: a principio ab aeterno ordita sum] when God the Creator chose, in His love, to communicate Himself ad extra, that is, when His love chose to create the universe with the Incarnation as the heart and masterpiece.[6]

Jesus, the Word Incarnate, was present at the center of the divine decree when the Omnipotent God prepared the heavens.

            The Word made flesh was with Him forming all things because everything was created in Christ, by means of Christ and in view of Christ. Jesus, therefore, even if He came in these “last times” (Heb 1:2; cfr. 1 Pt 1:20) according to the execution of the divine decree, was there in the divine intention as Design and Model of all creation in the beginning.

Yes, when God created He had Jesus – the Beginning of creation (cfr. Apoc 3:14) – before Him, Jesus playing before him at all times. When He put His plan into action and spoke those creative word: “Let there be…,” Christ was rejoicing, so to speak, in every instant, in each of the six days of creation. The entire universe, in fact, was created for Him, and for no merit of His own, but solely through the pure and simple generosity of the Creator who freely chose and predestined Christ’s Sacred Humanity to the maximum glory through the hypostatic union. Jesus was playing in the world and His delights were to be with the children of men, rejoicing at having been chosen to be Emmanuel, the Son of the Virgin Mary, “the firstborn among many brethren” (Rm 8:29) so as to perfectly glorify God upon this earth (cfr. Jn 17:4).

            If this interpretation of Proverbs is true, as the Fathers and Doctors assert, then there is no problem in interpreting the first verses of John’s Gospel in this fashion: the Word is Christ, that is, the Word Incarnate which is the created Wisdom spoken

To be continued…


[1] Cfr. Fr. Chrysostomus Urrutibéhéty, Christus Alpha et Omega, Lille R. Giard (1910), cap. V, pp.81-105; cfr. also Fr. Ruggero Rosini, op. cit., pp.111-115, 129.

[2] St. Ambrose, De Fide, L.I, c.15 (PL 16, 550).

[3] St. Jerome, In Epist. ad Eph., L.I, c.II (PL 26, 471).

[4] St. Anselm, Homiliae et Exhort., Hom. I (PL 158, 587).

[5] Objections are frequently made to the use of the Wisdom literature in sustaining that Christ was the beginning and that He had been predestined in an absolute manner from the beginning (cfr. Scotus, Ordinatio, III, d.7, q.3; Opus Parisiense, III, d.7, q.4; Lectura Completa, III, d.7, q.3; Reportatio Barcinonensis, II, d.7, q.3). But saying that Christ is that created Wisdom which was before God in creating the world does not exclude a reference to the divine Wisdom in itself. Actually it follows from the Christology of the Subtle Doctor (cfr. Scotus, Ordinatio III, d.2, q.2) that it is not necessary to say either created Wisdom or divine Wisdom, but by virtue of the hypostatic union one can say created and divine Wisdom both in the union of the Person. In this way there is no danger of falling into the error of Arius who mistakenly taught that Christ was the perfect Son in so far as a creature, but always and only a mere creature and not God. Likewise one avoids the error of Nestorius who taught that Christ was perfect as a human person perfectly united to the divine Person and hence in Christ there were two persons and not two natures united in one Person. No, the Word Incarnate was before God as created Wisdom, but was also God Himself as divine Wisdom – Christ, true God and true Man, in the beginning before God.

[6] Cfr. St. Francis de Sales, Treatise on the Love of God, II, IV.