The image of Sophia is prominent in some of my YouTube videos. People have asked, “Who is Sophia?”
Sophia, the Greek word for Wisdom, is a resurrected biblical feminine divine image that opens new possibilities for liberation, justice, and peace. New Testament writers link Christ to Wisdom, a feminine symbol of God in the Hebrew Scriptures. Wisdom (Hokmah in Hebrew) symbolizes creative, redemptive, and healing power. In their efforts to describe this same power in Christ, the apostle Paul and other New Testament writers draw from the picture of Wisdom. The apostle Paul refers to Christ as the “power of God and the Wisdom (Sophia) of God” (1Corinthians 1:24), and states that Christ “became for us Wisdom (Sophia) from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). The book of Proverbs describes Wisdom as the “way,” the “life,” and the “path” (4:11,22,26). The Gospel of John records Jesus’ saying, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus identifies with Wisdom (Sophia): “the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet Wisdom (Sophia) is vindicated by her deeds” (Matthew 11:19). Origen, a prominent early Christian writer, declared Sophia to be the most ancient and appropriate title for Jesus.
My book In Search of the Christ-Sophia: An Inclusive Christology for Liberating Christians gives a thorough explanation of the connection between Christ and Sophia (Wisdom) in Scripture and in Christian tradition (http://www.amazon.com/Search-Christ-Sophia-Christology-Liberating-Christians/dp/1571687874/ref=ed_oe_p).
Sophia is one of the most powerful biblical Divine Feminine images. “Mother” may be an ambivalent image for some people, depending on their experiences with their own mothers or with the image of Mary. Wisdom, Sophia, helps us experience our own wisdom more powerfully. Sophia invites us to develop a partnership relationship with Her.
Even though Wisdom (Hokmah, Sophia) is a prominent name for God in the Bible, She is ignored and excluded in most congregations. Just as women have been excluded from leadership and still are in numerous congregations, Divine Wisdom may be excluded from worship because the Bible presents Divine Wisdom as female and refers to Divine Wisdom as “She.” Also, people don’t always want to know about Her paths of peace and justice (Proverbs 3:13-18; 8:1-20). Sophia is one of the many biblical female images of God. Including these female images along with other biblical divine images to create gender-balanced worship will expand our spiritual experience and contribute to equality and justice in human relationships.
The pictures I chose for these videos celebrate diversity in race, culture, and gender.
This Sophia image by Mirta Toledo (http://www.afrolatinart.com/#/mirta-toledo/4532396991) blends races and illustrates what Rev. Rebecca Kiser calls “gender-full.” (See Rebecca’s story: https://wipfandstock.com/store/Changing_Church_Stories_of_Liberating_Ministers; https://jannaldredgeclanton.com/blog/?p=773) These videos also include pictures of people from a variety of races and genders to show that the truth of Sophia (Wisdom) brings healing and freedom to everyone.
May these videos increase your hope and your experience of Sophia’s power to set us all free to be all we’re meant to be!