Advent Devotional | Day 13: Jesus as Embodied Wisdom
For those who find me find life and receive favour from the Lord.
– Proverbs 8:35
On December 28, 2022, I took my first step into the world of ChatGPT, and I was truly astounded by its power and capabilities. In mere seconds, it poured out knowledge that had taken me a lifetime to acquire. Have you had the chance to play with ChatGPT?
In this era of artificial intelligence (AI) and hope in technology, there’s a growing concern about the possibility that computers, machines, and robots may one day replace humans, making us redundant. These discussions often revolve around how to alleviate this very real existential fear and anxiety. So how does Proverbs 8, which is all about knowledge and wisdom, address the current threats humanity faces?
While Proverbs 8 is a lengthy chapter, it beautifully unfolds wisdom in several dimensions: (1) wisdom is personified, (2) wisdom is superior to material wealth, (3) wisdom already exists prior to creation, (4) wisdom governs the created world, (5) wisdom creates like a craftsman, and (6) wisdom brings life rather than death.
One of the most pertinent messages in Proverbs 8 for our current situation is the emphasis on the personification and embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. It might be said that one way to harness the power of AI is to ensure that, while AI possesses incredible capabilities in terms of information, knowledge, power, and creativity, it lacks embodiment—the human dimension of shared space and rubbed elbows and therefore love that AI doesn’t possess (though efforts are being made to infuse consciousness and “humanness” into AI).
This is where Jesus enters the picture. Jesus is the embodiment of intelligence, but of the divine sort, not artificial. While Jesus possesses a pre-existent nature with knowledge and wisdom beyond humanity’s combined, He chose to become fully human in real time and space. He was born naturally, in a humble manger, His first cry echoing through history. He ate, drank, and lived among us (John 1:14). Like every one of us, Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature” (Luke 2:52).
So while Jesus embodies all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), surpassing the capabilities of AI, and possesses unmatched creativity as the very creator and sustainer of all things in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:15-17), all of that potency now dwells forever in a human being and animates His life. Jesus came to earth in flesh and blood to demonstrate what it means to possess truth, wisdom, and knowledge while simultaneously embodying the “fullness of grace” (John 1:14). Grace is kindred to gift—benevolence, kindness, patience, and gentleness to the underserved and undeserved—unmerited favour. In a world where machines drive productivity, efficiency, and delivery and serve a meritocracy, grace stands in warm contrast. It understands our human fears, our moments of folly, our undeniable finitude, and our inherent frailties. Grace is the antidote to the cold mechanisms of our society and what knowledge needs to be combined with to be true wisdom. Jesus, as wisdom incarnate and the fulfilment of Proverbs 8, came to grant life to all who receive and embrace Him as saviour and king. In Him, we find life—eternal, abundant, and meaningful. It’s a life worth living, and it’s a life meant for humanity. Jesus found favour with God and men as He lived out this life (Luke 2:52).
I don’t know what the future of AI will be. I hope that there are capable followers of Jesus working in the field who will help us maximize its benefits while recognizing its disembodied limits. What I do know is that Jesus can be received with open arms by humanity because He came full of grace and truth to ensure our well-being and flourishing. Lady Wisdom in Proverbs 8 is on the street and by the gates, extending her invitation to all—whether simple, naive, or wise—to respond and embrace what she embodies. As we continue to find our place in the world of AI, Lady Wisdom says: whoever finds Jesus “finds life and receives favour from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:35). May you find rest and hope and true wisdom in Him this Advent season.
Dr Shirley S. Ho
Dr Shirley S. Ho is a Langham Scholar and Langham-published author who currently serves as Associate Professor of Old Testament at China Evangelical Seminary, Taiwan.