On Language

In our experience, knowing God always starts with the words of another human being. Whether it was your parents, grandparents, or a friend, someone spoke to us words about God which imparted knowledge about God.Spoken Word

I think that this probably holds true for every human being to have lived since Father Adam walked with God in the Garden.

Even in the absence of face to face communication from one person to another, the words of scripture, in which God has chosen to make himself known, are also the words of humans, the words of people speaking words about God.

Whether it was in the words of scripture, or the re-presentation of the words of scripture in the words of friend, the knowledge of God came to us through human words.

Words: frail, ambiguous, capable of misunderstanding. There is nothing so utterly human as language.

In words we find ourselves determined and free. We cannot chose our language, grammar, pronounciation, meanings, all are fixed before we ever existed and overrule us. Yet, in language we find our greatest freedoms, to describe, express, share, to write fiction and dream of the impossible!
Humanity is language.

But God is the Great Speaker.
He is the master of words, who spoke the heavens and earth into being, who spoke humanity into being. We find the origin of our language in the traces left by words in Adam’s dust. Our words began with God, who gave us language, so he could speak it to us.

In the fulness of time, God spoke human words through human beings. He committed himself to the rules of Hebrew and Greek grammar, took the risks of misunderstanding associated with verbal aspect, bore the frailties and inconsistencies and exceptions.

There is something of symmetry between the Word of God who became flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and the word of God committed to the mouths and pens of people.
Don’t get me wrong, Jesus the Word, and the Bible, and the words spoken by that Christian friend are not all the same thing, or to be taken in the same way. But God is at work in all to achieve his will. He is at work in words to make himself known.

I know God because of words.

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2 thoughts on “On Language

  1. I love good spoken word poetry (I've heard some pretty awful stuff). There is something beautiful going on in the human ability to vocalise communication. I think there is probably a resonance in our being with those powerful spoken words of the Creator.
    I like the idea of a 'spoken word' theology movement. but really, all good theology is 'spoken word' theology…
    dan

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