Question of the Week: God and Language?

 By Daniel Lobo (Daquella manera) (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Daniel Lobo (Daquella manera) (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

On 2/28/2018, the Mentionables received this question from Gabriel, age 7.

How did God create speech?

These are the answers from the team.

This answer is from Mentionable Nick Peters. For the answer from Joel Furches and William Schnakenberg, scroll below.

 

Hi! Thanks for the question!

In John's Gospel, the word used to describe Jesus as the word is Logos. It really means a word. Today, we refer to it as a body of knowledge. The opening is very similar to Genesis including "In the beginning." John is saying Jesus is the Word by which creation was made. In Hebrews 1, we find that God has spoken to us in these last days by His Son. However, I am told that in the Greek, it says "He has spoken to us by Son." The Son is the language of God. To know who God is, you look to the Son, the fullest revelation of God.

This does not mean we know how it is done. I don't know how it is that I am willing myself to type this, but I am doing it. A man named Chesterton once said that the wonder of God is He can make something out of nothing and the wonder of man is he can make something out of everything. New languages are not direct creations of God. God has enabled us to be little creators. The difference is we can't make something out of nothing. We have to take what he has used. If you have ever drawn a picture or written a story, you are a creator. 

Speech is a wonderful gift of God, but our words should be used for His glory, and not for ours. How will you use your words today?

This answer is from Mentionable Joel Furches. For the answer from Network Member William Schnakenberg scroll below.

While this question may roll of the lips of a seven-year-old, the question itself shows how deep and meaningful speech really is. In a five-word sentence, the child has asked something more profound than most questions contemplated by scholars.

Consider this: speech is given such high accord in scripture, that two of the ten commandments enforce speech-laws. The epistle of James marvels that a single mouth could produce both blessings and curses (saying that “these things should not be!”).

Most tellingly, however, is the fact that God is portrayed as speaking the universe into existence, and the Gospel of John says that Jesus was, himself, the Word of God become flesh. It’s hard to imagine more significance being given to speech than this.

This child has somehow comprehended that speech is such a powerful and unique phenomena that it is without precedent in the natural world. Surely animals, and perhaps even plants, effect some sort of basic communication. But bees giving one another directions to the tastiest flowers, birds warning one another of nearby predators, and plants sending chemical signals to indicate fungal infection are only pitiful artifacts compared to a sonnet, a novel or a lecture on quantum physics.

Somehow humans are able to encode practically every aspect of reality from the common to the transcendent, and pass that knowledge one to another through sounds and symbols. Moreover still, God has communicated himself to humans through sounds and symbols.

So how did God create speech? God is speech. And part of being made in God’s image is the ability to communicate through language.

This very concept – the mind-boggling profundity of language – is considerable evidence for God in and of itself. In fact, the encoding of information is one of the hallmarks of intelligence itself. When SETI scans the skies for intelligent life, what it is looking for is patterns that can be interpreted into information. And many scientists who believe in God consider the encoding of information in DNA to be evidence for the design in life-forms.

The answer for the child would be this:

God did not create speech. God already could speak. It is part of who he is. So when people speak to one another and are able to tell each other things; when people read and write to one another, they are able to do so because God gave them the same ability that he already had.

This answer is from Mentionable Network Member William Schnakenberg.

(Geared for a 7 year old to read)

 What a great question!  I think that first what we would need to understand is what you mean by “speech”? 

I look at the word speech and would define it by, “the communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words.”

If we are speaking of humans, God created in all of us what is known as a larynx.  I know this is a confusing word, but it is also known as a “voice box”.  It basically gives most of us the ability to speak. It sits at the top of our windpipe in our throat, it is anchored to the bone that’s connected to our tongue. It contains small bands of tissue that can expand and contract. This tissue pulls together, and the air rushing through it causes the bands to vibrate, and when this happens you get sound. 

Say something.  See, all that just happened!  I bet you never thought of it that way! ;-)

So how did God create speech in us?  It is one of His many awesome ways that He made humans special compared to other living things in His wonderful Creation!  This is because most animals don’t share this type of equipment that He installed in us, but they do have to communicate with each other.

Most animals use body language, and use other senses such as sound and smell to communicate and express themselves.

Bees dance when they have found nectar, chimpanzees say, “Hello,” by touching hands, Giraffes press their necks together to show affection and elephants do the same by entwining their trunks, and Gorilla’s stick out their tongues when they are mad.  All of God’s creation with living things communicate in a lot of neat ways. 

In Genesis 1:26-27, the very first Chapter in the Bible, when God created the world, after He saw that it was “good”, He said,  “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” and then “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Verse 28 goes onto say, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Every living thing then needed a way to communicate with each other.  It really is amazing to think about how wonderful God is by giving us all this ability!

But I think the more important question is not “How did God create speech, “but as it “why” did God create speech?

Since humans were made in God’s image, we have the ability not just to use our speech, but first we must in our minds think of the words we choose to say.  He has given human beings the special ability to think, reason, and formulate words and not just act on animal instinct.  It is what makes you and I so special.