Did God Really Say? Affirming the Truthfulness and Trustworthiness of Scripture – Quotes, Chapter 5 – “God and Language” by Vern Poythress
This chapter is a summary of Poyhress’ book In The Beginning Was The Word: Language A God-Centered Approach. (On my desk to read soon!)
Language runs deep. It is deeper and older than humanity. God spoke even before there were any humans.
Interestingly, God speaks to humans beings before there is any record of human beings speaking to one another. Human language is not merely human. It is not there merely as a practical, prosaic tool for human communication to other human beings. God is the originator. We should thank God for language; it is a gift.
It takes God speaking for us to know him. Knowledge that we claim to have about God is not true knowledge if it is merely the invention of our own minds or of our own would-be autonomous speech about God. We need to attend to God as he speaks to us in the Bible.
We do understand. We understand truly. But we do not understand comprehensively, that is, in the way that only God can understand.
God made the world and governs it by the wisdom of his providence. Moreover, he governs by speaking. The world in its overall structure and the details of its history is the product of language – God’s language.
People can of course use language to express heretical or blasphemous thoughts about God. But this is a difficulty created by the fall and by sin, not a difficulty intrinsic to the metaphysical character of language as given by God.