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Don Stewart :: Is Human Language a Sufficient Means of Communication between God and Humankind

Don Stewart

Is it possible for God to communicate to humanity in our own language? The Bible says yes to this question. Human language, imperfect as it is, is sufficient for us understand some things about God.

We Are Made In The Image Of God

First, we have been made in the image of God. In the Book of Genesis we read.

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26,27).

Part of this image is the ability to give and receive communication. He has made us rational beings with intelligence. Humans have the ability to understand whom God is - that is to the degree that He has revealed this to us.

Human Language Is Flawed But It Is Sufficient

When Adam and Eve fell into sin everything about their character became marred. This includes human language. Human language, like everything else that is part of a human being, is touched by sin. Despite this, God chose to use human language to reveal His divine truth. Although human beings are now in a sinful state, sin did not take away humanity's ability to understand God. God continued to reveal Himself to humanity after sin had entered our world.

Human language is a sufficient means for intelligent beings to communicate with one another. The fact that we do communicate with one another makes this obvious. To argue otherwise would be nonsense.

God Used The Language That Was Already Available

God reveals Himself to the extent that humans can receive it. He used the words of the listener as well as the listener's own understanding of language. God accommodated himself to human language - He communicated to us in words and concepts in which we can understand. In doing so, He used words that were already part of the spoken language at the time. As one studies the Bible one will discover the lack of new words and new definitions contained in Scripture. God used the words and definitions that people were familiar with to communicate His truth. While the truths were new the words used to explain these truths were not new.

God Audibly Spoke To Human Beings

In addition, we find that God Himself has actually audibly spoken to human beings by means of human language. Scripture is filled with examples of God actually speaking to people in the language which they normally spoke. We also find that the people, though sinful, clearly understood what God had said to them.

The Word Of God Was Written In Human Language

The words of Scripture are also God's Words. Although human beings, in human language, wrote down the words of Scripture, these words are still considered to be the Word of God. The written Scriptures are God's communication with humanity. The words that God spoke to people and are recorded in Scripture were spoken in understandable, human language. Although they originated with God, they were communicated so that humans could understand. The fact that God spoke human words does not limit the divine authority of the message.

His Word Is Expected To Be Obeyed

Moreover God held them responsible for obeying His communication. The words that the prophets spoke to the people were just as authoritative as if God has personally spoken them. Disobeying the prophets was the same as disobeying the Lord. The Lord said.

I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:18-20).

Therefore human language is indeed a sufficient means of God communicating His truths to humanity.

Summary

There is nothing inherently impossible or unreasonable that God would communicate with His creation through human language. Since human beings of all nations are able to communicate with each other through language it certainly is not impossible for God to do so. While language is not a perfect means of communication it is a sufficient means.

The Bible itself shows that God gave His revelation of Himself in words and concepts that human beings can and do understand.

Finally, the Bible expects humans to understand God's communication. This shows that it is clear that human language is a sufficient means for God to communicate with humanity.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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