Theology of Nature – the Language of God 2

Last time I looked at the interesting scriptural correlation between God’s creative and transformative word of power, Christ the Logos who is said by John to be that word, and the same word of power effectually spoken by human agents (whether by Jesus himself or divinely appointed agents) in human “natural” language. Today, I want to start by grounding that correlation in biblical ontology.

When we consider God as transcendently other – which is the right way to accord him due honour and worship – we must not forget that the role of the only-begotten Son is as the mediator between the Father and creation. Col 1:13-29, 2:6-17 speaks to this supremely.

Because of this, God must never be seen as utterly incomprehensible or alien in the age of Christ’s revelation. For (1) Christ is “the exact image” of God (Heb 1:2-3) and (2) man is created “after the image and likeness”of God. These truths were first brought together by Athanasius and have been discussed both on The Hump (eg here) and in other places where the imago dei has been considered.

It is under this kind of consideration that we understand why the universe should be so mysteriously comprehensible – not merely because God is rational, nor because we are rational, but because something of the rationality of the Creator is built into his creation in general, and into the mind of man particularly. Jesus “came to his own” (Jn 1:11) not only because he created mankind, but because he created him after his own image and likeness.

The question, then, of how we could possibly recognise God or his work in nature is answered by replacing the illusory “objective view from nowhere” with the more realistic concept that we view the world as those created in the image of the true Image of God. We are not self-made creatures reaching out to an alien God, but were, in fact, created both by and for him. He is in our DNA (speaking metaphorically here, not after Francis Collins!).

This ontological correlation between Christ and man can also explain the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” in science, but not, I would suggest, because mathematics is the language of God as Galileo said – though it might indeed be his machine code.

For natural language is far richer than mathematics, and as the quote from Heisenberg in the last post suggested, it is that natural language which corresponds more closely than anything else to our reality. At least one origins thinker who posts here, Jay Johnson, has based his ideas of humanity becoming morally and spiritually accountable on its acquisition of language. Though I disagree with his scheme in detail, he is absolutely right in this: that humanity without natural language is, quite literally, unthinkable. I’ve explored that at various times, for example here.

I’m not suggesting in these posts that God converses with himself in Hebrew, or in any other human language. Rather, I’m suggesting that some peculiar things about natural human language also map to much of what we now know of both nature and Scripture in a way that mathematics does not. Since this particularly applies in the world of biology, our future science may well need to take it into account somehow. But whether it does or not, it is still relevant to our theology of nature.

Physicist Paul Davies is among those seeing the importance of information to the natural world. In his book Information and the Nature of Reality, amongst other ideas he raises the possibility of the Universe itself being a giant computer, processing information to generate reality. Within biology, the understanding of the DNA code (Francis Collins’s language of God) has traditionally been algorithmic, and that understanding of reality has been applied in AI, with a tacit assumption that human thought is also algorithmic, or as near as dammit.

The information conceived by ID theorists, and particularly Bill Dembski, takes this algorithmic concept of language as its starting point, and accordingly both ID, and others, have found it difficult or impossible to define the “meaningful information” that is so familiar to us in everyday life, not to mention being able to apply such a definition to the organised complexity of life. Why should this be?

Quite simply, it is because neither the information with which humans work, using natural language, nor the workings of living things, nor the universe considered as a whole, function algorithmically. The reason, broadly, has been identified by those like Arthur Eddington and Werner Heisenberg: mathematics is a language of abstraction and generalisation, and natural language is not only a language of particulars and contingencies, but a language which creates infinite connections between those particulars, unique both to individual situations and individual speakers and hearers. Only such language can convey meaning.

And so John Archibald Wheeler’s slogan “It from Bit”, coined to suggest the primacy of information, is right about the information if “information” means “Logos” – but makes the common mistake in equating the “language of creation” with the “bits” of Shannon information. But “Shannon Information” is about abstracting information to mathematics, in which process its meaning is as surely lost as are the contingent real entities of the universe when reduced to physical laws of nature. It is that abstraction that makes his work useful in communications technology, and that enables Shannon to equate maximum information with maximum entropy. But logos does not so reduce, and hence the impossibility of scientific definition. More exploration of that next time.

Where I want to leave things today is with this astonishing complex richness of human language. C S Lewis spelled this out, showing that human language is intrinsically both referential and figurative. From the earliest times, metaphor, imagery and variably tight or loose association of ideas has been essential for any human conversation, and the development of all human ideas – even ideas about God.

This, of course, is why scientists are suspicious of natural language – it can’t be tied down to precise definitions and relationships in the way that maths can, and so it can’t be processed by computer algorithms until some kind of mathematical abstraction is made, during which the meaning is lost, not clarified. Quantum mechanics is precisely described in mathematics – but as soon as even the best scientists try to interpret that in words, metaphors and alternative understandings proliferate. Yet paradoxically, it is only in those interpretations, as Heisenberg says, that we come close to understanding reality.

Yet in the last piece I suggested that there is an inextricable correlation between this human speech – that gives us the Copenhagen Interpretation, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, furniture assembly instructions  and the Book of Revelation – and the dabar of God, which is none other than the Son, the creative Logos, himself. Somewhow, our theology of nature needs to encompass something of that – and supremely, given what Jesus has revealed of God – our theology of nature ought to include the expression of love in the creation.

Any mathematicians or programmers among you may wish to disagree, but I don’t think there is a differential equation or an algorithm for the love of God.

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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18 Responses to Theology of Nature – the Language of God 2

  1. Jay313 says:

    Hi, Jon. Sorry that I am slow catching up on my reading. I don’t get out as much as I used to. Thanks for the shout out, but I’m not sure that “origins thinker” is properly applied to me. “Origins tinkerer” might be more apropos. Anyway, I always thought you were at your best on the philosophical subjects, and I’ve been tempted to comment on this series since your first mention of Heisenberg and “natural language” — two hot buttons of mine. I won’t explain the former unless you’re familiar with the TV series “Breaking Bad,” but the latter stems from my interest in Wittgenstein, who supplied the original insight that sent me spinning into origins Sheol, never to be seen again.

    In a nutshell, what Heisenberg calls “natural language” sounds very much like “Ordinary Language” philosophy to me. Here’s an article on the subject at the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://www.iep.utm.edu/ord-lang/. I’ll summarize (mostly by quoting) the article in my comments, but the upshot is that both Ordinary Language philosophy and Logical Positivism were offshoots of Wittgenstein’s work. G. E. Moore also influenced the early development of Ordinary Language philosophy by reviving interest in “common sense” views of reality. (Someone else you might want to look up.)

    The inspiration for the Logical Positivists was Wittgenstein’s first book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which built upon the work of G. Frege and B. Russell in logic. According to them, the structure of our language concealed its true logic, which ultimately corresponded to the ontological structure of reality. “The basic assumption at work here, which formed the foundation for the Ideal Language view, is that the essential and fundamental purpose of language is to represent the world. Therefore, the more ‘perfect’, that is ‘ideal’, the language, the more accurately it represents the world. A logically perfect language is, on this line of thought, a literal mirror of metaphysical reality…. Perhaps, the thought went, ordinary language does not represent the world as it really is….
    “Wittgenstein’s version of Atomism became known as the ‘picture theory’ of language, and ultimately became the focus of the view he later rejected. A rather confounding part of Wittgenstein’s argument in the Tractatus is that although this picturing relation between reality and language exists, it cannot itself be represented, and nor therefore spoken of in language.”
    The Positivists misunderstood Wittgenstein’s conclusions and set about trying to invent a “logic of science” based on an ideal language that included nothing but propositions of fact or logic. When Wittgenstein later repudiated his own ideas, his early students and admirers used his new approach to attack the idea of an “ideal language” that should replace our “ordinary language.”

    The Oxford philosopher John Austin first took up the issue of the so-called ‘sense-data’ theory, originally formulated by Russell. The rest of this is from the article, but since the whole thing is quite long (10,000-plus words), I’ll try to give just the bits that seem relevant to your direction.

    “The argument for sense-data is, partially, based on the view that we are unable to distinguish between veridical experience and illusion. Therefore, the reasoning goes, all we can be sure of is what is common to both experiences, which is the ‘seeming to be such and such’ or sense-data. So, on the view, because it is possible that any experience may be an illusion, the only thing that is certain is the sense-data before the mind. Of this theory Austin says, ‘My general opinion about this doctrine is that it is a typically scholastic view, attributable…to an obsession with a few particular words…’

    “For example, a stick placed in a glass of water appears to be bent, but we have criteria for describing the difference between this bent stick and a stick which is bent outside the glass. We say, “the stick looks bent” in the water, but we say, “the stick is bent” of the other. The availability of ways in language to mark the distinction between illusions and veridical experiences demonstrates, according to Austin, that the sense-data argument is invalid – because those terms, which have ordinary uses in language, are misused in the sense-data theory.

    “The same would follow, if the sense-data theory were correct, that our ordinary uses of cognate terms such as ‘appearing’, ‘looking’, ‘seeming’, and so forth, and also ‘finding out that X was not as it appeared to be’ have no application – since there would be no ‘real’ distinction, for us, between how things appear and how they really are. This conclusion, from which it follows that we should withdraw the terms ‘veridical’ and ‘illusory’ from use in language, is absurd – the distinction is marked in language and therefore exists (for example, between the way things ‘look’ and the way things ‘are’ – though we are not always infallible in our judgments). The question whether or not the distinction corresponds with a metaphysical reality (“But do sticks really exist,” and so forth), is a question about some other distinction – not the distinction we draw, in ordinary use, between ‘appears to be’ and ‘is’…

    “(Austin) showed that, even in its most ordinary uses, language is indeed a much finer, sensitive and precise instrument than had previously been acknowledged. Such observations belie the view that ordinary language is somehow deficient for the purposes of describing reality. Austin demonstrated … that philosophical uses of language take expressions out of their ordinary working environment, that is, everyday communicative discourse. Wittgenstein described this as ‘language going on holiday’ …

    “Austin is also well known for his original work on what is now known as ‘speech-act’ theory, in his How to Do Things with Words (based on his William James Lectures delivered at Harvard in 1955, published as a monograph in 1962). Key to Austin’s achievement here was his development of the idea that the utterances of sentences in the use of language are not all of the same kind: not all utterances represent some aspect of the world (for example, not all utterances are assertions). Some, perhaps many, utterances involve executing actions. Austin’s example is the making of a promise. To utter “I promise to pay you back” is, on Austin’s analysis, to perform an act, that is to say, the very act of promising is carried out in uttering the sentence, rather than the sentence describing a state of affairs (that is, oneself in the state of promising). Austin developed an extensive taxonomy of the uses of language, establishing firmly the notion that language goes beyond simple representation, and has social and pragmatic dimensions that must be taken into account by any adequate theory of linguistic meaning….

    “Peter Strawson influenced the shift in philosophical interest from language to concepts – but the methodology and metaphilosophical rationale remained the same: the view that there is no route to a ‘metaphysical reality’ that is independent of our experience of it. Our experience of reality is, on this view, mediated by our particular conceptual structure, and a careful description of our ordinary experience – through the appeal to ordinary language – will help us to understand the nature of the conceptual structure.

    “Herbert Grice had a special place in this story because his work, as well as providing the argument which threw Ordinary Language philosophical principles into doubt, contributed to the development of a field of study that ultimately became the wellspring of those carrying on the legacy of the Ordinary Language philosophers in the 21st century; namely speech-act theory.

    “Grice’s version of ‘speech-act theory’ included an ‘intention-based’ theory of communication. The basic principle of speech-act theory (as Austin, and Grice following him, developed it) is that language is not merely a system of symbols that represent things – the process of communication is a result of interaction between agents, and the pragmatic aspects of communication must be factored into any account of linguistic meaning. As Austin emphasized, language use is, in part, the performance of actions, as well as the representation of the world. In particular, for Grice, part of what matters, for a theory of language, is what the agent intends to communicate.”

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks for this long and considered reply, Jay. You’ve studied this at greater depth than I have (though I’ll at least get round to taking some time on the article you linked soon). I’ll have to get you to write that particular chapter of the book!

      You know how it is that ones mind gets infiltrated by everything one has heard and read (which is what these three posts are about, really). But my main thought was the comparison between divine speech and ours as being somehow “in its image”, because of Christ.

      Heisenberg’s somewhat surprising claim (given his day job!) that common language is the true way to access reality only confirmed similar thoughts from others like Eddington, and from the richness of our own experience of speech – you say a word and a whole world of associations opens up for me.

      That said, speech-act theory is pretty popular in biblical studies now, and has influenced me through N T Wright and others. Only yesterday I was reading Stephen Chester’s book on Paul and the Reformers, in which he makes the point that the same distinction between speech as symbol and speech as act was made by Erasmus and Luther respectively.

      Erasmus thinks words are merely labels, and that the Bible in human worlds therefore only tells us about God by a spiritual process of allegory. Luther thunders back that Christ himself is in the word, which is effective and true in itself. I lean towards Luther on that.

      I guess those who develop such ideas for a theology of nature would have to deal theologically with the question of speech and untruth – much that is spoken in natural language does not tell truth about the world. Perhaps that relates to our eating of the tree of knowledge apart from obedience to God.

  2. Jay313 says:

    (Replying to you over here to get more space.) Thanks for the offer, but I’m still trying to get all the chapters in my own books written!

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Erasmus’ view of words as labels came from Augustine. Wittgenstein famously began Philosophical Investigations with a quote from Confessions where Augustine described how he learned to speak.

    On your last thought regarding speech and untruth, I’m reminded that language requires three kinds of sharing in a community: 1) word meanings, 2) usage conventions, and 3) the truthful communication of information. Human languages are thus “socially shared symbolic systems” that rely upon cooperation (or “agreement”) for their use. That is one reason why we are so offended by habitual liars — it threatens the foundations of our entire system of communication. It is also a reason why this “fake news” trend is so troubling. If people cannot agree on a common set of “facts” that can be regarded as “truthful,” then communication has become impossible.

    • Jay313 says:

      Final (maybe) thought: There is a serious pitfall to be avoided on any comparison of divine speech and human speech. God’s speech creates ultimate reality; human speech can only describe ultimate reality.

      Many people have tried to equate God’s speech with human speech and arrived at the blasphemous conclusion that our words and thoughts can create reality. You see it in the prosperity gospel, the “word of faith” movement, the “power of positive thinking,” etc. I call this “magical thinking,” because it is the equivalent of “speak the spell” and create the reality.

      • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

        Many people have tried to equate God’s speech with human speech and arrived at the blasphemous conclusion that our words and thoughts can create reality.

        Well yes – and the same people (sometomes) have taken “man as the image of God” language to claim we are gods. It neglects both ontology and – even more significantly – the Fall. Presumably in the age to come there will be human speech and it will be truthful.

        Will it bring about reality? Well that’s hard because there’s some truth in that already as speech creates new ideas and even new states (and new heresies, in the cases you mention). And then, one supposes, mankind will be at least as closely in touch with God as the prophets were.

        • Jay313 says:

          Yes, it is a tricky subject. Human speech does bring new ideas and states into being. That’s why I tried to qualify “reality” with “ultimate” in the first usage. I’m just not disciplined enough to keep it up!

          In many ways, it goes back to creativity and the question of whether human language reflects the structure of ultimate reality or simply describes it. Two thoughts of Wittgenstein’s come to mind here. One of them is in the preface to the Tractatus, his first book in 1922, where he sought to show the logic of our language by defining a proposition. Once that was done, he believed it would “draw a limit to thinking, or rather—not to thinking, but to the expression of thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able to think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought). The limit can, therefore, only be drawn in language and what lies on the other side of the limit will be simply nonsense.”

          In one sense, then, language places a limit on the expression of our thoughts, which is a practical limit on the thoughts themselves. On the other hand, Wittgenstein later realized that defining a proposition did not actually exhaust the possibilities of our language:

          “But how many kinds of sentence are there? Say assertion, question, and command?—There are countless kinds: countless different kinds of use of what we call “symbols”, “words”, “sentences”. And this multiplicity is not something fixed, given once for all; but new types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence, and others become obsolete and get forgotten. (We can get a rough picture of this from the changes in mathematics.) Here the term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life.”

          Understood in this sense, language provides an overall structure, but the possibilities within that structure are limitless, and the structure itself is constantly changing in response to changes in our manner of living, or “culture.” The tricky aspect here is that if the structure of language does reflect the structure of reality, and if language is constantly evolving, then the structure of reality would be constant change, as well. I’m not sure that would stand up to scrutiny, unless there is a much better formulation of the problem than I can see here.

          In any case, just for fun I thought I’d throw in the next paragraph of Wittgenstein’s preface to the Tractatus. It surely made him a hero to graduate students everywhere:

          “How far my efforts agree with those of other philosophers I will not decide. Indeed what I have here written makes no claim to novelty in points of detail; and therefore I give no sources, because it is indifferent
          to me whether what I have thought has already been thought before me by another.”

          • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

            Well, those last words save me having to recognise where I am plagiarizing!

            I suppose one aspect that interests me (more than the analytic philosophy of language that was all the rage at Cambridge when my philosopher friends were always throwing Wittengenstein at me to my utter incomprehension!) is how natural language, used in its ordinary context, reaches out through the speakers to encompass more an more connections in the real world.

            For example, you say “Wittgenstein” with all the associations you have formed from reading him, and I immediately think “Bill” (a Cambridge friend) and an article he wrote in the University Christian magazine; then I think of an afternoon with my wife in the tea-garden in Grantchester where he used to chat, and so on – and that’s about a word denoting a figure of whom I’m largely ignorant.

    • GD GD says:

      I agree, and the notion of deceit (uttering a falsehood) implies someone (the one uttering a falsehood, and/or the one believing a falsehood) indulge in an endeavour to create a belief in something that does not exist. It is important for us as a community, to realise the role belief plays in communication and differentiation in what is (true) as opposed to what is not.

      • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

        What was it the man said about Satan being a liar and the father of lies? Back to the garden again!

        • Jay313 says:

          Yes, Proverbs 8:13 —

          To fear the Lord is to hate evil;
          I hate pride and arrogance,
          evil behavior and perverse speech.

          The parallel to “evil” here is pride/arrogance, and the result is lives of habitual evil and “twisted words,” i.e. deception.

          • GD GD says:

            While I agree with all you have stated, I am also cognisant of how words may be used to impart belief (often mixed with meaning), so that the end result another believes a falsehood (or a truth).

            I wonder if an analysis would clarify the association between words, belief, and true/false.

            • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

              A fascinating question – the whole beauty and weakness of language is that its flexibility enables it to deal in multiple truths, and leave room for the lie. Arguably if there was a prootocol for distinguishing the truth from the lie there’d have been no need for Scripture!

              An example: Jesus describes himself (in his divine person) as a mother hen seeking to gather Israel to himself, but they would not. True or false? The computer algorithm would, I suppose, say that Jesus is neither female, nor a bird!

  3. GD GD says:

    Hi Jon and Jay,

    I am not sure that the following comment would progress the discussion, but on reflection I felt it may help somewhat. These are from my notes, so all errors are self-inflicted.

    The notion that one may contain self-deceit requires examination. Such a notion is much more then entertaining what is fictitious. Deceit is most often a contradiction of what a self knows, or believes, as true. Such a person provides to himself, often for the purpose of providing to another intentionally, a contradiction of what he believes or considers as true. His action is one of providing a contrary description to another with the intention and hope of keeping the true description from another person, or to create a false description in the other human being. Strictly speaking an untruth cannot properly exist unless it is completely synthesised as such, and in the world of objects this is impossible; fictitious works are often synthetic works that obtain their material from the world of experience and the world of objects. Uttering a lie is ‘bearing false witness’ in that a version of an event or a description of an object is provided that differs from the event, or the object. In such a case, fact is sufficient to ‘destroy’ the lie and the false witness may be ‘exposed’ by the fact. The ‘truth’ of the object (or the factual description) may be found and has not ceased to exist, and in this way it is understood that the fact existed, while the falseness is a contradiction of the fact. However, the act of falsification, or the falsehood, is as life-self-as-active, (for the duration of that activity) and for that moment diminishes the sense and reason of the one creating the falsehood, and also those who will continue to receive, believe, or accept, such falsehood.

    For a synthetic untruth or a false-hood to be presented to reason as such requires it to be singularly so, and not contrasted to something in any way. This is only possible if the life-self-awareness were to be completely altered. (Mythically it may be viewed as a person being possessed by ‘another singular entity’, and was described in ancient times as ‘possessed by demons’). For a synthetic untruth to be, the particular ‘life-self-awareness’ would need to be annihilated, (cease as life-self-awareness in the world of objects), to be followed, or replaced by a ‘not-self/-other’. This perhaps may be fictionalized as a destruction of the ‘true-self’ followed by a creation of a ‘false-self’ – however, a literal meaning of such things is the person or soul has died in toto.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      This discussion gets us into very deep waters doesn’t it! But it demonstrates our willingness to link language inextricably to nature – or certainly to our perception of it. I remain rather awed at the idea of being able to consolidate such ideas to be practically useful in a theology of nature, especially if such were to be used as the basis for activities like science.

      But if we view nature as, in essence, that which has been spoken by God through the Logos, then in the creation we have a grand “statement” which is utterly true, even though bearing the complexity and richness of meaning that is intrinsic to human speech.

      Envisage then, the new creation, where only truth prevails. I wonder how redeemed humans will speak about creation in the absence of untruth? Then we would truly be “thinking God’s thoughts after him”. Just as it’s possible to model the new creation in Christian living generally, it sounds a worthy goal to find ways of speaking about nature that foreshadow that time.

      • Jay313 says:

        Speaking of the new creation being modeled in the present, I would appeal to the already-not yet language that theologians use to speak of the kingdom of God. As in, we “already” possess some of the benefits, but “not yet” the fullness of what God has planned for the saints. Similarly, Paul speaks of the relationship between the natural body and the spiritual body as a seed is related to the final form of the plant. Christ is the first fruits of that harvest.

        Perhaps, in some way, our present “natural language” is the seed form of a mode of communication that exceeds our present capacities, a “spiritual language,” if you will. It seems to me that the “language of heaven” would be the “ideal language” that the Logical Positivists envisioned, in that the “language of heaven” would be a perfect mirror of the structure of reality. However, where the Positivists sought a stripped-down version of language, the “language of heaven” certainly would be fuller and richer than our present version.

        On the other hand, an opposite case also could be made. Namely, since life in the consummation is an embodied existence on a renewed Earth, we would continue to communicate through “normal,” spoken language. This seems more likely to me, although the whole discussion is speculation.

    • Jay313 says:

      I agree that habitual lies have the effect of destroying the true self. Self-deception is an interesting case. I follow your thought here: “Deceit is most often a contradiction of what a self knows, or believes, as true.”

      But what of cases where the cause of self-deception is a refusal to consider any facts that might destroy the lie? For instance, a woman believes her husband loves her, so she refuses to consider any evidence of his adultery. A scientist believes there is no God, so … A YEC believes the earth is 6000 years old, so …

      Is refusing to contemplate counter-evidence also a form of self-deception, and therefore also a form of “false witness”? I think so.

      • GD GD says:

        You make an interesting point – how do we reconcile a belief that is underpinned by a desire that something is true (even if we suspect it is false), and this does not permit doubt. I see this as a problem of belief that is re-enforced within a communal setting. The wife wants to believe her husband is faithful, eve if there are signs otherwise. The religious person wants to believe God acted in accordance with his views, and he underpins this belief with a sense of righteousness (following scripture) even if data shows otherwise.

        This is broadly the point of my comment – a person may have a motive to utter falsehoods, but this is possible if others want to believe such. Ultimately we would reduce this to our fallen state, and also our attributes. The answer imho is to grow in attributes as human beings, that include seeking the true, but also doubting things until one is convinced of the truth content of a proposition or sentence. It comes down to what we as human beings are – and within the FAITH, how well we seek the correct teachings.

  4. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    Just to add to the maelstrom of ideas on this (which matches, i guess, the maelstrom that is language itself), I was reminded by a reading in Cyril of Jerusalem this morning that the Holy Spirit came (the “deposit” of the new creation) as tongues of fire – that is, with a key idea of giving utterance of the truth, which begins in Christ.

    In this case, at least, the “language of heaven” was a wide selection of the languages of men. I guess that’s linked to why we translate the Bible rather than getting all believers to learn Hebrew and Greek.

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