Wednesday, September 21

words, Words, WORD, THE WORD

I am now sitting in Molly's house at about 11am by myself - all others of this household toiling away elsewhere in the business of life - studying Revelation chapter 19 with the help of James Stuart Russell's more than marvelous book The Parousia-A Study of the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming.  Just to share with you a bit more of my mindset this morning, earlier I read DorothySayers' essay The Lost Tools of Learning.  Look it up through Google and read it.

Let me digress onto the Sayers essay with a few points before I state the one simple idea I had in the Revelation study that motivated me to write this blog post:

How did I happen to read the Sayers essay?  Molly and Jeff have enrolled Milo (age 8, grade 3) and Oz
(age 6, first grade) in a charter school, part of the public school system, that is using the so-called "Classical curriculum".  We spent most of last evening rehearsing spelling words, math facts and Latin declensions with Milo.  Then we chorally/orally read a story.  It was really great fun!!

This is the approach described generally in the Sayers essay.  (My understanding is that this essay triggered the resurgence in interest in Classical education several years ago.)  Of course, books like that of Susan Wise Bauer more fully fleshed it out, especially for homeschoolers.  Other people like Doug Wilson et al have more fully applied it to conventional Christian schools.

Now in reading the Sayers essay, it is pretty clear to me that she wrote it with Christian presuppositions, i.e. the Bible is what it says it is (2 Tim 3:16, 17).  It is infallibly true and the rule for our faith and life.  It defines righteousness in every area of life and is the absolute ground of our ethics.  Not only that, the Bible is our only ground for the whole idea of MEANING and hence communication.  Is not the whole idea here to become skilled in the use of language - you know, WORDS, word streams - as fundamental to our whole being.  We cannot think without words and rules for their use.  This is another way to define logic.   Sayers certainly did not pound on this point in her article; in fact, she did not even state it.  Yet, it is the whole foundation of her statement.  Now, in her defense, I think she wrote in an earlier age when the belief in the Scriptures did occupy a much more central place in people's lives, and many more would have assumed these Christian presuppositions (a priori truths).   She did not feel the need to pound on these foundations.

But fast-forward to today - multiculturalism: total legal, political and social acceptance of the doctrine of         separation of church and state (code for separation of commands of the Bible and Christ from government) - Nova Classical Academy, a charter school of the Minneapolis public school system, offered free of charge to the Johnsons, paid for with taxes, is on a collision course the undergirding faith of this method.

Question:  Can they have the benefits without the Faith?  

Back to my Bible study:  Among many verses we come to this one:  Rev. 19:13--And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:  and his name is called The Word of God.

Why was his name called The Word of God?  Are there any implications of this name for us?  Could we get any clues from the cross-reference John 1:1?  Surely a massively awesome verse:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Why is Christ, the everlasting Son, called the Word?

And awesomely more interesting -  John 1:14 tells us   And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

OK, with all this, finally, to my one little idea of the morning:  It seems like Bible is not read today for what it really says.  My idea along these lines is really sort of a pedagogical one,  one to encourage ourselves to open the Scriptures and search and come to some conclusions on our own, a bit apart from the politically correct notions of today.  And in line with my above-described mental journey of the past 24 hours, I did light on that verse 19 of Revelation and ask myself:

What words and ideas come to our minds when we consider that the victorious Christ, who, in the Revelation narrative, has just consummated His Kingdom in heaven and on earth (the new heavens and  the new earth) is called The Word of God, THE WORD (Jn. 1:1).

Why has the infallible Word of God, the Bible, called His Son THE WORD???

What are some implications of this?  How important is a word?  Is it an "it" or is it a "He"?  What does it mean to us that the Bible sometimes says word means "He"?

Does this whole tedious subject of words even need to concern us?  Why do we have to agree on and learn their spellings?  And their meanings?   What would happen if each of us decided to make up our own rules and meanings for words?  Yo, why not just even make up our own words?  After all, we have no God over us and each of us is our own god, we should just go to.   Would this work?  Think some of the famous nonsense rhymes that have been written, but even those are not creative enough, because those slacker writers stole the letters of the alphabet to depict their original words.  Heck, they even stole the rules for spacing between their "words".  Plagerizers (sp) !!!  Pitiful creatures, er, I mean chance beings.  Think the story of the tower of Babel.

Really, this is getting silly!!

But, really, really, what do you think is involved in this concept of word?  Do we take the goodness of our great God totally, mindlessly for granted, and the order of His Creation and our intimate relation to it and it to us, in the marvelous relationship of our mind to the external order through the use of the language and thought categories that are totally dependent on eternal stability.

The great figure of VanTil comes to mind?   Are we sitting on God's lap, completely supported be Him, slapping Him in the face and telling Him we don't need His gift of the language.  We can do what ever we want.

Enough, already.  What do you think?

1 comment:

Pete said...

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." This is known as Clarke's third law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarke's_three_laws

This strikes me as extremely reductionist and pessimistic "law". Ultimately it deifies science & technology.

I propose an inverse statement: "Any sufficiently common miracle is indistinguishable from technology."

Exhibit A: human communication (Words).

I have a thought in my head, (one sufficiently common miracle, but second to my main point) and through the miracle of communication I marshal that thought out of my head, across space and time, into someone else's head. This is an extremely fragile process, which breaks down as often as it succeeds. But, that it ever succeeds at all should boggle our minds. Consider the delicate structures that physically create and maintain thoughts; the brains, neural pathways, infinitesimal bio-chemical gradients, slight shifts of electric charge. To communicate, these things manipulate their environment such that some time later, at some different location, a "thought", similar to what "it" is currently thinking, is thought by some other. (Are we sharing a mind boggle yet?)

"Jesus is The Word" vs. "communication is simply a 'sufficiently advanced technology'" are irreconcilable philosophies. Miracles are common? or miracles are random?

It intrigues me that most of our recent technological advances are in communication; satellites, cell-phones, facebook, Google, e-mail, SMS, iPhones etc.. The most important technological advance the human race has ever made was the invention of writing. We are drowning in miracles/magic. The deep question we all must answer; do I believe that any of this really means anything?