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It will serve them in how they effectively use language to express the ultimate redemptive story. Language, communication, and words are important and Vern Poythress relates them up — all the way up — to God. It is a God-centered approach, indeed. Read Starke's full review.

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The following post appeared in two parts on Christian Book News. Read original part 1 and part 2. My major goal is to build a Bible-based Christian understanding of language.

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I believe that goal is important because we should be admiring and praising God for the wonders of language, just as we should be for the beauty of a sunset. The issue of the nature of language has become more important because philosophy of language and critical reflections on language have come to play a significant role in analytic philosophy, in materialist philosophy, and in postmodernism. But if language is treated as a merely human, cultural phenomenon, rather than a gift from God displaying his character and glory, the products of reflection will contain both helpful insights and corruption of the truth.

Materialist philosophy typically wants to see language as a evolutionary product that eventually reduces to human genetic capabilities that have gradually developed through evolution of humanity from apes. The result is again that language is regarded as merely human, and not divine, in origin, and in fact it is in the end subhuman—it is derived from a mindless, purposeless, chance process of atoms in motion. Some postmodernists view language as a kind of prison from which we cannot escape in order to see the world as it really is.

This view generates skepticism about our access to truth. Christians need an answer that does not merely say that skepticism is mistaken, but builds a positive understanding of language as a gift of God through which God himself can speak. God displays his character, his goodness, and his glory in the languages that he has given to the human race.

If we corrupt the knowledge of God, we corrupt the understanding of language and of truth. The consequences may be subtle, but they are broad. Without God, we become victims to counterfeit gods. For many people, the primary counterfeit gods are sources that promise fulfillment—money, sex, and power. But we can also have God-substitutes that come in when we try to think about language.

The most prominent God-substitute in Western thinking is materialism, which says that language and everything else about human beings is a product of mindless evolution. This thinking involves a substitute god because it requires faith in regularities, both in science and in language. The regularities are a substitute because they are conceived of as impersonal regularities, rather than being the design of a personal God.

We can also see another kind of counterfeit god when language is treated as having mystical depth. It just is. In order for the Word to be fully expressed or revealed within the material realm—the realm of form and matter—the Word must manifest through a human form.

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When the Word expresses itself through a human form, it also remains eternally in its absolute condition beyond time, form and space. Christians believe this phenomena happened only once in history, in the human form of Jesus Christ. The door of the knowledge of the Ancient of Days being thus closed in the face of all beings, the Source of infinite grace… hath caused those luminous Gems of Holiness to appear out of the realm of the spirit, in the noble form of the human temple, and be made manifest unto all men, that they may impart unto the world the mysteries of the unchangeable Being, and tell of the subtleties of His imperishable Essence.

These sanctified Mirrors, these Day Springs of ancient glory, are, one and all, the Exponents on earth of Him Who is the central Orb of the universe, its Essence and ultimate Purpose.

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From Him proceed their knowledge and power; from Him is derived their sovereignty. The beauty of their countenance is but a reflection of His image, and their revelation a sign of His deathless glory. They are the Treasuries of Divine knowledge, and the Repositories of celestial wisdom. Through them is transmitted a grace that is infinite, and by them is revealed the Light that can never fade…. These Tabernacles of Holiness, these Primal Mirrors which reflect the light of unfading glory, are but expressions of Him Who is the Invisible of the Invisibles.

By the revelation of these Gems of Divine virtue all the names and attributes of God, such as knowledge and power, sovereignty and dominion, mercy and wisdom, glory, bounty, and grace, are made manifest.

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Through Them and by Them man comes to know God, and learns the purpose of God. It is only through His Manifestations that God can be known. In Them nothing can be seen but the glory and the power, the majesty and the will of the Godhead. Jesus said that whoever had seen Him had seen the Father, he who had known Him had known God.


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Every road to the Creator of the universe is barred, save that through His Manifestations, through those divine Figures, those exalted Beings Whom we know as the Founders of the religions of mankind. Nothing then need divide us; not geography, history, race, class, culture or beliefs.

If we reflect with open hearts and minds upon the nature of our common existence, unencumbered by conditioning that leads us to perceive others as fundamentally different from us, we would collectively embrace the Word of God as spiritual sisters and brothers. The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

The official website of the Baha'i Faith is: Bahai. The official website of the Baha'is of the United States can be found here: Bahai.


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    Lynn Eury Capps. I think I wanted to add for some reason that the Word is for humans and that is why it must manifest through human form. The whole reason for it to be expressed or revealed in the first place is so that humans, created in God's image, can "know" the Word.

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    It might be a small differentiation, but yet it seemed to be needed in I know that this idea is discussed further on, but the sentence above seems to need that clarification as well. Read more Deshon Fox - author of The Middle Theory. Thank you for your thoughts on this Lynn The introduction of "to humans" would perhaps add some clarity; however, I don't think the meaning is lost as it is written - at least I hope not :. Thomas W.