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Now do not misunderstand. Religion may indeed involve value, experience, group activity and commitment. It is however the basis that matters. It is the question whether it is true. It is the reason, indeed, which should be given, and which provides an answer to that question, with which we are now to be concerned.
If subjectivity is by its very nature limited to the subject, then unless that subject is unlimited, the person in view will be assured certain consequences. The person who is not unlimited will be prone to the dictates ... of the limits that apply, including warpings, distortions, undisciplined desires, undetected projections of wishes as if they were 'right moves', or even perverse projections of devious areas as if they were 'moral stands' and so on. Man without a reliable and non-subjective basis is vulnerable to nearly anything, as indeed his conduct both in war and peace, amply, sometimes humorously and often tragically shows us. It is like drinking water. A throat is important but water, the substance that quenches, is crucial!
There is much more in its place to be said on the sadness of mere subjectivity (esp. in Ch's 3 and 10 infra); as there is, by contrast, on the excellence of a human subject's opportunities, if that subject finds its right and reasonable place of operation (Ch. 7 infra). However, for the present, we wish to look behind the scenes a little.
Can we, then, use our powers of examination to find traces of action not our own, of powers we do not control, of thought we cannot initiate, of a mind we cannot manipulate ? Is there a reason why we normally and naturally tend to act as if the truth is attainable, as shown by our most frequently met confidence in practice in asserting this or that about God, about the world or life, and so on ? If God made us, and our minds are His product, then it would indeed explain this, though it would not guarantee that any method of using our minds would do.
One of the poignant facts about our race (cf. pp. 620-623 infra) is the tendency to use one's wits or wisdom on such things as income tax and mathematics, but not on one's very own life, on the meaning of life, with the same unflagging rigour, or indeed, often, with much rigour or vigour at all! Pessimism and defeatism, in irrational bonds with self-assured self-assertion - affirmations and negations being thrown at God like a mice plague - compete for attention as if reason had gone out of style.
The question of one's life is often left, as already noted, to methods of thought so vague or even ridiculous, that it makes cases of suicide seem sober. Let us then consider what we could do if we follow some of the rational procedures of logic and scientific method in particular, pursuing evidence with a little rigour, and treating confusing thoughts with the logic they deserve. With 'God or not God' as the alternatives for man - the stakes are high. That is no reason why our thoughts should be below the threshold of the reasonable, in a confused vortex of passion, desire and superficiality, leading to mere fantasy and froth. If it is important, let us treat it so! (On all Methods, see p. 316B, Index - Apologetics; on Schema pp. 88-96 infra.)
"Sanctify the Lord"... "Give an answer"... "Having a good conscience..." "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." Romans 1:20.If you were asked, do you believe in God ? ... what would you say ? If 'yes', why ? If not, why not ?
There is more to it than that. The Bible itself tells us that the devil believes - that there is... God. But there is not less than this stark issue at the outset. And when we seek an answer to that why question, we will have much more to consider.
If God there is, ...says the sceptic,why believe He has any revelation ? and if says the doubter, there is a revelation, why believe that of Jesus Christ is the only valid one ? or that it is valid at all for that matter ? why, why, why... ?
A rash of feverish misconceptions will be addressed in Chapter 3, but that will be as it were, in applied apologetics (Casualty Ward). In the meantime we must proceed in our quest, patiently and precisely. In itself, as the above scripture would suggest, it is not especially difficult.
One decides to approach this by simple logic, not fearing to employ tenets in particular of that form of reasoning known in some special applications as scientific method; but which after all has been merely borrowed by science. The basis of this sort of reasoning is seen clearly in the logical language of everyday life, the language by which we agree and argue for, or disagree and argue against. It is no less than the process of seeking and allotting grounds and causes for anything at all, rather than the meretricious magic of allotting no grounds at all. It is basic to our ordinary thinking. So much irrational folly is currently propagated in this area that some may need help in an anti-defilement embarkation procedure. It is expressed in dialogue and may stir thought usefully at this stage. We will approach this over a bridge.
In this case, the resolution is this. We shall now look a little at the area, to be treated more systematically in Chapter 3 and elsewhere, as a normal part of growth and procedure, in the form of a dramatic dialogue imagined between two opposing parties on the issue. This will allow for some of the enormous, intrinsic humour which really is present in this particular, highly 'academic' wriggle of the writhing, those who know not and desire not to know God; and make for some more interest in the often tortuous efforts put up in desperation. Such efforts may be found alternating with (and sometimes consummated by) logical decrepitude, whether communally, personally or academically induced.
Though the situation between the two imaginary protagonists to be met below, is kept relatively simple, it is nevertheless deliberately provocative... of thought, and covers essential elements for those who may feel, have, or be in danger of having confusion. The devil is a great provocateur in that area, and really the property is not his. An eviction order is therefore appropriate.
B: It also reeks of the fish market, income tax returns, budgeting, murder mysteries, medical research and gardening.
A: What do you mean by that gargled gush ?
B: I mean this. If you want to garden: you seek the cause of what is wrong and what is right; so that you may better understand what you are doing, and refine it, or adopt it when circumstances change; and stop it when it is detrimental to your purpose.
You check out tax deductions on the basis of principles and particulars, and seeking categories for your spending, and estimating it in the most accurate way - seeing why your tax is what it is, and what it is, how it might be more aptly estimated and so on. You reason, analyse, consider, construe, have concepts, seek evidence, seek to fit facts into cases and to find cases for facts.
You... in short... reason. In budgeting, you similarly analyse what you are doing, why results follow as they do, how they might be re-directed, the means to do this; and then you may seek to check the means and even to test them, to see if in practice they perform as in theory you had hoped. It applies in murder mysteries as you gain and check facts, and then consider possibilities, and then refine theories, and then check them and so on... You use reason.
A: After that speech, I shall drop my claim that you are being horrendously academic. However, I have another objection. Your stress on method and reason annoys me. lt makes me feel strait-jacketed and crimped, cramped, artificial and unreal. I am a person, and an individual, and I have my own sorts of experience. How can you streamline all the thoughts of so many so very different individuals, into the same - if you will excuse the term - rut of rationality ? I want mental living room.
B: Thank you for being so reasonable! I am glad you spare me a little more now. However, the pressure I see is still on me to answer your new personalistic challenge. First let me make a point. I want to stress that in this discussion you - forgive me - are reasoning. Did you notice that ? you are bringing up concepts; you are making theoretical - and none the less so because personal - objections. You are really demanding that I consider your case, and the data in terms of my case for reasoning. You are doing exactly what I have been claiming. You are using these very methods, while arguing against them. Is there not something rather flattering to my case, in this ? Whoever heard of a nation boasting the superiority of its own weaponry, or the inferiority of its opponent's, when it is in fact using the very same weapons itself ? How then can you challenge me about the need for, and centrality or at least great significance of reasoning, when as you do so, you use it ?
Let us suppose for example that you floored me. What would that show ? Merely that you had made better use of reasoning than I. This would merely confirm our mutual dedication to reasonableness. And that is what I am claiming at the methodological level. So that if you defeat me by these means, you have to acknowledge my victory; for your method is mine; and its success is the success of my method; not yours. Therefore you confirm my claim about method, if you subdue me. If however, in this sort of discussion, I subdue you, then it is another tribute to the propriety of my method, forI acknowledge that I use it. The more matters are refined, the more certain it is so.
A: You treat your reasoning almost like God. That disgusts me. Anyway, we still have to come back to what you call my personalistic reaction.
B: All in order. By the way, thank you for reminding me of order. That is part of the reasoning process which I am insisting on. It is not my thinking; it is the method of thinking which - we might as well be frank - we are both using all the time, which is in view. Our devotion to it is remarkable, obvious and constant. No, I am not treating it to divine honours. I am merely noting that God has made us so that communication and controversy have no other way of proceeding, than through the use of reason.
There is of course, far more to it than that; there is no less to it however. That is why it is really simply an error on your part, to refer to 'divine' honour being accorded it. It is simply that divergence and difference, and consideration of the same, involves description of what we are talking about (so that we know what we are talking about - always an advantage, don't you think ?)... lt also involves the ordering and organisation of concepts - for without these, what we talk about remains uncommunicated and insusceptible to communication. We might utter 'wuff wuff' sounds; or 'ugh wamph' sounds; but while these might occasion existential highs, they will not occasion understanding in the other party, so that what it is all about may be considered together.
Irrationality, in short, is not the only sin and folly; but it is not conducive to conversation, communication and the progress of thought; it does not settle an issue or even admit of its being put. It is simply a matter, really, here of contradiction in terms. If you want to discuss and understand something, or someone, you have to do so in terms susceptible to understanding; or your effort will simply fail for lack of necessary ingredients.
A: When will you stop following my brilliant red herrings and come back to the point at issue! We are now, in any sort of order, faced with the next logical item. That is your impersonal logic, and my insistence on some sort of individuality.
B: Excuse me. How well you use my method. How rightly you constantly insist that we use it at the highest level, taking concepts in order, and considering them with acumen, and noting in our controversy the relevant items, in such a way as to be able to compare and contrast and comprehend the concepts in view. You really pay tribute to the due use of reason. Indeed, you seem so insistent, that I wonder if you would not rather change sides and argue my case for me.
You do seem to show talent in the use of reason. It is so strange that you use that talent to argue against it. After all, if reason is wrong, you will never show this by resting your case upon it. All that you may show, will depend on the validity, the soundness of what you use... and you are using reason, you know. You pay homage constantly. If you disagree with it, might I submit, suggest... that you use the means you do agree with. Use what is sound, I beg you. It really hurts my sense of order to see you using reason (invalid, you say) to show that it isn't sound; and acting on the basis of its soundness in order to show that it is, by certain implication, unsound. I don't want to harp on this... it's just that you seem to think that it is worth your while to base your case (dare I say it ?) on the exercise of something you view as having no case. If reason is unsound, you will never be able to - (what shall I say, what can I say, what is permissible ?) prove, show, demonstrate anything at all on the basis of reason.
A: Look here, I am growing weary of all this. It is precisely this sort of hounding and harassing that makes me so sick of reason.
B: Your feelings will not alter the validity or otherwise of reason.
A: All right, I acknowledge I am inconsistent and sound irrational.
B: Oh that is all right. After all, that is apparently what you are after. It was just strange, that at the same time you seemed to wish to use reason and start proving things.
I have no logical objection to your being irrational and inconsistent and saying so. Your saying so is consistent, anyway. It is just that you are using rational means in an effort to show me that I am irrational,1 whilst yourself rejecting the force of rationality. Yet somehow you feel the result will have some rational significance. How could it, since the means you use are - you feel - unsound. A: I would just love to destroy your beautiful consistency.
B: Bully for you. Your loves and hates are of interest to pastors and psychologists, and perhaps to you. However, even if you succeeded in showing me to be as inconsistent as an alligator without water, your success would depend on a method, not least - the reasoning which you invalidate. Hence you would have to admit the futility of any findings. Do you not note the fact that you constantly use very sound logical techniques - at least in essence - as your stay and comfort, your buttress and support ? Since you admit they are vain and useless, then you cannot get anywhere. That is why I wonder if I really need come to your personalistic point.
A: Well, suppose I did show you to be inconsistent. Wouldn't that at least force you to your knees, so that you could join me there! I would have accomplished something, wouldn't I ?
B: Ah, I see. Let us leave aside the little point that you make no headway in this direction. After all, when it comes to such proof, why should you worry, since it could not be valid ?
However, your view, your hypothetical view, would be this. Admitted that reasoning is unsound; but if I may borrow my opponent's method and show him that he can't handle it, then he will have to admit to being inconsistent, so that we will both know nothing in this area. However there is still a difficulty, even if you did manage that.
A: What is that ?
B: All the time you are showing that, you have no other means of expressing yourself in words in this controversy than those which incorporate reasoning. That is a practical testimony to your viewpoint's impotence. It cannot be right if it is inoperative; and it cannot be a challenge if it is not right. After all, what is to account for facts must work in the area of fact. And you have already told us that it is an unsound and unreliable instrument. You cannot show anything about what I may or may not do, but what you know cannot show anything. Your well directed efforts fail at the outset, are recalled at the take-off and founder at the first ascent. They have self-destruct mechanisms on them, sensitive to their first step. That being so I am not really concerned. What invalidates itself, cannot invalidate anything else.
But really, lover of irrationality, are you really trying to account for any fact ?
A: Of course I am not!
B: Then why are you arguing ?
A: Because I feel that your viewpoint is disgusting.
B: Then your feelings are duly communicated by means of concepts and ordered symbols called words. Congratulations.
A: And I will argue with you, since your view is mere folly.
B: Such a pity. If now you only said - consistently, you see: 'Look here, I'll not argue with you. That would be inconsistent and require, I admit it, the very thing I am a stating to be useless.' And then, if you only added: 'And since words involve reason and relationship in their comprehensible syntax, their meaningful togetherness - I will not use them comprehensively either -'... why then, I could go home to lunch, leaving you in a deaf mute contorted system of irrational inexpressiveness. You would be a nice sort of relegated worm or uneducated insect, whose inwardness was unknown, unknowable, incommunicable and incomprehensible, who would be able to make no contribution to any viewpoint. You would, you see, be a sort of volunteer for un-creation, and have lost the specificity of communication.
A: And what if I do that ?
B: Admirable consistency. I should congratulate you, and inquire betimes how you were getting on in the process of scrabbling, scrambling and disordering your words, ideas and sequences of thought so that they had no expressible content.
A: But if I succeeded, then I could not answer you.
B: This is the moment. You see it for yourself! If you are consistent, then you cannot answer me. Since I receive no answer, I hold the field, I control the battleground, I claim indeed the victory by default, while you have - and must - put in your withdrawal notice, by laying aside all speech of meaning, all communication of thought. Indeed, de-objectified, you become a subjectivistic substitute for actuality!
A: You know, I just don't like you.
B: Stop! You are co-ordinating the concepts of individuality, emotionality, mutuality and negativity; and what is worse, you are doing so in a propositional, orderly, organised and comprehensible way. If you keep this practice up, you will be back in the whole hideous realm of that practised and organised inter-relatability of concepts... which is reasoning.
I cannot really allow you to say more to any point, unless you simply acknowledge that you do view reasoning as valid. Otherwise, I will be toying with my time and yours. I do not need to hear anything from a man who admits in advance that nothing to the point he may utter, can be a ground for thought, a case for reason or of the order of comprehensible communication.
A: All right. Anyway, I am feeling a little depressed, and it is fun to be irrational, and it gives a delicious feeling of defiance to pretend to be reasonable about it: it is a sort of emotional holiday. Won't you play our little game - just to edify me ? Please... I believe they do it at lots of universities and take it quite seriously.
B: No. You would be better edified by being a little less playful, and seeing at once, while you are in the way, that your claim is false and your efforts implicitly acknowledge this. Admission first.
B: Well, now you are meaningfully edifiable, let's seek edification. You were, I think, talking about personalism.
A: You put it that way. I was simply claiming that personality and individuality must surely have more recognition than your uniform process of reason allows. What about that now ?
B: Well, let us see. What of the prodigious individuality of the multiplied works and theories of those, in medicine, science, crime, poetry, what you will - who explain and expound, captivate and create... and have done this sort of thing for thousands of years.
A: Admitted. This attenuates but does not remove my criticism. There is more to life than uniform method.
B: How true. Ask your heart. Ask your brain. There is more to these than their constructed channels of operation.
A: What for example ?
B: There is for example the result of their operation by that method.
A: You mean that a machine (limited) or a man (less so) can use a sound, well-planned channel of work and yet produce an extraordinary, fascinating kaleidoscope of results.
B: You could put it that way.
A: Still, I feel there must be more allowance for this vast principle of -
B: Individuality. Yes. Well, I don't know why. You do not give me any reasons, you know. However, we could say that you can put different initial ingredients into a machine with very individual results, even if its organisation is not infinitely variable. And where the order and organisation and content is superior to that of a machine, then you have this a fortiori!
A: Ah. That is nice. I know - if a man be spiritual, he can ingest spiritual things and seek order; if materialistic, he can put in - as he might see it - clay and seek understanding within that, enlightenment from its particles, and so on ?
B: Exactly. There is variety and individuality of both input and the imagination or adaptability, in bringing it into the form of a result.
A: Yet, I feel denuded...
B: That, I suggest is because you feel you are more individual than any method will ever allow. You are a person, and you want something to give scope of feeling and significance to you - which transcends the mechanical and the merely methodological. In fact, you are not really seeking either with wisdom or acumen any criticism of reasoning. You are seeking an individuality, an identity for yourself which fits the ambitions, frustrations, hopes and dreams, the intuitions and sometimes the horribly obvious reasonings about things which flit through your mind.
A: I am glad you are not a psychologist. They always raise these questions; and then leave you with the utmost reason, in a world of unreason, which they never reason about because they are not devotees of an ultimate to which they can apply. Their reasoning sits like an island in the irrational, in depths which have no bottom, in a world which has no base, in a universe which discounts them while they try to account for it.
B: Ah don't be too hard on them. At least, they quarrel so long that most of them could hardly be expected to produce clarity.
A: How could they do anything but quarrel when they seem set to seek to account with a meaningless machine for a meaningless place in a meaningless universe, in terms pregnant with meaning.
B: True their views are quite frequently as you describe. Anyway; it is not a matter of psychology any more than of logical form, to which we now come. It is simply that you feel no one, but no one provides an answer to what you deem raw material of experience. Most logical methods leave you aware of reductionism - a flat failure to be either internally consistent or alert to all the data. Most psychologists in their academic fashion schools may do the same. However, we will not be merely negative (there is a place for the negative), but rather look for what they usually miss.
A: Oh I know. There is a God and he is a person and if we do not relate to him, then we are voluntarily depersonalised to that extent, and constantly seek from our desultory animalised stables, for what by our own action we are divorced from.
B: Does all this - what you have referred to - fail your need ?
A: No. It is just that it insults my individuality to have it at such price.
B: But without such basis, it can have no significance to destroy and no destiny to lose, anyway.
A: You mean that without a personal source, personality is a mere odd resultant, so that meaning may never be found for it; that it then becomes a gust of misdirected mental wind to put meaning in it...
B: You said it.
A: All right, let us say that it is my own desire to be godlike, that will evacuate me of any meaning...
B: You said it.
A: Well I would like to see where a reasoned case gets, when it is consistent.
B: My pleasure and privilege. Read on. However we had better summarise where we are first.
The point has been made that the process of allotting grounds and causes is basic to our ordinary thinking, and not a mere academic exercise. You could call it a vital substructure to the rationality of language, containing one of the very grounds of discourse, in essential respects. We have seen that to deny this underlying principle is to deny the very ground on which you stand when you seek to deny it, because you must assume it in order even to attack it. To deny this principle, then, is to attack the very rationality of your own thinking, sabotage your assault forces, therefore leaving your intended 'victim' back in control. It is to abuse what you use. Thus successfully to assault it, would mean the death of the assault forces which you depend on, deploy and despatch against it. By the way, you're not the only inhabitant of this particular death-row... there are some other individual cells for VIP's like Kant.
A: Can't you be brief.
B: With pleasure. Wit helps brevity, and it is not always the wit of the speaker, which fails that help!! Let us say then, that you cannot reasonably give any reason for rejecting reason.
A: A little broader please.
B: Well, we need not, but we could go further. Even to communicate clearly without vagueness or ambiguity, concerning this very topic must involve discriminated and correlated concepts reasonably composed. Irrational incoherence is immeasurably inexpressive. Even ''I don't know'' commits to reason and requires its consequences.
A: Let's get down to it, then and be expressive of something for goodness' sake. I capitulate and am willing to be reasonable.
Having uncovered such varied errors and inconsistencies, whether engendered by confusion, fear, failure or frustration, we are free to proceed with the reasoning directly, of Chapter 1 (pp. 16 ff. infra).
Language and logic are closely intertwined. Our use of the one is inseparable in principle from the other; our use of either is of crucial importance for apologetics. In Part A, we put the position via an imaginary dialogue, with special emphasis on logic, and language and logic jointly. Now that this is done, let us think more on language.
Language is a special gift to man. Chomsky and Clifford Wilson amongst others, have shown areas of its creative uniqueness in kind in man. Our purpose here is not to discuss in detail the spectacular, grammatical originating powers we have in this field, as a race (some of the least advanced (*a) having highly complex grammars). It is said that twins without language, invent one (*b). Language is not for us, as a race, a simple matter of symbols which happen to operate by mere memory, for a practical point. As shown not least by the divergencies in the chimpanzee and the human child 'growing up' together (*c) situation: for man there is an inventiveness and retentiveness with words, a force and a flow, an aerial atmosphere of spiritual intimacy with personality and reality, which makes verbiage almost a direct expression of personality itself, depending on the candour and comportment of the personality in view. A writer may be 'loved' or 'hated', or achieve a sort of personally oriented hostility or an aura of amiability from his writings, with no thought of his private life. So too is it with a speaker, though the case is less obvious, because in that activity more of the 'rest' of the person is sometimes available for inspection and response, from the listener.
Personally, I find a joy that may approach a kind of ecstasy, a sense of freedom like that a pilot might feel with a fine plane in the heights over beautiful territories, soaring aloft, a feeling of brimming at times, like a full reservoir, or of rushing like a stream descending the mountains... that is peculiar to the 'sport' of expression. Indeed, there can be at times so close a correlation between expression, language, and to some extent even phrases or individual words (in their setting of words and realities to which they would relate, chiefly I think), that the ideas seem almost to come with the words, and the words with the ideas, like twins. At other times, the ideas are there, deliciously inviting one to let them explode into verbal existence or, all but tantalising, inviting and encouraging one to investigate and to discover through fuller verbal expression, their whole portent and joy.
The significance of this, when later we come to the Trinity and to Christ as being, not least, the Word of God, may be borne in mind. Biblically, it is the more fascinating, in that we are scripturally designated as made in the image of God, a point to which we shall later be giving our attention.
My purpose is then, not at all, autobiographical: it is to use my own experience as speaker, writer, preacher, producer of long academic theses and poetry, to illustrate what appears from many other sources. Because I know it personally, I can say it with confidence. Because of what I have seen when dealing as a magazine Editor with students, as an English teacher with young writers, and especially as a resource stimulus with advanced older students, who are encouraged to write in striking or even spectacular ways, bursting with originality, I believe that my experiences are by no means egregious.
That experience is correlative in turn to the function and the person who is involved. One can react to and with language, in the arena of ideas and actualities, with love and joy, exhilaration and intensification, development of thought in a way that exhibits there is a psychic life for humans (*1) in words.
This racial response, then, this relish and realisation reminds one that Christ is The Word of God (cf. Proverbs 8:12-16 with I Corinthians 1:30, 1:24, John 1:1-14, I John 1:1-4). Now in simple declaration, now in sheer delight of discovery, now in structured thought, the message is the same. This revelation of Jesus Christ as The Word of God is especially significant as we reflect, then, on the intimacy, the essentiality, the co-operation and inter-penetration of words, expression - and speaker or writer; of words with the writer. In the beginning, says John, the word was with God and the word was God. In God's image, we might be expected to exhibit something in some ways parallel to this, though at the finite, not infinite level. This then is the case.
The scriptures (as found so often) are full of intertwining cognate thoughts, and illuminating elements in an important topic, like this. They are mutually supportive, intimately inter-expressive. Such considerations - just as the fact that we reason with ourselves, commune with ourselves, and that our spirits can and often do search our thoughts, conduct, motives and conscience - are in no small accord with the triune nature, Biblically revealed, of the One who declares He made us, as a Spirit, in His image: these things consistently found, constitute one of the grounds for the extraordinary use made of the Bible over millenia. They also provide an exuberant addendum to the verification which we find in the Bible per se, of its status: it is like the bloom of health in a well-trained athlete. This consideration is distinct from that of the records of attainment it may break: each is relevant; and each is an attestation; and here that attestation is as ever, of the Bible as the written word of God.
In surveying scripture relative to this speaker and spoken, sender and sent concept, and in terms of the delight of the 'sender' in the 'sent', of the 'speaker' in that 'spoken', we see various aspects of intimate co-operation, of perfect accord, of infinite unity, of rapturous combination, not without discipline, decorum on the one hand, or liberty on the other, while love entwines the two.
Scriptures such as Proverbs 8:22,30-31 show in epic grandeur the co-operation later seen in its theological formulation in I Corinthians as noted (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:9-13, 3:11, 1:23-31). Isaiah 42:1 and 48:16 show the delight in the sent one on the part of the sender, and, with 41:27, show the unique and sole efficacy of the 'sent' one in the whole world of those image-bearing but sinful men. To these, the 'sent' was given redemptive mandate, for all who would receive The Word, which He was, and so be enabled to share in the Sender, ungarbled and without compromise to His purity. You see the same delight in Matthew 3:17, John 8:55, 8:26, 28, 12, 7:29, 16-17, 6:62, 38, 8:18, 29, Micah 3:3-5. There is a sense of infinite intimacy.
Hebrews 1:1-3 is perfectly explicit on the written, spoken, sent Word correlation, and the chapter specialises in securing verbally the status of deity for the Sent Word: Isaiah 48:16 does just the same. We see God talking and then He indicates that "the Lord God, and His Spirit, has sent me." "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning... and now the Lord God... has sent me." John 17:3 shows the correlation of knowing the Father who sent and the Son who was sent (in close relationship with John 14:9) while John 8:23, 8:42, 8:55, 5:19, 5:26, 5:43-47, 7:28, 8:12, 8:18 show His deity and His intimacy and His bearing of the very name of God in His Person.
John 8: 29 and 12:49-50 are especially redolent with this infinitely close correlation between the 'sent' one and the 'sender': Christ always does those things which please His Father, and does not speak 'of Himself', but receives a 'commandment' what He shall say, whilst yet stating,"Before Abraham was, I am," (John 8:58). Similarly, He makes it clear that without the revelation from the Father, He cannot be known, and the Father likewise cannot be known without the express decision to reveal Him on the part of the lively and life-giving Son (Matthew 11:27). This is the express and definitive word: without Him therefore, none can know the Father (cf. John 14:6); while the knowledge of Him, the Word, is in the sole custody of the Speaker, whose word it is. Mutuality and reciprocity is without limit.
Thus the scriptures expound in some aspects our own experience of ourselves, as they show the relation between the Word of God and the Father; and they also make it clear that there is no short-cut or intrusion possible, for man towards God, His Word apart; and this word, through the living Word and the prophets, is written in propositions, and found in Person (John 8:16, 47, 54, 5:30, 39-40), wholly authoritative, both because God is a Person, and, especially, because of the Person He is!
Christ, as the living word, is quite incisive about the content of His speech and even the words which convey it. John 8:47 refers to the grammatical units, words, while 8:37 has the expressive capsule, thrust, communication; 5:24 designates the same, and Matthew 7:24 has 'sayings', logos in the plural. Christ flatly states: "whoever is of God hears God's words" (John 8:47, remata, the grammatical units). In every way, it is covered; Christ is not acting as a philosopher, but living as the word of the living God.
Referring to man's desire for acquiring,
storing and transmitting knowledge about himself and the world, the article
states: As language is indispensable in satisfying this desire, the linguist's
subject is, curiously, his only means of discussing it.
As an empirical datum, it is also noted that: the linguist ... can point to no language that is in any linguistic sense 'primitive' - no matter how 'primitive' the civilisation of its users may appear to us ... Nor are there discoverable any linguistic fossils of earlier speech forms that might enlighten him.
It has indeed been pointed out that some of the most primitive seeming societies may have amazingly complicated grammar and devices in their language. The record here then is one of totality and immediacy in the arrival of language; and there are no cited contrary data whatever.
These facts provide yet further verification of creation - both in themselves and in correlation with the findings we note in Ch. 2 (infra) on the complexity of genes and the barriers and limits to change - on the advent by Creation. It is interesting, incidentally to note how Aristotle felt that not only was there a purposive wisdom forming the creation, but that there was a certain fixity, there were stringent laws, concerning each type of formed thing, each having its eidos - a fixity in form which is noted by Dr Bert Thompson of the ancient scientist, in his The History of Evolutionary Thought, p. 34. Quoting from J.B. Birdsell, he summarises the view of Aristotle further:
This abstract type was unchanging, fixed, and real. Observable variations within populations he considered to be an illusion or to represent accidental or pathological deviation from the true type. In this detail as noted for many of Aristotle's amazingly accurate diagrams, his statement reflects, in its kernel, a splendid sympathy with the observable facts, not merely relative to what did happen in nature, but what did not.
Let us revert to the observations from Pulgram regarding the complexity of even the most 'primitive' languages, and their lack of linguistic 'fossils.'
He proceeds to point out that animal communication is "neither quantitatively nor, more important, structurally comparable to human language."
Thus in language, we have the division, the chasm between the advanced design and its absence, and the lack of transition - the norm that we continually find, as will be evidenced in Chapter 2 infra, both for biological cells and for 'kinds'. Linguistic, cytological, morphological: it is all the same in this - there is fluidity of function, with equipment, the work of intelligence, and there is both completeness and firmness in keeping to well-developed form. If you like, it is as if tertiary classes begin in grade 1 - a verification in this, that life did not 'learn' but was created from the mind of God. (Cf. pp. 87, 108-109, 121-122, 154, 252A-J, 309-313 infra, and Index for 'Cambrian', intelligence, design.)
What you find is what you would then expect. This sort of intensive, cohesive, continual and virtually routine verification sits like a crown on the head of creation, viewed as by scientific method (q.v.).
The intense creativity characteristic of human speech and language has been featured as a concept by Chomsky, perhaps this century's most famous linguist, in his transformational approach to language. In this, he stresses that whatever may be the importance of structure, it is not the crucial consideration in language. It is rather the freedom with which man may vary and create speech forms for his purposes whilst conserving comprehensibility. Consciously or unconsciously or both, man appears to bear within patterns, pattern-predisposers or penchants, by which he can, as on a dance floor if you will, execute creative movements. As with the capacities of babies to learn to walk, evidently programmed not into compulsion but into that astonishing combination of provision on the one hand and effort to individualise performance on the other: so with speech. You find capacities without compulsion, and function without frustration point to an operable gift intertwined with personality.
What is it ? At the functional level, of what is it composed ? Is it internalised grammar? Not exactly. An internalised sense of semantics ? Apparently. But what is the precise mix and character of the ingredients by which man can create and vary language, from race to race, with such enormous complexity and tremendous power ? and how does this relate to the record of language as never 'primitive' in the sense of systematically correlated with primitive seeming societies, less advanced cultural exhibits? and indeed, with human facility in breaching the potential barriers of different languages, with similar minds and mentality, equipped both with gifts of symbolic manipulation and empathetic intuition for meaning ?
It may well be that, just as micro-biology is unravelling the remarkable and intensely brilliant programs which exist physically in our cells, with mathematical and administrative genius level work apparent - indeed surpassing quality is exhibited - there is also a less visible format which relates to language. This is one which would enable the operation of this facility and versatility in man at the practical level, so that he may create even where he does not necessarily understand, and forge novelty in language, even where he does not necessarily precede it by a rigorous analysis of language.
A measure of program, or indeed of something more advanced and akin to life more directly, is what Chomsky appears to have been seeking for, as to the essence of the need relative to the evidence, when it is not repressed, suppressed or squandered. The very terms for his aspect of the work - transformative or generative - are signals: things are either 'produced' or 'transformed' by a deft dynamic, operative within the mind of man, in the field of language.
Certainly, the linguistic brilliance of man, even where his mind is not by any means at the level of total analysis of language, is a datum of enormous importance. Indeed, the very effort to specify what - Samson-like - is the source of its power - is forcing even the secularist to the domain of enterprises of expression which are basically functions of the very spirit of man.
The spirit of man ? this... aspirant, reflexively aware and articulate, is able to achieve coherence in word and thought, as we shall see (Chapter 3, infra), only in the presence of the self-revealing and self-declarative God. After all, if the 'meaningless' is to declare itself so, then it must have access to meaning with which to make an objective declaration of this kind; but to do that, is to require the existence and communication of the source, who enables such feats of objectivity.
And who is the unconditioned, the unlimited,
the basis of knowledge, as distinct from experience within subjective and
contained parameters ? It is God. Now if God is in view, and declares,
then what He declares is His meaning. Only in God,
man consistently declare anything concerning the absolute truth. Efforts
without this are mere mirages of seductive attraction,
self-contradictory, assertive, and examples of Paul's excellent dictum:
Measuring themselves by themselves, they are not wise.
b. Dr Allen Hall, in an article, 'On the Origin of Language', Part 1, October I979, in the magazine, Ex Nihilo, p. 31, notes that particular Report. Language ?
Imaginary monkeys at type-writers would - says the New Scientist article (p. 39, November. l, I984) - take a million million years, with a million million of them at it, to produce the term 'William Shakespeare' with 50 keys. Even that however omits the point that they have to recognise it when they have it. They are assumed to have the typewriters and the system of type, together with the thought and the perception involved, before they try, so that they may so much as proceed with the matter.
The point may be expressed in this way. It could take an incandescent earth-size sphere 5,000 million million years to exude from its prodigious heat the necessary energy for electron-small movements (to make it easier for them! instead of using the less sophisticated typewriters such as we have...), enabling them to gain these two words, William Shakespeare. (Cf. p. 134 infra.)
This estimate merely illustrates the point that intelligence and imagination and thought and understanding, perception and discernment, all these - in short, vocal skill, verbal knowledge: they are necessary preliminaries for actual procedures that practically... work. And practically, it did work!
It is a gift, this ability. The twins
in the noted Report had it. We all have it. It is a repository for words,
an exponent of words; and neither the words themselves nor the gift
are available, for pre-symbolic functionality in illiterate minds.
What we have here are dimensions, not details.
Where monkeys equipped with fantastic fast equipment would fare but ill to find the words, unsophisticated and unknowing, on the one hand, yet on the other, human babes have exuberant speechifying and may invent a language... if they do not have one to imitate! If they are equipped with a model, then they move with growing skill, the children, into the interstices. They fill it up, and develop with natural accommodation.
What do they use ? It is this vehicle, this verbal vehicle of understanding. Just how much is involved in some of these 'simple' things, which custom may make seem trifling, is shown not only by the incapacity of other creatures, at the organic level to do such things; but at the electronic level by the extreme and extraordinary difficulty in making programs to cover mere peripheral aspects of this speech, and that by rule and order.
In babes, as they grow, understanding itself is provided, acting in conjunction with this growth. Such symbolic activities are a work of a symbolically oriented mind, where abstraction is a natural correlate of discursive thought, one freed from the slavery to the external world (cf. Planck's special case, pp. 399-400 infra)... yet able to work with it.
Words, in short, are a major expressive
mode of spirit which itself can both imagine outside its system and will
against its system; indeed it can deny its system... while using it! Now
that is a system! Try to create it! The politicians have failed
to make any leeway at this level, as much as the electronic
It is marvellous what can be done; but facility of creative imagination,
correlative to abstraction and words - is what man has. This is his gift
with which he can create; but what can he not create? it is the
This disarticulation with matter involves a divergent system, one with its own specifics, just as does mind in itself, quite apart from will and spirit.
These three systems, each with
correlation, none with homogeneity of kind, are such that when one is considering
then logic and thought are themselves
systematically involved in the total implications. These are intimate,
while will on the more personal side, and material, on the
programmed side, move in their respectively cognitively related, and non-cognitive
domains. The spirit of man is well-equipped with mind, and able intelligently
to utilise a substantially pre-programmed body, with liberal liberty.
A complex of creation with correlation, it is itself creative. Its creative liberties in association with certain physically programmed parameters, brilliantly correlated like a car with a driver, vigorously verify the Biblical teaching that man was formed from matter and provided with a spirit correlative with, but dependent on God.
c. Dr Clifford Wilson,
formally of the psycholinguistics department of Monash University, Melbourne,
puts the differences with great precision in columns of contrasting criteria;
and he describes in detail the wide divergencies of ability. He uses the
point that this gulf between man's verbal symbolic facility, and the mere
sign-association capacities of the chimpanzees, found in their experiments,
is not so surprising. It is a gift to man as is the navigational equipment
to bat or bird. We do not expect to donate this, their gift to ourselves.
The monkeys simply lack our abstract-symbolic, verbally creative, time
analytical abilities in language. (See also pp.
140-145 ff., infra, where different phases of automated, semi-automated
and more liberal creative works are considered.)
The article of Wilson: Psycholinguistics Point to Creation, is found in the EPM Gazette, November I977 and February I978. See also *b supra (EN#). (See also his work when Senior Lecturer at Monash University - Psycholinguistics: Monkeys Will Never Talk . . . Or Will They?)
Page 16 continued in the next section
1. C.S. Lewis in De Futilitate (an
essay appearing in Christian Reflections ) p. 61 observes aptly:
In other words, we are asking 'Is the thought that no thoughts are true, itself true?' If we answer Yes, we contradict ourselves. For if all thoughts are untrue, then this thought is untrue.
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