After a few days of reflection regarding the 1o myths of communication, here are some of my conclusions.
Language is a vehicle for the transfer of information and meaning, but it does not act alone, hence the term “non-verbal” communication. This present sentence, which you are currently reading, is actually the third draft of this sentence because carefully chosen words are essential for meaning to be conveyed.
Let me propose a few Communication Truths that I think are relevant to the discussion.
10. We are accountable for our words.
Since from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, our words indicate our hearts. Sinful hearts produce sinful words, and God will hold us accountable for the things we say.
9. God speaks.
“And God said, ‘let there be light.'” God created by speaking. He is a God of language and words. Jesus Christ is not only the son of God, he is called the “Word.” In Hebrews, Jesus is the final and fullest revelation of God. God speaks in words, the final Word is Jesus Christ (Gen 1, John 1, Hebrews 1).
8. God invented language and it is good.
Since God is a speaking God, and since he initiated creation by speaking, he therefore is the inventor of language and language, like all of God’s creation, was created “good.” Language, is used by humans as social contract (see my earlier post). But God stands behind language as its originator. Language did not evolve on its own, but it is a gracious gift of God. But as given by God, it does undergo evolutionary changes, from which our social contracts of words appear. Over time, the meanings of words will change, which is evidenced by the etymological approach in the Oxford English Dictionary. This dictionary gives not only current definitions of words, but the linguistic origins of words. For example, I looked up the word, “example.” This word is from a middle English word which is from an old French word, “essample” which is from the latin “exemplum,” which is from “eximere,” which means “to take out.” So, language evolves over time and languages borrow from each other. The word “surfar” is Spanish for “to surf,” but is actually an adapted English word.
The point in all this is to show that languags may change and evolve, but like humanity itself, it originated in God, was created good and for his glory, and is one of the primary means of his communicative activity with us.
7. Miscommunications are a result of the Fall.
The effects of the Fall, as they play out in the book of Genesis, come to a climax in Chapter 11 at the tower of Babel. Here we see how deep the fall runs: even our God given ability to communicate with each other is corrupted as God confuses language to prevent a highly organized rebellion.
6. Confusion of language is a further result of the Fall.
As the effects of Babel have played out in human history since that time, we have seen a basic problem of the inability to communicate with one another. If a man and woman who have been married for 10 years can have major communication problems, how much worse when communicating through linguistic and cultural barriers?
The gospel, however, reverses the Tower of Babel on humanity by unifying all of mankind under the singular and final Word, Jesus Christ. More on that in my next post.