I can go into my website’s statistics page and see the words people typed into search bars to find that website, and then use those words to make it easier for people to find that site. Recently I checked my stats page and found a person had used (I think) the search bar to try to communicate with me. She had continued her abbreviated thought as she clicked on my website four separate times, and thus each time she had registered another piece of her thought onto my statistics page. Because of a young person named Grace, this blog was born.
Every healthy person needs and desires to be heard. The God who created us by speaking, gave us a mouth by which to speak, hands by which to write and gesture, a mind by which to understand symbolism, patterns and language, and a desire to communicate with other beings.
In Sacred Scripture, the Letter of James tells us in chapter 2, verse 26, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.” To this day, God backs up His words with His works. He keeps His promises to each and all of us, and history plays out in our favor because of that; thus He is still called Faithful and True.
Imagine God with no works -what would be left? There would be no universe, no stars, no humans. But He made all those things -but for what purpose? We cannot see God, but we can see what God has made. For example, He created physical light, and we humans can see that light. That gives us a shared experience with God. Through sharing the seen physical world, He uses the language of Sacred Scripture to show us His unseen, transcendent realm.
For instance, in Sacred Scripture we first understand the word ‘light’ as a reference to seen, physical light. Then later in Sacred Scripture the word ‘light’ is used to refer to the light from a lamp that illuminates our path, and later yet the word is used by the Lord God, Jesus Christ, as He describes His transcendent self, “I am the light of the world.” By using the transcendent meanings He gives to specific words (keywords), He shows us His unseen transcendent realm. Those specific words to which He gives transcendent reference, and the pattern He uses to reveal the transcendent reference from out of the initial physical reference, are collectively what I refer to as “The Common Language of God.”
The Common Language of God is a type of a linguistic meta-language. In simplest terms, a meta-language is a language that uses its own language (its own self) to describe itself. His revealing of His Common Language occurred in, what is to us, three steps. His first step occurred when He initially created the physical elements by either directly speaking them into existence (Gen. chapters 1-2, an example is the element of light), or indirectly creating them through a person He has spoken into existence (An example would be Adam, who He spoke into existence, and then Eve was created through Adam. Therefore, all creation, including all people, either directly or indirectly, is spoken into existence by God, the Word; Gen. 2:7, 18-23. For reference to the Word, please see John 1:1-18).
And then in the second step God, Himself, either directly references each element by a noun which he speaks onto it as its name (For example, His naming of the elements in Genesis chapter 1. And, for an example of another type, His naming Abram “Abraham” in Genesis 17:5, see also Revelation 21:27), or He indirectly names an element by allowing a person to name that element (An example would be the naming by Adam of the creatures, and of “woman” and “Eve” in Genesis chapter 2:19-20 & 23, and 3:20. And, for an example of another type, His naming of Jesus in Matthew 1:17-21).
And then, in the third step, after creating His elements by speaking them into existence, either directly or indirectly as in step one above, and then naming His elements by speaking each element’s noun reference onto it (either directly or indirectly, as in step two above), over time God then reveals a language pattern in His use of those nouns/names (keywords). He reveals that pattern to us nowadays through the compiled writings of the 73 “book” Roman Catholic Holy Bible. And through those keywords and the language pattern of those keywords in Sacred Scripture, God reveals the word of God, who is living and active, to be performing at least three separate processes.
Through the first process He reveals a transcendent reference to those same keywords, i.e., the physical “light” we see in Genesis 1:3-5, that no man has seen, later refers to the glory of God in the face of Christ, which is the transcendent light in which He dwells, in which His followers will also dwell after they are glorified. It is through the process of acting on our progressive understanding of these keywords that we grow to become more like Christ.
In the second process He allows His words to be used as a mirror, so that we can clearly see our mortal person and fallen human nature in contrast to Christ’s perfectly holy and just eternal person, and His divine and loving nature. Through that second process, combined with the growth in our spiritual natures from the first process, we are enabled to initially, and then increasingly, identify ourselves in Him.
In the third process He expresses Himself to the reader/listener so that He may be seen/heard and the reader/listener may then be initially and increasingly wooed to Him and saved.
Try this. Hold a pen with the hand you normally write with, then draw a perfect circle with that pen on the palm of that same hand without any help, including any help from your other hand. Trying to describe and work with a meta-language is like trying to draw a circle on your own right hand with your own right hand: when referring to any given keyword in Sacred Scripture, a person will simultaneously be referring to one or more of those preceding three separate process.
In the first process, when a person is referring to a keyword, is that person, in effect, referring to the right hand that is attempting to hold still and be drawn on (That is to say, am I referring to the keyword as it is grammatically allowing itself to take on a transcendent meaning?).
Or, in the second process, is the person referring to the same right hand that has been moved into a correct position and is holding still so that the perfect circle can be drawn on it (Or am I referring to the same keyword as it, at any given moment in time, accurately reflects back to me the contrast between God and me?).
Or, in the third process, is that person referring to the right hand as it draws itself into itself (Or am I referring to the same keyword as it woos me into the image and likeness of Him, -all people are created in God’s image and likeness, and all people saved by grace through the faith of the Church have the Spirit of God living in them. God is the eternal beginning and end, like a circle- the life-saving light of the loving Jesus Christ?).
Because He uses the exact same words to create and reveal His meta-language, and then through that language to reveal Himself, Himself in us and us in Him, and to woo people closer and closer to Him, His meta-language can be difficult to perceive, as well as to learn and to illustrate to others.
But even though learning the words and internalizing the message of Sacred Scripture can be difficult, God yet desires for us to persevere so that we may, through our words and works, draw His circle on the open palms of others -He desires us, His restless human hands, to become His pens.
But the bottom line is this: the God who created us by speaking not only desires to be heard, but desires for us to reflect back to Him through our words and works what we have understood about what we have heard Him say. Because of God’s linguistic meta-language, when we (who have been saved by grace through the faith of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church) consume Sacred Scripture, we are enabled to not only perceive God speaking and acting on our behalf as the light of Jesus Christ, but we are also empowered to act on our understanding of how to speak and act on His behalf as His light in the world. But regardless of our understanding or actions, His perseverance in loving us is faithful and true -that’s grace.
Originally posted 11/12/2014
Edited for clarification 1/15/2015.