Thursday, August 27, 2015

Language Love, Part II ~ Logos

[Read Part I here.]

Language Love ~ Logos @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

In my first post in this language series, I explored the idea that language is a cosmos, an orderly and beautiful form with which we think and communicate.

Today, I would like to contemplate the word logos.

Logos is defined asreason, thought of as constituting the controlling principle of the universe and as being manifested by speech. In Christian theology it is the eternal thought or word of God, made incarnate in Jesus Christ.”

Merriam-Webster defines logos as the divine wisdom manifest in the creation, government, and redemption of the world.

Logos comes from an original Greek word meaning “a word, saying, speech, discourse, thought, proportion, ratio, reckoning.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is the incarnate Logos, the Living Word, through which all things are made.

We’re starting at the very beginning again.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

John 1:14 The Word (Logos) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word (Logos) of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.

“In Greek philosophy and theology, [Logos is] the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, ordering it and giving it form and meaning.”

Consider the Cosmos (order and ornament) of creation, which God spoke into being in Genesis 1.

Psalm 33:6 By the word (Logos) of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.

Psalm 33:9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.

Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word (Logos) of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

A.W. Tozer writes:

One of the greatest realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: ‘He spake and it was done.’ The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things.”

Language is a universal human structure, given to us by God, in whose image we are created.

Exodus 3:13-14 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

The name God gives Himself in Exodus 3, “I am,” is structured. It is a predicated noun, name and being.

The structure, the very fabric, of human language is the subject and predicate.

Andrew Kern writes:

Grammar is where God, man, the soul, thinking, knowledge, and the cosmos all come together.

Grammar is based on the link between something that exists and something that applies to something that exists. God "exists." He called Himself, "I Am." He made us, putting us in the garden to steward it. As stewards, we need to know what we are stewarding, so he made us able to know the world we live in. The world around us exists as things that act or are acted on and have properties or qualities. In other words, the world is full of subjects with predicates. To know the world around us we must think it. When we think something, we always think something about it. In other words, the mind thinks subjects and predicates. Predicate comes from the Latin and means "to say about." All thought and all existence revolve around the relation between subjects and predicates (substances and properties if you like).

On the brilliant simplicity of subjects and predicates, Michael Clay Thompson writes:

Why is grammar fun and valuable? Grammar reveals to us the beauty and power of our own minds. With only eight kinds of words and two sides (subject and predicate) of each idea, we can make the plays of Shakespeare, or the novels of Toni Morrison, or the poems of Elizabeth Bishop. No system, so gorgeously elegant, could be expected to make such a language. Through grammar we see the simple form of our binary minds; in all of our sentences, however elaborate, we are making a predicate about a subject, and this reveals the meaning of clarity. For each sentence or idea, I must know both of these two things: what you are talking about, and what you are saying about it. For each paragraph of sentences, I must know what the paragraph is about, and what you are saying about it. For each essay of paragraphs, I must know what the essay is about, and what you are saying about it. A sentence, with its two sides, is a model of the mind.

We’ll be spending more time with sentences later in this series.

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