Logos :: The Word

Definition

The word “logos” in Greek has an extraordinary range of meanings — the
heart of which is both “meaning” and “reckoning”. Hence, it may refer to a
“word” or a “thought” or a spoken phrase or an idea or that which conveys
something which, to the hearer, is meaningful and, thus, can move them
.

There is a annual ritual in my neighborhood.  As sure as the flowers are to bloom every spring, so also, seniors from the local high school are sure to graffiti local road signs.  Usually the message relays the fact that the “class of ‘0(insert current number) rules!!!”

However, the local furniture plant on my road closed recently due to the bad economy; therefore much more blank space on the sides of the building have been made available to would-be graffiti aficionados.  While driving home recently I noticed the annual declarations had made a turn for the vulgar.  Someone had painted a large curse word, namely the “F-word,” on the side of the closed plant.  Although I usually take time to notice the local vandalistic verbiage, this word caught my attention longer; as it probably would for most people.  Week after week I would drive by the plant, every time being irritated at the sight of the profanity.  I pondered what hoops I would have to jump through, if I were to get permission to cover it over myself.  Sure enough, someone beat me to it and painted purple boxes over the letters of the curse word.  They ignored all the other words and slogans, but they covered over the curse word.

This post is based on the idea, of why it is that lines connected into certain shapes, and sounds made with the mouth, can compel us as human beings… to anger, tenderness, hate, delight, tears, love, nostalgia, inspiration and action; even to the giving of our own lives.

The most obvious answer is that words represent ideas.  Words are not random or meaningless.  If they were, they would not have the impetus that they do.  But it is the reality that they represent, their pathos, that gives them their power.  Words are a part of language, which is the guardian to the world of meaning.  No one has within their grasp any truth or meaning apart from that which was communicated to them.  Whatever you think, feel, or know was communicated to your mind, body or spirit from outside of yourself;  whether it came from your human nature, a scholar, or a society; it was imparted to you via that instrument’s language.

Language is powerful because the human mind is instinctually compelled to interact with the transmission of ideas that is encapsulated within words.  All these ideas interact with our worldview; where we then judge them.

God’s gift to humanity of a “high form” of language is a wonder to behold.  Language, much like mathematical systems, heralds the obvious proofs of a Creator with an incomprehensible intellect and a magnanimous nature.  Although animals, which are not created in the image of God, can have linguistic ability, mankind’s communicative abilities are unrivaled among creatures because they reflect the “image of God” engine that runs in the mind of humanity; creating, destroying, loving, hating, and desiring that which transcends itself.

Language is a vehicle.  Whether it is good or evil depends upon the payload that it carries.  Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those that love it will eat its fruit.”  James 3: 9-10 says of the tongue, With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Language is in the very nature of God and therefore existed before humanity.  We see language as a part of the relationship in the Trinity.  In Genesis 1:26a it says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'”  Part of being made in the image of God, is the ability to communicate with words.  We are built to be able to communicate with God and each other, reflecting how God communicates with Himself.

The decisions we make in regards to God’s spiritual words depend on whether we are dead or alive in our spirit.  To the unregenerate man, the Word of God is the most repulsive abhorrence.  To the man who has been brought to life in his spirit, they are the bread of life.  2 Corinthians 15-16 says, “For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”

It was with the power of the Word that God created all that has been made.  In rapid fire succession we see the Scriptures testify in the book of Genesis, “And God said…”  In Hebrews 1:3 we see that “he upholds the universe by the word of his power.”  So we see from the Scriptures that God not only created the universe by the power of His Word, but He even sustains its current existence by the very same Word.

God’s creation communicates back to Him by the way of unspoken words.  Even though we all know that rocks and mountains do not have literal vocal cords, they declare by their sheer existence the splendor and glory of God.  Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.  There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”

God has always spoken to mankind.  In the garden of Eden he spoke with Adam and Eve.  After humanity’s fall into sin, he gave his Old Covenant laws.  In His law He communicated to His chosen people a proverbial mirror, showing His standard of holiness and our inability to maintain that standard.  Then, in Christ he spoke to us the Word of Life.  Hebrews 1: 1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

It is the Word of God that still brings dead things to life.  We see this in the story of the dry bones, found in Ezekiel 37: 1-10.  “The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

Throughout the Scriptures we see God bringing things from death to life, by the power of His Word.  The gospel of Mark testifies to the story of Jarius’ daughter, “Taking her by the hand he said to her, ‘Talitha cumi,’ which means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, arise.’ And immediately the girl got up and began walking…”

In John 11 we again see Jesus’ Word bring life.  “When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'”

In Acts 13:48 we see the Word of the Lord bringing life to dead souls.  “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed,” [emphasis mine].

So the gift of language that we enjoy and employ is a reflection of our linguistic Creator.  And even in our greatest uses of it, we are but boys and girls engaging in wordplay with our steam-engine slogans and caboose conversations; in comparison to the momentous power of the ultimate Word, wielded by the true Conductor that created and sustains the world in which we play.  The Scriptures say in Hebrews that the Word that he wields “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

The greatest gift ever given was the Word made manifest in human flesh.  John 1 speaks of Him when it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  At the end of His prayer for all those who would believe, in John 17, he summarized his message of reconciliation, “‘I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’”

Thanks to the Word that was sent to us, that off-key chorus of conversation that resonates our sinful world with “F-words,” slander and salacious speech; will one day tune into the perfect, melodious harmony of the hosts of heaven whom “day and night they never cease to say,

‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!'”

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Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 1:07 pm  Comments (1)