What is really happening when we talk to each other or we put something in writing? Why is it meaningful or beautiful?
The upper elementary students in our school grappled with this question as we talked about how languages work. After listing various components of language, such as sounds, letters, and phrases, one insightful student said, “Thoughts and Pictures!”. She was exactly right and actually nailed the first component. In its’ essence, language is the use of sounds and/or symbols to transfer thoughts. It is the medium we use to transfer what is in the mind of one person (an idea, truth, experience, or direction) to the mind of another person.
When God created the world, He already had a plan for the world in His mind. As He spoke, those thoughts became reality in the form of creation. His thoughts where experientially communicated through everything around us! When a mother talks to her daughter, she is transferring her thoughts to her offspring. In this experience, there are thoughts of love, wisdom, and warning in her mommy heart. She wraps these thoughts up through language and gives them as a gift to her daughter. Herein also lies the beauty and significance of language.
There is beauty in the heart of God and there is beauty in a mommy’s heart. It is not enough to craft a sentence that will just do the job. Rather, the words must come out in just the right order and with just the right ones so as to adequately communicate all that is in the heart of the speaker. God did not create a world that is black and white. He created a world in full color so as to communicate the beauty of His own heart. We speak in poetic verse to communicate the richness and beauty of the thoughts and emotions we desire to give to another, which flow from a beautiful heart.
Thus the essence of language is the communication of thoughts. The beauty of language is a reflection of the beauty of those thoughts. What amazes me is that God delights to communicate His thoughts to us through creation and the Scriptures. May we treasure up every one of them and find our hearts satisfied in our Creator.
Christ Himself the living splendour, Christ the sunlight mild and tender;
Praises to the Lamb we render… Ah, ’tis heaven at last!
Now at length the veil is rended, Now the pilgrimage is ended,
And the saints their thrones ascended… Ah, ’tis heaven at last!
– Horatius Bonar