The Language of God

May 26, 2011 | 33 comments
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I recently breezed through a short book by Herman Wouk (author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Caine Mutiny) titled The Language God Talks: On Science and Religion (Little, Brown and Co., 2010). The book has the virtues of being short, entertaining, and informative as it recounts the author’s quest to relate his deep religious and cultural attachment to Judaism to his equally firm attachment to a scientific worldview. That’s the sort of quest many people in the 21st century are engaged in at one time or another.

In the first chapter, Wouk relates an early conversation with Richard Feynman, the brilliant physicist. One of those conversations ended like this:

[Feynman] said as we were parting, “Do you know calculus?”
I admitted that I didn’t.
“You had better learn it,” he said. “It’s the language God talks.”

So is mathematics the language God talks? Feynman was a physicist, not a mathematician, so I’m guessing that, if pressed, he might have viewed the dialect spoken by God as mathematics mingled with physics. Many biologists would prefer mathematics mingled with biology and genetics. Certainly the story of evolution has taken on mythic tones that rival the cosmic story of Genesis 1 or the Big Bang. Darwin himself was certainly aware of that possibility, as seen in these oft-quoted lines from the end of the Origin of Species:

There is a grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.

In the last chapter of the book, Wouk takes a different tack, presenting a fictional last conversation with Feynman (who passed away in 1988). Generalizing a bit, Wouk presents the Talmud and the way it is studied — as a long series of debates over a wide variety of religious and ethical questions — as an alternative way of considering the deep questions of life and the universe. Here is his friendly retort to Feynman in that fictional conversation:

Verbal puzzles” sells the Talmud short. Wordplay, sure — science didn’t exist then for those first-class minds to work on — powerful minds in an ongoing game of cut-and-thrust about bedrock issues of human nature and conduct: damage law, property law, ritual law, marital law, criminal law in the terse Mosaic code. The game’s immortal. You’d find it rare fun as I do, if you had the tools, which you don’t. As I don’t have calculus …

So is poetry the language of God? Or its cousin philosophy? The passages in the Bible that Wouk cites in his discussion (Psalms, Isaiah, Job) are all in Hebrew, of course, but they are all poetry. As is so often the case, the King James Version mangles the text so that many people read the Old Testament without even realizing big chunks of it are poetry, not prose. Metaphor and simile, analogy and alliteration, wordplay and puns, all figure prominently in the Hebrew text. Like Feynman, I don’t have the tools for reading it in the original, but a good study Bible can help bridge that gap in part.

And then there is the book of Job. Mistaking the book for history rather than poetry obscures the meaning of the book, which is a general or philosophical inquiry into the existence of evil in the world, not the specific account of the good or ill fortunes of one man. For the Jewish writer Wouk, the Holocaust is the modern form of Job’s problem, and he relies on Job at the end of The Language God Talks to provide his response (better: to provide context). Here is a quote summarizing Wouk’s response, delivered through a Jewish character in one of his earlier books.

Who is it who in the end of days will force from God the answer from the storm? Who will see the false comforters rebuked, the old glory restored, and generations of happy children and grandchildren to the fourth generation? Who until then will leave the missing piece to God, and praise His Name, crying: “The Lord has given, the Lord has taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord”? Not the noble Greek of the Iliad, he is extinct. No! Nobody but the sick, plundered skeleton on the ash heap. Nobody but the beloved of God, the worm that lives a few moments and dies, the handful of dirt that justified Creation. Nobody but Job. He is the only answer, if there is one, to the adversary challenge to an Almighty God, if there is One.

So, is mathematics or poetry the language of God?

33 Responses to The Language of God

  1. mrsbrittdaniel on May 26, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    I think God is tri-lingual, with mathematics, science and poetry (including literature) as the three languages (s)he speaks.

    Not philosophy! Perhaps philosophy is the best way we humans write about God, but I’m quite sure it is NOT the way God speaks to us.

  2. WVS on May 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Dave, Feynman was almost surely correct. (grin)

  3. Kent Larsen on May 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Everyone knows that the language God speaks is Portuguese. [GRIN]

  4. Last Lemming on May 26, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Math. He leaves poetry up to the (small p) prophets.

  5. Jax on May 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    It is absolutely, undeniably, without a doubt true that it’s possible that I have no idea! Just like always!

  6. Kent Larsen on May 26, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Seriously, isn’t it most likely that the language of God is both? plus the expressions of several other natural systems (probably DNA in the case of biology)

  7. Alison Moore Smith on May 26, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Math.

    By way of full disclosure, I’m the daughter of a mathematician and the wife of an engineer.

    But this reminds me of a speech by Joseph Fielding McConkie. In his completely deadpan, monotone way, he said this:

    “I have been asked if God speaks in the language of the people listening. I say, of course. If he spoke in pure Adamic, I’d be the only one who could understand him.”

    He went on without a blink or pause. It took the audience about two more sentences to catch up and then everyone burst into laughter.

  8. ideasnstuff on May 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    One of the better-known obscure quotes of G. K. Chesterton comes to mind:

    “Man knows that there are in the soul tints more bewildering, more numberless, and more nameless than the colors of an autumn forest. . . . Yet he seriously believes that these things can every one of them, in all their tones and semitones, in all their blends and unions, be accurately represented by an arbitrary system of grunts and squeals. He believes that an ordinary civilized stockbroker can really produce out of his own inside noises which denote all the mysteries of memory and all the agonies of desire.”

    God’s language cannot be anything like our own, even our most refined and exalting poetry. One could even argue that He has no need for any kind of language that is anything like our own. Poetry, mathemtics, even the language of art, are all ways of coding the phenomena of one sphere so that they can be aprehended in another. I don’t think God needs to re-code: everything is present and one with Him. His language is what He is and what comes from Him. He is God and His Word is also God.

  9. ideasnstuff on May 26, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    From a favorite poet (Borges). The translation follows the original.

    Una brújula

    a Esther Zemborain de Torres

    Todas las cosas son palabras del
    Idioma en que Alguien o Algo, noche y día,
    Escribe esa infinita algarabía
    Que es la historia del mundo. En su tropel

    Pasan Cartago y Roma, yo, tú, él,
    Mi vida que no entiendo, esta agonía
    De ser enigma, azar, criptografía
    Y toda la discordia de Babel.

    Detrás del nombre hay lo que no se nombra;
    Hoy he sentido gravitar su sombra
    En esta aguja azul, lúcida y leve,

    Que hacia el confín de un mar tiende su empeño,
    Con algo de reloj visto en un sueño
    Y algo de ave dormida que se mueve.

    Compass

    to Esther Zemborain de Torres

    All things are words of some strange tongue, in thrall
    To Someone, Something, who both day and night
    Proceeds in endless gibberish to write
    The history of the world. In that dark scrawl

    Rome is set down, and Carthage, I, you, all
    And this my being which escapes me quite,
    My anguished life that’s cryptic, recondite,
    And garbled as the tongues of Babel’s fall.

    Beyond the name there lies what has no name;
    Today I have felt its shadow stir the aim
    Of this blue needle, light and keen, whose sweep

    Homes to the utmost of the sea its love,
    Suggestive of a watch in dreams, or of
    Some bird, perhaps, who shifts a bit in sleep.

    Translated by Richard Wilbur

  10. Raymond Takashi Swenson on May 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    The traditional, creedal definitions of God are a pasting together of two distinct sets of descriptions, one from the Bible and the itneractions of men with Jehovah in the Old Testament and with Jesus Christ in the New Testament, while the other set of descriptions is derived from Aristotelian and Neo-Platonic philosophies that were considered in the 4th Century to be state-of-the-art intellectual descriptions of ultimate reality. When materialists respond to the traditional concepts of God, they can hardly get very far by saying science contradicts the miraculous actions attributed to Jehovah and Jesus in the Bible, since the faithful say “Of course it is not scientifically explicable, it was a miracle!” The focus of the materialist attack perforce has to be on the philosophical descriptions of God, such as those in the creeds, that are deductions by human reason from human suppositions about what “perfection” “has to” mean.

    Most well educated traditional religious believers are able to deal with the attacks on the creedal concept of God primarily by pointing to the lack of understanding by materialists of the centuries of Christian philosophers who have addressed the obvious questions, such as “the problem of evil”. Materialists seem to think that believing Christians, Jews and Muslims have been too stupid for centuries to think of the common paradoxes of the problem of evil, or too dishonest or lacking in confidence to deal with the problems forthrightly. Ultimately, the attempt by materialists to turn the problem of evil and other problems into killers of belief in the exitence of God falters because believers have developed a tolerance for ambiguity and unresolved questions, a willingness to accept the exitence of “mysteries” as beyon the abilities of human reason to solve. And the strident insistence by many materialists that ALL problems are susceptible to human reason in the age of science expresses a confidence that is charming in its naivete but hardly rational at a time when cosmologists have concluded that 95% of all the matter and energy in the universe is made up of stuff that we cannot see or detect, except for its effects on gravity and the accelerating expansion of the universe. Believing that humankind can figure out all these conundrums within a few more decades of applied thought is nothing but a statement of faith, extrapolation and perhaps an induction from past experience, but it is hardly a deduction of mathematical rigor, since we simply have no idea what the boundaries of reality, its initial conditions, really are.

    Where the Latter-day Saints differ from traditional Christian, Jewish and Muslim thought about God and the Cosmos is that we reject the restrictions pronounced by human deduction as authoritative, and instead offer a revealed canon from God about WHO he is, a canon that is expanded in ways that offer very different statements from God about God, which specifically contradict many of the deductions that have been drawn by traditional religious philosophers.

    When materialists (whether scientists or otherwise) attack the traditional creedal definition of God, Latter-day Saints should not feel compelled to defend that position, since we have long since abandoned it. Since Mormons believe that we are the same species as God, the fact that we exist is considered evidence that God-in-our- species can exist as well. In the LDS view, the existence of known intelligences–men and women–implies directly that there is a greatest intelligence (a concept of mathematics that is, oddly enough, referred to in the Book of Abraham), and that this Greatest Intelligence is God. I once heard scientist Henry Eyring express this reasoning as the argument he first offered others for the existence of God. This rationale does not do anything for the traditional creedal christian, Jew or Muslim, because for them God must be Totally Other than man, not sharing any attributes save intelligence. But for those like the Mormons who embrace the literal sense of Genesis’ teaching that man is in the image and likeness of God, the existence of the image implies the existence of the original. Indeed, we assert that the incarnation of Christ was the affirmation that God really is within the boundaries defining our species, since Jesus was fundamentally a human son of a human mother. If he is human and God, then God can be God and human.

    One way to view this situation is that the materialists and the traditional religious believers are hunting for God at a dark street corner, while we believe that God is at a specific address in our own neighborhood.

    While surely God speaks the language of mathematics, including calculus (and topology and modern algebra and determinants and matrices), he also speaks the language of DNA, which describes the structure and function of every operable feature of a living cell and organism. As he also speaks the language of the fundamental forces that govern matter and energy, especially including those couple dozen apparently arbitrary constants whose definition is so vital to constructinig a universe that can support stars, galaxies, planets, and life. Using those relatively few fundamental descriptors, God has been able to describe and prescribe an unfathomably large, and old, cosmos, and there are all sorts of fundamental sentences and paragraphs in all these languages of God which mankind has yet to decipher. If it were not so, there would be little point in being a scientist and discoverer of such added truths.

    “We believe that ‘God’ has yet to reveal many great and important things about the universe”–that is the fundamental motto of science, and what do you know, it is the motto of Mormons as well. Unlike the creedal subscribers among the Christians, Jews and Muslims, we affirm that our knowledge is not perfect, that God knows more than we do about God, and that we expect God will, as a matter of induction based on past experience, as well as based on specific promises, reveal new things about his creation on an ongoing basis. For Latter-day Saints, “mysteries” are by definition temporary lacuna in our knowledge, which will be solved or filled out by God on his timetable, while we exercise not only patience, but also answer the invitation from God to search out what is true, based on what we already know, and ask God to confirm it to us. We are invited to search out knowledge on “many things, of our own free will, and bring to pass much righteous” knowledge, so we will not be labeled “unworthy servants” of a God who is a great teacher of wisdom and knowledge, whose entire purpose is to raise us up in the ultimate “home school” so we can attain capacities like his.

  11. Raymond Takashi Swenson on May 26, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    To Alison: When I was going through the Language Training Mission at Church College of Hawaii (1969), learning Japanese en route to Japan, one of our evening religious studies instructors told us about teaching a Book of Mormn class at BYU where he announced that he was a translated beinig, like the 3 Nephites, and explained the life of such a person, until one of the students commented, “Brother Black, I will believe you as far as you are translated correctly.”

    Contrary to Ideasnstuf, I think the Book of Mormon demonstrates God’s deep concern about the transmission and translation of certain texts, both as an artifact made by His directed editorial process, and in the specific editorial interventions made by God (including telling Nephi to create the small plates and Mormon to attach them to his abridgment, as well as the adding of Malachi 3 and 4 to the Nephite record, and the addition of a prophecy by Samuel the Lamanite into the record. While it is possible to perceive certain things directly, it is virtually impossible for any human being to think about anything without words or symbols operating in a larger context of rules and grammar and conventional semantic content.

  12. Clark on May 26, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Feynman has a rather nasty view of the talmud – especially when Jews were attempting to figure out modern technology in terms of talmudic prohibitions. There’s a anecdote about this in one of his two collections. I can’t remember which.

    Whether math is language is interesting since a popular view of mathematic foundationalism is that math is pure syntax with no content. (In opposition to Platonic views or views that reduces math to logic) Language that is useful needs to be able to denote and connote. (Probably your point about math mixed with physics)

    Interestingly there’s a long history of a search for a perfect language. While scientists joke about math being the language of God quickly one realizes that won’t work. Umberto Eco has a fantastic little book called The Search for the Perfect Language that goes through this history – often in terms of trying to rediscover the perfect language of Adam. You end up with two main approaches. One tries to minimize the openness of language so that there is no ambiguity. Typically this is a language that took Aristotle’s categories of existence and expanded it into a language such that there was always a 1:1 relationship between word and object. No confusion. (Since the Tower of Babel introduced confusion and ambiguity) However on the other hand there was a tradition (especially with the Kabbalists and Hermeticists) that a perfect language had to be perfectly open. Thus there was a tradition that within the Torah all knowledge was found if you looked at it right. (Mainly very odd ways of reading texts)

    It’s always interesting to me from a Mormon perspective since we have a tradition that there was an actual historic Adam and presumably an actual historic language both in the garden and after the fall. What was that language like?

  13. Jacob M on May 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I remember hearing that Adamic language was like the Kabbalist and Hermeticists view, that it is the most open, therefore it had the shortest sentence structure of any language. Don’t ask me the logic behind that.

    Also, I can’t tell you how many times I heard that Deseret is an Adamic word.

  14. Clark on May 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Jacob, think letter of the law vs. spirit of the law. The idea is that you have a very expressive language and the spirit guides you to the appropriate meaning. The problem in this view is obvious since if you have the spirit generating meanings why do you need a language at all? And what do we call the encoding of the spirit?

  15. Ideasnstuff on May 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Of course, God knows all the languages to perfection. Not only that, He knows the meta-language in which all languages can be perfectly described – Chomsky’s ever-elusive universal grammar. The fact that our best efforts at descriptive and generative grammars of natural language always leave a “hairy mess” of exceptions and disconcerting borderline cases, serves to point out the vast gap between our grasp of language and that of God.

    I think a similar principle would apply to the languages of mathematics. The calculus was an invention of brilliance from a human standpoint and opens vast fields of understanding, but to suppose that it or any other man-made symbol-manipulation system is the means by which God discourses with His universe, seems to me plain hubris.

    Raymond’s long post in number 10 is so close to my own very Mormon view of God and His place in the cosmos, that I almost could have written it myself (but not quite as well). I hope that my previous posts didn’t imply that God has to be “totally other” or any other such creedal nonsense. I believe that His mind encompasses everything. Yes, that includes a lot of “other”, but it also includes everything that is “us”, including our humble language capabilities. In fact, since He is an eternal Man, he has all the articulatory apparatus to communicate with any one of us in our own language. But I truly believe that when He does so, He is taking a very big step down. It is part of His mercy and condescension to his children that he deals with us in our own tongues and tailors his communications to our understanding.

    I am a linguist and translator by profession, and don’t wish to imply that natural language, *at our human scale*, is not a wondrous thing, or that our mathematical languages are not among the crowning achievements of mankind. I am just very skeptical about any attempt to analogize between the workings of the mind of God, an exalted being, and our very rudimentary symbol-manipulation systems which rather vaguely, and more often than not chaotically, map onto those few hazy facets of ultimate reality that we are able to glimpse through a glass, darkly.

  16. Mark N. on May 26, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Pig-Latin. When will there be a Pig-Latin version of the BofM?

    “And-ay it-ay ame-cay oo-tay ass-pay…”

  17. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 26, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    mathematics mingled with physics

    Err, that is calculus. ;)

  18. Jeremy on May 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    I think the language of God is coincidence.

    For example, not five minutes before opening my laptop and navigating to T&S to see what was new, I closed the May issue of The Atlantic Monthly, in which I had just finished Stephen King’s short story “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive.” The story is set in September 2009, and at one point two of its main characters idly discuss an article that they have stumbled across in the New York Times, about Wouk and his (then forthcoming) book. I won’t be a spoiler, but I will say that the two characters are both accomplished poets, and poetry ends up being a pretty inadequate “language” by the end of the story. I’m still mulling the meaning over it my mind, but it seems like the story is suggesting that carnage and violence–or, perhaps more broadly, the whole, fallen world–is the language of God.

  19. jimmie c boswell on May 27, 2011 at 12:44 am

    what you see happening today, here in TheTorah. reveals how G-D speaks, to the world.

    but TheG-D WHO created and fashioned, all forms of communication. can choose the language of HIS Choice, come and speak to someone here in TheTorah.

    when HaShem G-D, first came to speak to me. the day sky fell, and HaShem spoke to me for about half an hour. and spoke to me, as the His Male Child. HE spoke to me in a mixtrue of Eevreet, and english. but mostly in english, and very little Eevreet.

    and since that first visit, has returned. returned twice more, to speak to me as TheHisSon adam.

    and HE, is not happy. with this world, refusing to be here in TheTorah. TheTorah HE has been giving, for nearly a full six days now.

  20. Cameron N on May 27, 2011 at 1:18 am

    Z – All of the above.

    Although if we’re honest, we all like to see him as the ultimate (Title with a capital letter) of our profession and/or interests. A mathematician is fond of thinking of God as THE Mathematician, I’m a designer so to me he’s THE Designer, etc. But he’s everything. He is complete–perfect.

    Tangent: I knew a Sister in my mission whose dad apparently told her that Adamic was English. Riiiight……which English? English is the most messed-up, inconsistent conglomeration of languages I can imagine, and I submit that God is not the author of such confusion.

  21. jimmie c boswell on May 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

    well Cameron N, there were, five languages Adam. in the first appearance. was fluent with. eevreet, aramaeec, latin, greek, egyptian. and there were two languages, adam was fluent with in the second appearance english and eevreet. and appeared, 1948 years after the birth of Avraham, who was born in the year 1948.

    since TheHisSon adam in the second coming of Adam, was returned to america about one year prior to the end of the wwii apocalypse. and it took till 1948 for Him to fully arrive. with the arrival of the woman chaooah april of 1948. since 1948 happens to be the year, of Avraham’s birth in the second day.

    so if you remember correctly, during the building of the tower of babel. it was G-D WHO said, let US go down and confuse them. so G-D does confuse HIS enemies. because G-D stated in TheCommandments, that HE hates those who hate HIM. and loves those who love HIM, here in TheTorah. and so G-D does confuse and bewilder those, who are the enemies of those Who Love HIM, here in TheTorah today.

  22. Jeremy on May 27, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Cameron N: if English was good ‘nuf fer Jesus in the Bible, it’s good ‘nuf fer me.

  23. jimmie c boswell on May 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    well jeremy: my name has never been jesus, in this second coming of Adam. and you book of Revelation, told you so. because TheG-D WHO only gives TheTorah for six days and a rest is not a liar.

  24. Tatiana on May 27, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    It seems like many people are missing the sense in which Feynman believed that mathematics was the language of God. He talks about it in The Character of Physical Law. There couldn’t be a question of whether the true language was mathematics or physics, because physics is mathematical at its core. Like, the laws of physics are simply equations. There are no mechanical underpinnings to existence, to physics. There is just the math.

    He gave an example of what he meant by mechanical underpinnings by telling a possible explanation of gravity which posited little bits of things pouring in from all directions, and where there is a mass, say the sun, in one direction it blocks some of the bits of things coming from that direction so the net result is that bodies tend to move together like the earth is attracted to the sun. He said that would be a mechanical explanation of gravity, but went on to say it doesn’t work for other reasons, and in fact no mechanical explanation had ever been found to work for any of the laws of physics, and we were left simply with equations, with math, describing how things behave.

    In addition to that, the famous equation e = mc^2 really just means e = m if you get the units right. So mass is energy, as everyone knows, and matter isn’t really solid at all. In fact, it’s mostly empty space. At the heart of the solidity of rocks and things, is actually electric fields. When you slam your palm down on a tabletop, what you feel there opposing the motion of your hand is only electric fields, the electrons of the molecules of your hand being repelled by the electrons in the molecules of the table. Reality is that particles are only just sort of knots in the fields. Fields, of course, are just numbers in space. When you untie the knots you see that they’re only energy, and there is no solidity to them.

    So Feynman was saying that all of physics is mathematical in its very nature. The universe which is definitely here is also a sort of abstraction, being all numbers and relations of numbers and equations and therefore existence is written in the language of mathematics. So God (in whom he didn’t believe) speaks that as his native tongue.

    The universe is also a quantum computer, in another way of thinking, and our history in spacetime is sort of a simulation running on God’s computer.

  25. Jeremy on May 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    In other words, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was RIGHT.

  26. Bob on May 27, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    @ Tatiana: “matter isn’t really solid at all. In fact, it’s mostly empty space”.
    But what is the ‘thing’ that is not just ‘empty space”? Is it a solid matter?

  27. Ziff on May 27, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Love your comment, Tatiana!

  28. Tatiana on May 30, 2011 at 3:22 am

    26 Bob, the thing you feel is forces. When you study more deeply to try and pinpoint what this solidity is that you’re feeling, you find forces, in particular electromagnetism (in our everyday world).

  29. Tatiana on May 30, 2011 at 3:59 am

    And the part of particles that isn’t empty space is energy. Matter is energy. So, though it all really does exist, it’s rather abstract. Also, when you try to locate a particle in space, you find out as you get closer that it isn’t actually in a particular spot, rather, it has an amplitude (a vector which, when squared, gives the probability) of finding it one place or another, and its behavior depends on the superposition (vector sum) of the amplitudes of all the possible places it might be. The swarm of so-called virtual particles around any particle is important for correctly calculating its properties. So it’s not in any given place, and it’s not even singular, and you can’t look away then look back and find the same particle, because it has an amplitude to be a different particle which has to be taken into account. In very many ways, our macro world of absolute space and time and object permanence is an illusion, an approximation of reality.

  30. Clark on May 30, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Tatiana (24) it’s important to remember Feynman was an instrumentalist. So to him all that matter was what one could measure and calculate. The very question of whether existence is a simulation or the problem of reference just would have seemed to him a silly question only worthy of philosophers who ought be ridiculed whenever possible. (And of course philosophy got its revenge when his kid became a philosopher although later moved on to computer projects)

  31. Justin on May 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    The priesthood is the language of God.

    As a language, priesthood is a combination of the spoken word and a gesture language.

    Although the priesthood is a language that only God speaks, He allows others to obtain the right to speak it. Because the priesthood is a language specific to God alone, when those with this right speak it with all the necessary components, it is as if God Himself is the speaker and the very powers of heaven yield to the pronouncement.

  32. Jay Tittman on June 21, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Some years back a devoutly Catholic Polish nuclear-physicist colleague of mine was dying of bone cancer. I wrote to Jan that although I did not believe in an interventionist God I would say a misheberach (Hebrew prayer for the sick) for him next time I was in the synagogue. (Who knows, maybe Pascal won!)

    Jan was an old, personal friend of Pope John Paul (camping and kayaking buddies from the good old days in Krakow). In his letters during the Communist, letters-opened-in-the-mail era in Poland Jan always avoided using the word “Pope”, referring to him as his “friend in Rome”.

    In his last letter he told me not to be concerned “because my friend in Rome assures me that God speaks Hebrew, as well as Latin!”

    We now have it direct from the Pope himself!

    9

  33. jimmie c boswell on June 21, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    out of all the signs, G-D has given. none of them included, a sine or cosine. and i have never known G-D, to speak in trigonometry to me. even though all, languages and forms of communication. are all a result, of TheHIS Saying.