Continuing with Patrick Henry Reardon’s reflections on Psalm 12 in his book, Christ in the Psalms (see May 18), Reardon writes:
“At the beginning, before the Fall, Man was possessed of an accurate perception into reality. He was able to name the animals because he could perceive precisely what they were. His words expressed true insight…Human language then was a reflection of that divine light with which heaven and earth were full. The speech of unfallen man was but the voice of vision.”
“Human speech was already rooted in the vision of truth before it became the expression of human communication.”
“Moreover, the Fall itself, when it came, derived from that demonic disassociation of speech from truth that we call the Lie: “You will not surely die.” Eve’s acquiescence in that first lie was mankind’s original act of metaphysical rebellion.”
The language we use and the way we use language is critical, the names we give things is critical; when we adopt duckdog language (see May 7 and 18) we create ourselves and others into our own images, images that fracture, fracture again, and then fracture again; we expel truth from our minds and consciences as the thought police patrol our schools, businesses, governments, civic associations, and churches.
“Has God said that that is a duck?” “Has God said that that is a dog?” “What do you mean that God didn’t create a duckdog? Of course He did – it’s right there before your eyes.”
The question asked in many seminaries, the question introduced to many congregations, the question proclaimed within many denominations, is the question we call the Lie: “Has God said? Does Genesis mean this? Does the Gospel mean this? Can this really be? You misunderstand what God really meant.”
Why launch a frontal attack before subverting the people? But then once doubt has been introduced, once mistrust in the Word of God has been sown, then it is time for the coup de grace – then the faith of the people can be put to death. The enemy thinks he has time, time for the termites of demonic teaching to eat away at the faith and trust of the people, and it does seem that the termites have done their work – for now we see things that are not there but that we think are there – we think we see duckdogs and dogducks and any number of other strange things which the common sense of our ancestors would not have entertained for a moment.
We have turned the divine gift of speech into babel. The Word which was God and which was in the beginning with God came to show us the perfect harmony between Word and manifestation, between Word and expression (see John Chapter One) – and now we have taken His words and His life and have asked, “Did God say? Did Jesus really mean this? Did Jesus really live this? It could not have been for we know better. The record which Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John left us could not possibly be what was, so let us define ourselves and while we are at it let us define Jesus and mold him (turning Him into him) into our image and while we are at that let us make God into our image (turning God into god).”
And this is why those who still profess to follow Jesus Christ must learn to submit to the Scriptures, must learn to allow the Biblical text to mold them rather than attempt to make the text submit to them – because if we will not bow before the Lord of the Word and receive His Word as He has spoken it, then no words anywhere can mean anything and we find ourselves doing what the duckdog people do…we just use religious language when we do it. It is not enough for Christians to be well meaning, not enough for preachers to be well meaning – we must learn to obey what God in Christ has spoken and learn to allow the text to form us in Christ…we must stop the insanity of forcing the Word of God into our pragmatic and utilitarian molds and programs and entertainments and marketing.
Perhaps we should return to the picture books of toddlers: A is for apple, B is for book, C is for cat, D is for duck…it is not for duckdog…at least it didn’t used to be.