Language: Evidence for a Creator, Part 2

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, November 8, 2018 0 comments

by Steve Risner

Last week we began looking at language—what is it, how does it happen, and where did it come from? We looked at why man is unique among all living things in his ability to communicate complexly, essentially taking thoughts from his mind and imparting them into the mind of another human. We also briefly looked at the areas of the brain that are essential for language—for both sending and receiving. We hardly mentioned all the muscular actions that are necessary but, trust me, it's a lot! So how do Bible deniers explain the miracle of language?

Scientists who reject the Biblical narrative of history believe that man, once he somehow developed the right areas of the brain, went from making simple, animalistic grunts and groans to making more complex sounds to eventually making words and forming sentences and, finally, to writing things like the Bible, the Iliad, and Hamlet among other things. There are a variety of different versions of this story, but they are all fairly similar. We started making animal sounds like grunts and groans and then, over long periods of time, those sounds became very complex. Essentially, language went from less to more complex over time. Is this what we see happening today?

Ever read Shakespeare? Ever look at the “Amplified” version of the Bible? The truth is, over time language actually becomes simpler. And it's also true that there is no such thing as a “simple” or “primitive” language. Even the most “primitive” languages are highly complex—some more so than more modern languages. In fact, many “primitive” languages are absolutely amazing in their complexity. Do a little research on Native American languages or African languages. They blow English away in terms of complexity. Human children have a remarkable ability to learn language. It's just what they do naturally. No chimp or dog or bird or any animal, really, can do this. Children learn the language of their parents. The areas of the brain responsible for language are 6 times the size of those in chimps (allegedly our nearest relative). Chimps can't talk. They can learn a couple of hand gestures and nothing more but only if taught by a human being who has the gift of language. In most cases, these communications are related to basic survival skills and are extremely basic. A chimp hasn't been taught to express himself, telling us how he feels or how his day went.

There are 3 basic truths about the evolution of language: 1) colloquialisms come and go rather quickly, only sometimes remaining; 2) new words are introduced as they're needed; and 3) when cultures and languages interact over a period of time, they will alter one another.

It's hard to say exactly when a new language is born because it happens so slowly. Recall that French, Spanish and Italian used to be called Latin. They were separated and changed over time. But Latin is vastly more complex than Spanish or Italian or any other language it birthed. The differences are astounding in conjugation, noun usage, gender assignments, etc. Greek is the same way. Greek has 6 words to describe the English “love.” We say love. They would say eros, philia, agape, ludus, pragma, or philautia depending on the situation. The same is true for today's “primitive” languages found in remote tribes. Their language is very complex as are ancient forms of writing. It's fairly universal as we look at just about any language that they do, in fact, get simpler over time. This stands in the face of evolutionist thinking which defies the scientific data. Suzette Haden Elgin says about language, “No known language in the whole of human history can be considered ‘primitive’ in any sense of the word” in her book What is Linguistics? She continues, “… the most ancient languages for which we have written texts—Sanskrit for example—are often far more intricate and complicated in their grammatical forms than many other contemporary languages.”

Human language is far more complex than any communication between animals. Dogs bark. This essentially doesn't mean anything to the dog beyond announcing its presence. Birds chirp or sing. Again, they're not communicating ideas or sharing experiences. They're simply making noise that alerts others to their presence or the presence of danger. That's the end of the complexity, for the most part. Some “higher” mammals may appear to have more complex language skills, but when compared to that of humans, it's like comparing the mass of a flea to the that of a blue whale—it's a completely different scale. Helmut Gipper, a linguist from Germany said,

“All assumptions that human speech developed gradually from animal grunts (the so-called woof-woof theories) or that gestures changed incrementally into audible language, cannot be sustained. Such erroneous hypotheses compare the specifics of human speech with the communication systems of animals. It can be stated emphatically that the essence of human speech is not communication. Communication exists everywhere in the animal kingdom. But human language is in the first place a knowledge medium; this encompasses an intellectual/spiritual access to the observable world. The essence of speech lies in the possibility of assigning specific meanings to articulated sounds, thereby making them mentally accessible.”

That is so profound, I hope you will read it again to get all he is saying. Human language is far more than just noises. It's a way to pass on abstract ideas, share emotions, describe specific experiences, and pass on knowledge. This exists nowhere in the animal kingdom.

Evidence suggests that human language—spoken, written, or whatever form it may take—is far too complex to have evolved from animal sounds. Evidence seems to indicate that language was installed into mankind at the beginning and slowly became less complex over time, although it is exceedingly more complex than any communication between any other species. The fact that language exists at all indicates the necessity for a Creator. The Bible tells us that God spoke to Adam, and Adam understood Him. Adam used his language skills to name all the animals in the Garden of Eden. Language, like man, was created on Day 6.

Next time, we'll look at the languages of the world—there are many. There are some 6000 spoken languages today! There are even organizations whose purpose is to come up with new words, primarily to keep up with technology. That's strange, really, but also amazing! How does this fit with the Biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel? Quite well, but we'll save that for later. Thanks again for reading.

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