The Word
By Winslow Parker

The English language passed the million-word mark on January 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM. Don't ask me how "They" know that precisely. Chinese has nearly 400,000 words comprised of 23,000 characters. French has as many as English. German, Finnish and Swahili have nearly an infinite number of words since they can create words on the fly composed of other words connected together. For example, the German word, Gotterdammerung (the judgment of the world) is composed of the possessive form of God and the word for damnation or judgment.

Which brings me to a seemingly silly question: How big is God's vocabulary? "Meaningless question," you say. And rightly so on one level. God surely knows all languages of earth because He made our mouths and did the original confounding of languages at the Tower of Babel.

So why the question?

I've been reading John 1 lately. John is my favorite book for a couple of reasons. First, it is a description of Jesus from one who truly loved and understood Him. He saw and understood things to which the other eleven were blind. Only the women exceeded John in their profound knowing of Jesus and His mission. Second, I struggled for two years to translate the book from Greek into English. I was the worst translator in all the history of Greek. I passed only by the grace of the instructor. But all that struggle left me with a sense of awe at the view of Christ which was John's.

The major theme of the first half of chapter one is "the Word."

A word, according to one dictionary, is "the smallest unit of language which carries meaning." I'm sure there are linguists who would raise their hands in horror at such a simplistic definition, but for now, it will suffice.

The passage speaks of The Word as a being, not just an utterance or written word and I conclude, from the context, that The Word is Jesus Christ Himself. Hebrews 1, verses 1 and 2 says: God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

While in college, I worked in a nursing home. Six men had the misfortune to have me as their caretaker. Every morning, Mr. Thompson greeted me with a smile, a nod and "la la la la la." When I tried to brush his teeth with the denture powder, He very angrily and probably with great fear, shouted, "La la la la la la la" until I got the message that the powder was for soaking, not for brushing. Mr. Thompson's one-word vocabulary resulted from a stroke to Broca's region , just above the left ear which generates speech. He was reduced to one word, but he could change his face, the sound of his voice and other aspects of his voice to convey more than just one meaning.

If I were to try to create one word by which all my thoughts, feelings and wishes could be known, it would be an impossible task. "Abinoia" does not convey any meaning, much less all the meaning necessary for clear communication. A one-word vocabulary would put humankind in a serious communication gap.

But God has spoken to us by His Son. Jesus, the Christ is His only word. He has never spoken by a more complete word and never will. All of His other communications were partial and limited. In our Lord Jesus, His One Word expresses all that is possible about Himself and all that is necessary. We may not comprehend all that is spoken in Him, nevertheless, He is the complete and unabridged Word of God to this world.

He is the one-word answer to all our questions. He is the one-word remedy for all our ills. He is the one-word solution for all our quest for meaning and all our philosophizing. He is the one word of our beginnings and our endings. He is the one-word balm for any hurt. He is the one-word peace for all our anxieties. He is the one-word treaty between all nations, all peoples, all religions and all individuals and every relationship. He is the one-word answer to mankind's destiny and ultimate disposition and everything in between.

The Word is He in whom all longings find their ultimate and only true fulfillment; He is the epitome of every legitimate desire the legitimate fulfillment of every illegitimate one. He is the Source and is the ultimate reality of all beauty, art, science and endeavor. Every relationship is bound up in Him and every human finds its only true meaning in Him.

Or, as Paul puts it, He is "All in All."

Writings at:

Return To Greater Emmanuel