Christ is Language – Part 2

by | May 11, 2022

The difference between man and the animals is not the opposable thumb. Nor is it the extra cranial capacity. What most distinguishes the consciousness of man from the rest of the animals is that Christ is having a higher order conversation with the consciousness of man, thus elevating the consciousness of man to extraordinary levels. Some would say – to the level of the gods themselves. Indeed, conversation begets consciousness; consciousness begets conversation. We observe the same thing in lesser animals. What distinguishes the domesticated dog from the wolf, for example, is that the domesticated dog is constantly interacting in conversation with man; thus his consciousness is developed to a very high level. Indeed, many books have talking animals in them for precisely this reason.

The New Testament materials clearly assert that all man’s knowledge must be revealed by God. His epistemology cannot be autonomous on any level. And if all is revealed by the logos of God, then it is also true that the ordinary man understands the weather in the very same way that he understands prophecy: [Jesus] answered and said to them, When it is evening, you say, it will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowring. Hypocrites – you can discern the face of the sky; but to discern the signs of the times you are not able.

The New Testament materials assert that the ordinary man can understand the world around him because all of his senses have been created by God – created to hear and see and taste and touch the logic of the cosmos or the songs of the stars. Zen Buddhism claims that a “flower does not talk.” And that’s because there is nothing to say in Zen Buddhism. But this is not the language theory of the Psalmist. He claims that the world is ablaze with communication: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day to day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. And the logic that his senses reveal is more than mere order and stability. The logic that his senses reveal is beautiful.

Mathematics, music, physics – all make the same speech. However plausible a scientific theory, even if it seems to have passed the rigors of the scientific method, if it is not elegant, the scientist will immediately know that there is something wrong with it. The New Testament materials tell us that God created the ear and all the other senses, the emotions, the conscience, the memory, and the rational processes of the mind, in order to “hear” that speech. And they tell us that the logic of that speech is elegantly beautiful. Through the senses and the mind we hear and see the beauty of the cosmos – whether it be the smell of black humus or the mathematical proportions of a black hole.

The universe is beautiful because it bears the impress of inexpressible beauty. Our souls must embrace the beautiful because we are hopelessly in love with the beautiful. The New Testament does not coax us to love our own souls. They coax us to love our neighbor’s soul. We must love our own souls because they too are beautiful. They are beautiful because they bear the impress of inexpressible beauty. There is no alternative to reason and beauty. The souls of human beings cannot repudiate reason and beauty any more than the fetus can repudiate the womb. The alternative to reason and beauty is not just absurdity and ugliness. The alternative to reason and beauty is a hellish insanity of weeping and gnashing of teeth. That which is beautiful is in the eye of the beholder because it is also everywhere outside the beholder. And that beauty is Christ.