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A Way with Words


Genesis 11:7-8

“Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.”


Where did language come from? This question is easy to answer from a biblical worldview. God created Adam and Eve with the ability to communicate. He gave them language and the ability to use words, even for concepts that they had not yet experienced; for example, God was able to warn them of the possibility of death, and they understood this even before death had been experienced.


Evolutionists struggle with developing a theory of language development – and all the more because there are clearly numerous language groups in the world which are not necessarily related to each other. So they have developed six possible theories.


1. The Bow-wow theory. The idea that we imitate sounds made by objects. But few of our words are used for this purpose.


2. Pooh-pooh. Words develop from sounds for surprise, pain, elation, etc. Yet, animals make similar sounds without developing language.


3. Ding-dong. Speech reflects a “mystical resonance with the world”. Even evolutionists think this unlikely.


4. Yo-he-ho. Speech developing from rhythmic chants used as people work together. If I were an evolutionist, this might show most promise, but most language is not for this purpose.


5. Ta-ta. Sounds to go with gestures, like waving goodbye. But where did the gestures come from?


6. La-la. Sounds from music or poetry. But language would seem to be necessary before such artwork.


The biblical worldview is so much more sensible. The world’s language groups did not evolve; they were the original post-Babel languages, as God forced proud humanity to scatter over the face of the Earth.


Prayer: We are struck, once again, by the simplicity, yet profundity, of explanations from Your word, O Lord. Thank You that the Bible explains even the simple things of life. Amen.


Ref: Okrent, A. (2017), 6 Early Theories about the Origin of Language, < >, accessed 11/29/2017.Image: Adobe Stock Images, licensed to author.




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