God’s Word is God Himself

There is a sense in which God’s word is God himself. I don’t mean the Bible, though that is most certainly God’s word. I mean something more literal—that the words of God are God. Most obviously, the second person of the Trinity is designated as the Word (See John 1). No doubt, this title is telling us much about the nature of God. But what I want to point out in this entry has to do with the whole of the Trinity and not only the Second Person.

From the beginning God has communicated with himself among the three members of the Trinity. Communication in some ways defines one aspect of God’s being. Jonathan Edwards wrote “The great and universal end of God’s creating the world was to communicate himself. God is a communicative being.”[1] And John Frame writes: “We can say, then, that God’s eternal inter-Trinitarian speech is a necessary divine attribute, an attribute without which God would not be God. As such, speech, like all other necessary attributes, designates the essence of God, what God really and truly is. Ultimately, God’s word is God, and God is his word.”[2]

So God’s desire to communicate himself or to display himself is a fundamental part of what it means for God to be God. In creation, we see this phenomenon imprinted on everything—even on us. And, as humans we would say that speech is a part of what defines us as humans and sets us apart from the beasts. God made us in his image. Speech was one of God’s communicable attributes that he deemed necessary and good to bestow upon humanity. This gift further illustrates his desire to communicate himself. For humans not only communicate God in their raw attributes, but they literally communicate God to the world by being the holders and sharers of the gospel message. So speech doubly illustrates God’s communicative desires. First in our raw speech, and secondly in God’s ordaining his truth to be conveyed most supremely through words. It is quite profound to realize that God did not just appear to men and provoke saving change through glorious manifestations of his power and beauty. No, he spoke. He spoke over thousands of years through prophets, then through his Son. And now, we are to go and speak those very words. Salvation comes by way of word! (Rom. 10:14-15; 1 Cor. 1:21).

And think about the nature of our speech for a moment. It would seem quite silly if our speech did not actually communicate content but only random noise. God is a rational being that is personal and knowable. A part of God’s being knowable is his predictability and consistency. This does not mean that we may accurately know what God is going to do in any given situation, but it does mean that we may accurately estimate what God’s purposes are, that is, his goals, desires, and character, etc. If God were not predictable or consistent in any way, he would not be rational and he would not be personal. We could not know anything about Him because two minutes from now he might change and be something else. The fact is, everything in our world is on some level consistent and predictable because it has God’s imprint and He, its maker, it consistent and predictable. Consistence and predictableness is one of the fundamental building blocks of knowledge. Without them we couldn’t know anything. The sciences are built upon the belief that the physical world will have essentially the same properties and behavioral patterns tomorrow as it does today. This is one of the marks God has left upon the physical world. As Vern S. Poythress has pointed out, the very nature of scientific “law” itself points to the divine attributes.[3] So the words of God which created all things have their wavelength, so to speak, woven throughout the created order. When we are moved to awe and worship over the creation, we are, at least indirectly, worshiping the words of God.

Another interesting point is that the Bible ordains the worship of the words of God. This is significant when one recognizes that the Bible forbids the worship of anything but God. The natural conclusion: God’s words are God himself. John Frame writes:

“The psalmists view the words of God with religious reverence and awe, attitudes appropriate only to an encounter with God himself. The psalmist trembles with godly fear (Ps. 119:120; cf. Isa. 66:5), stands in awe of God’s words (Ps. 119:161), and rejoices in them (v. 162). He lifts his hands to God’s commandments (v. 48). He exalts and praises not only God himself, but also his “name” (Pss. 9:2; 34:3; 68:4). He gives thanks to God’s name (Ps. 138:2). He praises God’s word in Psalm 56:4, 10. This is extraordinary since Scripture uniformly considers it idolatrous to worship anything other than God. But to praise or fear God’s word is not idolatrous. To praise God’s words is to praise God himself.”[4] 

________________

[1] Edwards, Misc. 332, 13.411.

[2] John M. Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God.  A Theology of Lordship (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2010), 48.

[3]See Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Science: A God-Centered Approach (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 17-31. 

[4] Frame, The Doctrine of the Word of God, 67.

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