One of the things I do when I’m not writing or scaring people at shooting ranges is my studies on Representational Research.
Basically, it involves the triadic structure of the Godhead, of reality (the part you see, the part you don’t see, and the links between the two), and even of language.
We communicate information through three methods – the iconic (through the senses such as sight), by indexing or pointing, and linguistically.
Quit yawning, I’m about to get to the relevant part, the part about writing.
You see, the Bible depicts all kinds of communication, and not all of it is through words. Some of it is iconic. You learn from seeing something: The Israelites were told to pile up rocks from Jordan’s depths to commemorate the crossing of that river. And that would provoke questions, the linguistic part where the parents would explain the rocks. The same thing took place every Passover: The bitter herbs and salt water and unleavened bread teach.
I’m always amazed at the passage in Psalm 19 that says:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Look at the language words: declare, proclaim, pour forth speech, voice, words.
Here’s what I’m thinking. This psalm shows that the inanimate skies communicate. What do they communicate? About God, who He is and what He does. (Romans 1:20). And they do it in a way that supercedes English or Chinese or even the Hebrew or Greek in which the Bible was originally written.
There must be a universal grammar, we might say, for communicating the things of God. Something that can carry the message even without words, across cultures, into hearts.
How much more precisely do words carry that message!
I hear people talking all the time about trying to catch market trends in writing. Nothing wrong with that.
But the novels that end up communicating to people at a level like the resplendent night sky, in the universal language of God, with deep eternal truths that feed the souls of readers – that’s what I want to write, don’t you?