Speak Kind Words to Yourself
Remember when I told you I wasn’t going to throw bible scriptures at you in this book? I lied. But I lied just this one time. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” I’m not necessarily a Christian, but this is a fascinating image.
At the start of time, language existed, which implies that God lives within the language we would evolve to use and is inseparable from the power of the divine. I could end this chapter right here because I just laced you with the central idea. But I’ll elaborate. What is language? John 1:1 is a gorgeous sentence, a simple phrase loaded with nuance, so imagine what it could suggest for a second regardless of your religious inclination.
We know that John 1:1 isn’t objectively true from a scientific viewpoint. Right? We know that words didn’t technically exist before everything else, especially without human beings alive to speak them. In the beginning, there were probably trees, some water, rocks, a couple of animals and insects, and a handful of single-celled organisms.
But when we peel apart what our biblical ancestors meant metaphorically, some insights start to surge. Thanks to Isaac Asimov, a renowned science fiction writer who wrote the classic book The Foundation, I’ve learned to understand this quote a little better. Asimov wrote another book called “Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: The New Testament: 002,” In it, he links John 1:1 to the greek philosophy of Thales Miletus. According to Thales, the world isn’t chaotic. Instead, existence has a structure, an implicit balance governed by the rules of nature, and we interrogate these rules thanks to observation, thinking, and most importantly, language. This meant that God fashioned the world through very perceivable constants.
In journeying toward what John 1:1 actually means further, I found only English approximations gave us the phrase “the Word.” Our biblical ancestors were not just referencing “word,” as in the smallest element of a sentence, but “the Word,” with the W capitalized. Paying…