I received the following question:

We had another question in regards to the words of the Lord being “of earth,” as you explained in your Precept on Psalm 12:6. We were thinking about it and it makes complete sense with Greek.  However, we were under the understanding that Hebrew was a God created language.  If this is so, wouldn’t there be a question with “of earth.”

All languages really were God-created. When He reprogrammed men’s minds at the tower of Babel, He was creating all the languages Himself. There is some speculation that Hebrew was the original language, and that Shem was not present at the tower so his language (Hebrew) remained unchanged. This is possible, but there is no way to prove it, and the Bible is silent regarding this.

Now all languages undergo change and alteration over time. For one thing, we add nouns to describe new things…laptops, Ipods, things like that. Rules tend to simplify. For example, in English we lost our second person pronouns except one. I mean, in first person we have I, me, we, and us. In third person we have he, she, it, him, her, they, and them. Yet in second person we have one word, you. Just you. Now we used to have four, just like first person. They were thou, thee, ye, and you. Yet we dropped the first three, and made everything what was the objective case plural. The lack of a distinction between singular and plural can be somewhat annoying, which is why our friends in the southern United States have adopted the awkward “you all.” We don’t seem to miss the difference between the subjective and objective cases very much. Now, once something like this is simplified, it seems highly unlikely that it would ever go back to more complicated again. Can you imagine trying to get people to use “ye” or “thou” again? Not going to happen! Yet how did we get all these complicated rules in the first place, then? It doesn’t make sense that men all would agree to such complex rules when simpler would do, as we have proven in English. Where did thou, thee, ye, and you (all) come from in the first place? These things were given to us by God. Languages started out with all the rules, and lost them over time. I learned about things lost from Greek when I studied that language. This is common. There are no examples of more complexity in rules. More complexity in vocabulary, yes, but rules only simplify.

Now another way that languages change is through corruption. There are many things that can cause this. We are all aware of what has happened to the previously innocent and carefree word “gay.” And a major thing that causes corruption is false religion. Men make up false religious ideas, and then invent words, or co-opt what were formerly good words, to describe their false ideas.

The difference with Hebrew, now, is that the Israelite culture was set up by God. He made the laws, He wrote the rules, He defined the culture in many ways, and He set up the religion. Thus, there really wasn’t much room for the corruption of the language through false beliefs and ideas. That is why, for example, the Hebrews maintained a correct idea of sheol and of the soul long after the Greeks had corrupted their view to what they thought of hades and a disembodied man.

What I believe is meant in the words “of earth,” as I explained, is that God’s revelation in the Word is given to men in plain, ordinary words of the earth. That is not to say that most of those words, and indeed the language of Hebrew itself, were not first created by God. The point is that the Bible is not in some kind of otherworldly language. God did not use words and terms and expressions that were foreign to men. He used the ordinary, everyday words that we all are used to, and that were in use at the time He wrote the Scriptures. What is special about the Bible is not that it is written with special words all Its Own. These words may be pure words, but they are still just words of the earth. They are the words that are in common, everyday use. This has nothing to do with origin, but with the idea that God’s revelation is in common words that readers of the day who spoke the language could all understand.

Thanks for the question.