God’s Revelation as Speech-act

I’ve argued before here that reality is fundamentally linguistic – God spoke the universe into existence. What never occurred to me, for some unknown reason (beyond my own thick-headedness) is that this is a speech-act, or rather, THE speech-act. Duh. Then I thought a bit farther – if Jesus is God’s self-revelation, the Word (or the ‘conversation’, my personal favourite translation of ‘logos’), made flesh, then in a sense, wouldn’t that make Jesus a speech-act as well? This was an odd thought, but a speech-act is an utterance which does what it says – it performs the action it proclaims. Discourse becomes concrete – and is there a better example of (divine) discourse becoming concrete reality?

So then I thought about when we talk about Jesus, or preach, or proclaim the gospel – would that then also fall under the speech-act category? Here it wasn’t so clear cut, at least at first. If the gospel is ‘God’s power to save’, then it would seem that the gospel, by which people are saved and God’s kingdom brought about on earth, is also speech-act. The spoken word becomes the concrete reality.

None of this has been thought through very far by me or systematized- it was something that occurred to me on my lunch break. But it seems to me to be plausible.

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One thought on “God’s Revelation as Speech-act

  1. Chris Falter September 25, 2013 / 1:16 pm

    Seems very plausible to me. I would refine the notion in a couple of ways:

    * From the philosophical perspective, I would prefer to say that the universe is “ontologically linguistic,” rather than “fundamentally linguistic.” In front of a congregation which is unfamiliar with the arcana of philosophical studies, though, “fundamentally linguistic” is good enough.

    * Jesus as speech-act seems like a faithful adaptation of John’s “Word of God” theology to the 21st century, as long as you specify that the Son is the eternally pre-existing Word.

    Like

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