Language Askew

Today’s question poses a serious dilemma for thoughtful theists and atheists alike. Either human language can describe God truly or it cannot. If human language cannot describe God truly, then statements about God are literally inaccurate. If statements about God are literally inaccurate, then no divine truths can be expressed in human language. If so, then knowledge of God is impossible, since anything one knows must be true. From this argument, it follows that if all God talk is inaccurate, then even atheists cannot accurately deny God’s existence. From this it follows that if one thinks he/she knows anything about God, then it must be false that human language cannot describe God accurately. As an illustration consider God’s goodness. It is a standard presupposition of classical theology that God is omnibenevolent. If human language cannot accurately describe God, then God’s goodness may mean something totally unrecognizable to the human intellect.

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