“Lord is near to all who call on him,
True Name of God – What is it?
What is the true name of God? Before we answer that, it would help to talk about language. There are about 7000 languages spoken today. Since God is omniscient, He knows them all. Before the tower of Babel, thousands of years before Jesus walked on earth, people spoke only one language (Genesis 11:1-9). No one knows what language that was. It might have died out then and there. Even if a descendant language exists, no speaker of it would understand its ancient ancestor. Languages change every generation. That makes literature several hundred years old difficult to read. Literature several thousand years old is impossible to understand today without special information.
What language does God speak? Every language. What language did He speak before humans existed? No one knows. Maybe He spoke a near infinite number of languages. Maybe He didn’t even speak like we understand the term. After all, God doesn’t have a tongue, lips, teeth, and vocal cords like we do.
True Name of God – What is the importance of language?
We can talk about and even debate this question. But more important than any pronunciation of any word is the actual meaning of the term God. There is only one supreme being. He is the creator of the world—all knowing and all powerful.
Even though people may not know Arabic or English or Chinese, God understands their language. He said the following about Himself:
“The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
That goes for language, too. God is not concerned with teaching people how to pronounce foreign words, but how to live, act, think, and believe. Words are simple enough to mimic. God is concerned with deeper things, not the movements of our tongue and lips, but the movements of our heart.
Allah means “the [one and only] God” in Arabic. It’s a beautiful name. Aramaic and Hebrew have similar words. But God revealed a different divine name to Moses, Yahweh (Exodus 3:14). Though distinct in sound, it also has a beautiful meaning: “the One who is.” Up until recently, a small group of people living in Southeast Asia had no alphabet. None of them wrote or read their own language. But they were not without a beautiful name for God: Mugbabaya—“the Ruler over all.” It’s the meaning of a word that counts. Whatever the language and however we might pronounce God’s name, unless the word springs from a pure heart, what rolls off the lips means nothing to Him. As the Bible says,
to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
Compliments of Scott Munger, PhD, Biblica, All rights reserved in the original.
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