Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Power of Crying Out (In what sense do words have power?) part 8

The overriding point in saying that words have power is to argue that words can be effective in prayer. There's only one of two ways that could work, though. Either it's because the words themselves have the power to bring about the desired result of the prayer, or it's because spoken words have the power to reach God's ears in a way that unspoken words don't.

Regarding the first possibility, it's clearly false. When we make our petitions, we're not making our petitions to some blind force, but rather to a personal God. Since it is to that God that we are making our requests, it is the power of that God that answers our requests, not the power of our words. If we think that somehow our spoken words are what produce results by themselves, then that's no different than a magical worldview in which incantations (or spell or chants) are used to bring about results. That's why I said this worldview has more in common with witchcraft than with Christianity in a letter I wrote you a while back. Even if we grant that God created the universe by the power of his spoken words, this can't be used to prove that our words have power. After all, we cannot create a single thing whatsoever merely by speaking. Just try it. Try to create a simple drop of water by speaking it into existence. You won't be able to do it. Obviously, God using the "power of words" cannot be a precedent for us using the "power of words." Our words have no power, and that's a demonstrable fact.

Regarding the second possibility, it is also clearly false. Since God knows all things, even the deep things of our hearts and minds, then the "power of words" have no advantage over the "power of thoughts" to convey our requests to God. God knows them both equally well since God knows all things. So words can have no more power to reach God's ears than our thoughts do. On p. 18, he writes, "Do you ever wonder why some of your prayers don't seem to reach the 'ears of God'?" Apparently, he thinks it's because they aren't audible as if God is more likely to literally hear our prayers if we speak them out loud than if we pray silently. But I don't think God has anymore trouble hearing silent prayers than our vocal prayers. Which is a good thing for people who are unable to speak!

to be continued...
Part 9


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