The Speaking Voice
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.(John 1:1)
An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon the text of John 1:1, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.
One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, it the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. The word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. It is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.
The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would be locked in slumber within the covers of a book.
A. W. Tozer
There are two questions we ought to ask. Has God spoken in the past? Does He continue to speak now?
When we read the Bible, and assuming we believe what it says, we find that indeed God has spoken. In Genesis we read that God spoke and all of creation became. We find that after the creation of Adam and Eve that God spoke to them in the Garden and later after their banishment continued speaking to their children. We read of God speaking to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Joseph. In Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy we see that He spoke to Moses, Aaron, Miriam, and the Israelites. We hear Him speaking to Joshua and the Judges and to Samuel and David and the prophets. In the New Testament we read that God spoke through angels and the Holy Spirit and through Christ in the flesh. I think we can conclude that God has indeed spoken to humanity in the past. And when I use the terminology of speaking I am using it the same way we would use it in referring to humans speak. I realize that often we talk about God speaking through some impression or coincidence or some other human. While God may indeed express His will or desire this way, He is not limited to these ways. He has not lost His voice and He doesn’t have laryngitis.
When we think about whether or not God still speaks and we consider the logic of it we must conclude that if He has audibly spoken in the past then unless He has somehow lost His power of speech, He will speak to us today.
I’ve read of other religions that taught that once their god spoke but ceased and those religions became captive to the human thoughts and ways and disintegrated into tokens and rituals that had no meaning and eventually died.
We can read in history that when the voice of God is silent, humans tend to drift back into darkness and horrible things take place. It was in deep darkness where the voice of God was silent that a magnitude of error and false theology gained hold. The church and the world experienced the Inquisition and that thought even influenced the Puritans of Massachusetts with the infamous witch trials. Left to itself humanity will always turn goodness to evil and corrupt even the written word of God.
Consider the Acts church who were given the commission to take the gospel to the whole world. Instead they began to make it just another Jewish sect. So God spoke to Peter and it’s apparent that it was a conversation.
“When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that [the people of] Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The next day, as they were on their way and were approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof of the house about the sixth hour (noon) to pray, but he became hungry and wanted something to eat. While the meal was being prepared he fell into a trance; and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet descending, lowered by its four corners to the earth, and it contained all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air. A voice came to him, “Get up, Peter, kill and eat!” But Peter said, “Not at all, Lord, for I have never eaten anything that is common (unholy) and [ceremonially] unclean.” And the voice came to him a second time, “What God has cleansed and pronounced clean, no longer consider common (unholy).” Cornelius said, “Four days ago to this hour, I was praying in my house during the ninth hour (3:00-4:00 p.m.); and a man [dressed] in bright, dazzling clothing suddenly stood before me, and he said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your acts of charity have been remembered before God [so that He is about to help you]. Opening his mouth, Peter said: “Most certainly I understand now that God is not one to show partiality [to people as though Gentiles were excluded from God’s blessing], but in every nation the person who fears God and does what is right [by seeking Him] is acceptable and welcomed by Him.
From these scriptures it is apparent that God it only spoke to Peter but to Cornelius as well for both heard a voice and responded by speaking.
We could go on to talk about Paul hearing the voice of Jesus speaking to him on the road to Damascus or John on Patmos, but we must conclude that God speaks.
My question to us is this: If God has spoken in the past, has He changed His method of communication and just relegated it to the written Word and humans to try to figure out His desires? If so we are truly lost for the human influence and “interpretation” of the Bible is leading more and more to division and conflict and confusion in the church of today.
History records that when the people once again begin to hear the voice of God, they become aware of their fallen state and the false teachings and misconceptions of God. We may call these events awakenings, revivals or restoration it at the heart of it is God making Himself known, sometimes to a group and sometimes to a single individual, but at all times clearly.
How we need an awakening today! So let us come before the Lord and let us wait upon Him to speak to us as He spoke in days of old.
Dr. John Thompson