By Dan Schobert
Whence education? When it comes to learning language, both vocal and written, can an original source be determined and appreciated? Across
the globe people speak to each other and, often, write to each other as they strive to communicate. The question in front of us is: when did someone
first learn how to do these things? Those living at the present time can point to someone and some institution as the sources of first coming to
grips with the language issue. Coming out of the womb, no one had the initial ability to say or write anything. That we can do so today points to
an educational process, both informal (through parents/family) and formally through an institution via teachers of language. These persons, in
turn, must have traveled the same highway to arrive at a place where they could teach others. In a long regression, we can safely say there came a
time and place when things related to language began.
Language is a complex thing. Unless a person is involved in learning a new tongue or two, most of us pretty much take the language process for
granted in much the same way we assume the ability to swallow or breathe. The ability to speak seems ingrained in our very being. When we
add the ability to write, we have more at our hand to show character.
When we think of language it may be fair to say we mostly are thinking of the words we use. That is, we think in terms of vocabulary. Over a life time
we’ve been adding words to that word data bank which resides between our ears. Sadly, according to some, unless we make a concerted effort to
add words to this data bank, most people stop adding words after the 8th grade. There may be exceptions to this trend, especially when it comes to
special words associated with a particular field of endeavor. Otherwise it seems we drift along with the words we began learning as an infant.
There is more to language than just words. If we only had words, it would still be very difficult to communicate. There are different kinds of words:
nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, as well as their tenses. There is structure without which a sentence would hardly make much sense. Without
structure, a series of words might be arranged to say little of anything important.
There are only two views on how human beings came to exist. One is the evolutionary view for which there is no evidence, which begins with
something coming from nothing. The other is the creationary view which leads back to the work of God, something starting from the eternal.
It is next to impossible to even imagine language coming forth from some creature that emerged from the slime. At what point would such a being
develop the idea of language? And how would it go about making it happen? This isn’t to say evolutionists haven’t tried to show a connection
between animals and humans when it comes to language but these attempts have all failed. While some creatures have been able to make
sounds very similar to human words, this doesn’t mean these creatures know what the word means. That is, they lack the ability to understand the
depth of words.
In many quarters, the origin of language is a forbidden topic for discussion, especially among evolutionists who, apparently, realize the
difficult and impossible chasm which must be crossed between animals and human beings. On the other hand, human beings made in the image of God have a history stretching back to the beginning of time. Here we’re talking about Adam and Eve, the first human beings who were brought forth by the hand of
God in the Garden of Eden.
What can we safely say about these two? What can we assume about our first parents? For one thing we hold that these two were actual humans,
living in time and space…not some imaginary figures thought to portray some kind of truth. They actually lived, existed, had children and died.
In order for Adam to communicate he would have required a data bank of information, not only words but instructions on how to tend the garden.
He was not an infant though, at the time of his creation, he was but moments old. The package would have had to be somewhat complete for
how else would he have known what to do. When the animals were brought to him to name, he had to have some concepts already available.
Much the same can be said for Eve when she appeared on the scene. In order for her to communicate with Adam, she would have also required a
data bank of words and what they meant. And both she and Adam would have had a common language, whatever it might have been…some think it
was Hebrew but for the moment, this is not important. These two must have been able to speak with each other….not just stare at each other,
wondering what to do next. If this were not the case, how would they have come to speak to each other and understand? This must have been true of
Adam and Eve and could well have been the case with their children.
Eventually, of course, there had to come a time when the adults taught the children and from such a start grew the massive educational systems
which have arisen through the ages. Since we have no actual records of education in the antediluvian era, we are left with making some reasonable assumptions. The records we do have tell us that people were born, existed and died. During their days of life, they were reasonably active doing something, eking out a living and relating to others in the community. They were not simply sitting around; they had things to do in order to survive. There were probably some crops to maintain, animals demanding some care and a host of other responsibilities. Safe to say most of these activities required communication and communication required information via words and, perhaps, some form of written record. These required a time for being taught as education is not passed along genetically! We know the Noah had some skills to build the ark, skills which may have been taught to his sons and others in the neighborhood.
Taking a review of the early chapters in Genesis we discover incident after incident in which language, i.e. communication played a key role. “….Abel
was a keeper of flocks but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis 4:2). It isn’t likely that neither Abel nor Cain learned their respective trades
without some verbal education, probably from Adam. “….Enoch …built a city….” (4:17). How does one go about building anything, let alone a city,
without some sort of continuing communication with fellow workers?
“Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents…..” (4:20). Making tents is not something that would have occurred
without communication. Jubal ….was the “father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.” (4:21) Can we imagine such instruments being created
without interpersonal communications? Hardly! “…Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron…..” (4:22). Forging of any
metal takes skill and lots of work. This is probably something that didn’t take place without some help which would have required communication.
In Chapter six are details for building the ark. These plans were communicated to Noah and he had a lot of work ahead of himself and his
sons; probably others also helped during the long project… requiring technology and plenty of work. Surely no one worked in silence but they
talked and communicated with each other during these years. They talked not only among themselves during the project but many others in the
community as people wondered about this big craft being built.
The thing that got me started to think about all this was the book of Psalms in which David so wonderfully expressed thoughts. It began to present a
question to my mind: how and when did David learn how to write? Here he was from a lowly group of people, a shepherd boy, hardly someone
high ranking in his society. Yet, years later, he is the leader of a country and, apparently, educated enough to write some great stuff, under the
guidance of God, of course. There must have been a time and place in his life when he moved from being a generally ignorant youth to being
considered by God adequate to lead the people. Such transformation speaks of education. It might be easy to say he learned in the temple
schools but where did his teachers learn? This approach tends to beg the question.
Much the same can be said of Moses, much earlier. Like David, in some ways, Moses came from a low cast part of society. But unlike David, Moses
was brought up in the house of the Egyptian king and household. We can surely assume that in that environment he learned plenty, things what
were generally not available to the general public. He could have had contact with the people responsible for building some of the great
structures we see yet today in Egypt. At the age of 80, after being kicked out of Egypt and living as a shepherd, God called Moses to lead the
Hebrew people out of Egypt. God knew of Moses’ ability though Moses, at first, didn’t want the job. The point here is that Moses was equipped to do
the job because he had the skills necessary to lead and to confront the Egyptian authorities. All of these things required Moses to have abilities
associated with an educational background.
The start of such educational programs is largest lost in the mist of history; we can only make some reasonable assumptions that things must
have taken place to bring about not only his education but the training of many others through the ages.
“It is evident that only man was given the gift of speech. It is an intrinsic part of his nature that associates him with God and separates him from the
rest of creation.”2
The point here is that, from the start in the Garden, communication was necessary. This is very obvious, and it must have started with God Who
gave words to Adam and Eve. It may be safe to say that along the line parents came together to discuss some way to join together in making the
education of their children a little easier. From such a beginning developed groups and institutions for education, even to the present age. It all started
in the Garden. Can there be any other possible explanation?
2 From: The Truth About Human Origins. Harrub and Thompson, 2003. P.200