“Even in the case of lifeless things that make sounds, such as the flute or harp, how will anyone know what tune is being played unless there is a distinction in the notes? Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle? So it is with you. Unless you speak intelligible words with your tongue, how will anyone know what you are saying? You will just be speaking into the air. Undoubtedly there are all sorts of languages in the world, yet none of them is without meaning. If then I do not grasp the meaning of what someone is saying, I am a foreigner to the speaker, and he is a foreigner to me.” — 1 Corinthians 14:7-11 (NIV84)
In the realm of communication, Paul was asserting that meaning matters. He was telling us that one writes and speaks in order to convey meaning. I would expand his thoughts in these verses today and say that it is inherent in people to want to understand the meaning and purpose of things. We write words, compose music, sculpt and paint because we humans want to convey a message and we want others to understand what we are saying. Unless meaning is conveyed, we remain estranged and disconnected.
With that said, I find it incredibly interesting that today’s modern thinkers want to change all that. They use words to convey their truth that original intent (meaning) doesn’t matter. If their premise were true, then their original assertions would have no meaning until we gave it to them. They believe that meaning is derived by the recipient of the message. Hence, ten people may see, hear and witness the same thing but could have ten different explanations of what happened. There is no doubt that we have the ability to apply interpretation and expanded application to a thought, but we at least have to have the original thought.
I know all this to be true because every day I communicate with others, anticipating that they understand what I mean. It’s how God created (wired) us. He is the first cause and the first thought. He used words to create everything we see. He is the original speaker, musician, and artist who desires to speak the truths of His heart through His Word and the creation we see all around us. Jesus is the Word made flesh. God sent His Son into the world to communicate meaning and purpose to our hearts. God is not looking for us to reinterpret Jesus. He wants us to discover His intent, meaning, and purpose.
Relativism does not work! Not in theory! Not in life!