My friends in the physical sciences try to sanctify the language of mathematics by claiming that science will save us. Because they can't fight back as easily when I put the true arguments in the newspaper, I will end the argument and prove from the founding document of our culture, the Holy Bible, the superiority of words over mathematics.
We have God's word that there are worlds without numbers. This fact should clinch any dispute. Even though mathematics seem to be the language of science in this world, it is not a language of the universe. There are worlds that get along quite well thank you, without numbers. The important point is that the word is superior to the inferiority of numbers as language.The fact is that worlds without numbers were created with words, which would mean that there are no worlds without words. "In the beginning was the word" (John 1:1), not the number.
The point is that one does not have to look beyond this world to understand the lower order of language called numbers. Basic to the composition of the earth are elements which humans have contrived to measure with atomic weights when in fact "Of gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number" (I Chronicles 22:16).
Even today in the Middle East when Bedouin travelers are in need of replacement camels and look over the options in the used-camel lot, they find that the practice is not to license or number them. For in Judges ". . . they came with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitudes; for both they and their camels were without number" (6:5).
It is important to note that both the camels and the people were without numbers. This should call into question the practice of assigning people numbers like student numbers and social security numbers for "the people were without numbers that came with him out of Egypt" (II Chronicles 12:3).
If humans can exist without numbers and have dominion over animals, it is easily understood why this dominion would be by the power of words over these numberless creatures. "He spake, and the locusts came, and caterpillars, and that without number," (Psalms 105:34).
It is also easy to see, for perhaps quite different reasons, why there would be "virgins without numbers," (Song of Solomon 6:8).
The Psalms venerate the power of words and recognize that in words recorded in Genesis God created the world. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Genesis 1:2). It is clear the power is in words. "By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth" (Psalm 33:6). "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created" (Psalm 148:5)
As Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he recognized the power of words and quoted the words of the law. "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceed-eth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live" (Deuteronomy 8:3)
The power of words that become "words of delight" (Ecclesiastes 12:9-10) is in definition of concepts that could be abstract but are defined clearly with words. An example is the definition of neighbor found in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. There are no abstract concepts here. The words give life by explaining what it means to be a neighbor:
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. "Look after him," he said, "and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have."
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? (Luke 10:30 36NIV)
The economy and concreteness is obvious. The idea of writing a definition with a question is a demonstration of the power of words. Mathematic equations are also questions but certainly can't answer questions or define.
Now it should be clear to my friends in the sciences that they can't define our friendship with their language of mathematics, but they can glimpse what I mean when I call them friends when I use words. And as friends they should admit the superiority of words.