Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” – Genesis 1:28a NTV
After God created the first man and woman, he blessed them. Then he commanded them: “Be fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth.” He wanted them to propagate and, as they increased in number, he wanted them to scatter all over the earth.
It is safe to assume that Adam and Eve spoke the same language. Now, if their descendants obeyed God’s command to “fill the earth,” what do you think would happen to their language over the course of time? Their language would change, wouldn’t it? New concepts, new sights, and new experiences all influence the development of a language.
Almost all Philippine languages come from the Austronesian language family. Dispersion of Filipinos all over the archipelago resulted in new languages. Here is a simple illustration. The English word “two” is dadowa for the Ivatan, dua for the Ilocano, adwa for the Kapampangan, dalawa for the Tagalog, duha for the Cebuano, duwa for the Tausug, etc.
Linguistic diversity presents some real challenges. For example, I have started mentoring eight young men who are interested in serving in cross-cultural missions. It would have been easier if all of them spoke English or Tagalog, but they don’t. They only speak Spanish—a language I am still in the process of learning. I would love to share so much but my inability to communicate well in Spanish is a huge barrier.
Wouldn’t it be better if the whole world spoke the same language? Perhaps. But that is not the will of God. He is a diverse God, and he designed humanity to become a beautiful tapestry of linguistic and cultural diversity. Rather than suppress or resent this diversity, let’s celebrate it. God does.
Creative God, I praise you for your wisdom. Right at the very beginning of human history, you revealed your desire for diversity. Help me to appreciate this diversity. Empower me to help harness this diversity to give you greater glory.