Herman Wouk's THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
At first I thought this book was just meandering and annoying. It wasn’t till page 69 (out of only 183) that I figured out what it’s about (I think).
I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. Wouk writes like an angel and knows how to tell a story. He covers a lot of ground, drops a lot of names, and tells many pointed stories. The book becomes more thoughtful and personal as it proceeds, despite — or perhaps because of — the constant references to Wouk’s previous writings.
My take on what the book is about is that God exists but humans are incapable of completely comprehending God and related questions such as “the meaning of existence.” Moreover, our ability to ponder such questions is one of the things that makes us human.
Wouk concentrates a lot at first on a juxtaposition of science and religion. This morphs into a more pointed examination of his own faith. I’m probably more partial to science than to religion; as of this writing there are only four books tagged in my book review section as “religion” versus 16 as “science.” I have come to believe that simplistic assumptions that the two are somehow at odds are just that — simplistic. I find arguments about “science versus religion” tiresome, just as I find tiresome those people who think they have privileged knowledge about how God works.
So, what about the title of this book, “The Language that God Talks” — what’s that about?
At first Wouk leads us to believe he’s talking about Calculus. By the end of the book, I’m not so sure. Is Wouk saying that “science” is the “language” that God talks? Is he saying that God and Humans can talk the same language?
I’m not sure. Perhaps Wouk’s study of the Talmud has illuminated his own understanding of “the language that God talks” but I’m left with a sense of intrigue. But that’s good. Perhaps Wouk will address the topic in more detail in his next book.
Review copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald