Verbalization doesn’t limit God – it expands our access to him

Some people argue, “God is so great that his glory can’t be put in words – he is ineffable. Verbalizing his glory will limit him.”

Firstly, this argument is foundationally flawed because it requires effability to claim ineffability. That is, it uses words to assert that God is beyond words, implying thereby that something about him – his purported ineffability – can be described in words.

Moreover, as God is the universal sovereign, his jurisdiction extends everywhere, including even the effable arena. What limits God, then, is not verbalization, but the argument that relegates him to the non-verbalizable arena.

The truly non-limiting understanding of God is that his glory encompasses both the effable and the ineffable. That is, words can express his glory, but not fully.

Words used to glorify God comprise indispensable tools for us to access him. When we glorify him using words, such verbalized devotional service tangibly connects us with him. This connection purifies and propels our consciousness to the spiritual level where we can experientially relish even his non-verbalizable glory. But if we claim that God is entirely beyond verbalization, we create an unnecessary, even uncrossable, chasm between him and our present material level of consciousness, which lies mostly in the verbalized arena.

The Bhagavad-gita’s tenth chapter narrative conveys how words increase our connection with God. Arjuna, after accepting Krishna’s paramount position (10.13-14), states (10.15) that even supra-human beings such as gods can’t know Krishna. He thus indicates that Krishna’s glory is so great that it can’t even be comprehended, leave alone verbalized. Yet he doesn’t subsequently reject all verbalization. Instead, he fervently requests (10.18) that Krishna elaborately speak his glory, for the nectar of such words is unendingly delicious. Krishna approvingly and joyfully accepts that request (10.19), speaking words that reveal his glories further and thus help us come closer to him.

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