Denise Schmandt-Besserat is professor emerita of Art and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and has explored the origin of writing and counting. She says:
“Writing may have been invented independently three times in different parts of the world: in the Near East, China and Mesoamerica. The cuneiform script, created in Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, ca. 3200 BC, was first. The evolution of writing from tokens to pictography, syllabary and alphabet illustrates the development of information processing to deal with larger amounts of data in ever greater abstraction.”
Before the written word, there was “only” the spoken word. Verbal communication was king. God has a history with humankind. Early on, people who were touched by God told other people about their experience. Stories were told and retold and carried on to the next generation. And so God has been remembered all throughout time and He left His footprints everywhere. When people started writing, they also captured God’s story with man, which is His story, or if you put the two words together: History.
Our History with God eventually filled the Scriptures – a collection of verbal communication, especially the more dated books of the Old Testament. The New Testament books were written by authors who were already steeped in the culture of the written word and familiarized with abstract thinking. Paul, who wrote at least thirteen letters that are included in the New Testament, is a good example. His letters clearly go beyond story-telling digging deeply into the matter of truth-finding – although there are still enough people out there who do not exactly relish abstract thinking. For this reason I love the parables in the gospels; Jesus knew how to tell a good tale. We all can retrieve gold nuggets from His inspiring stories.
The bottom-line is that the Lord speaks to us – verbally and in writing. He is not known to be silent; God hasn’t stopped communicating because He loves us.