Updated: Sep 2, 2021
God’s is the name that the angels tremble before they speak.
I teach a lot of English literature and I read a lot of books.
One of my favourite books in the entire world, is called “Nineteen-Eighty-Four” and it is a dystopian political satire published in 1949 by a man who used the pen-name George Orwell.
The novel focuses on the experience of the anti-hero, Winston, who hates the totalitarian government of his world and its dictator “Big Brother”. However, Winston has no way to rebel against Big Brother, because he is policed in his words and in his thoughts and in his deeds. For where one can control the names of things, one can control how we think about them too…
In the novel – as an act of rebellion – Winston begins an illegal love affair with a woman called Julia. The affair is illegal because in this dystopian world, the government controls even the intimate and personal relationships in families and between individuals and disallows anything that could lead to people being loyal to anything or anyone other than Big Brother himself. Eventually the two lovers are caught and tortured and novel very famously concludes with Winston’s complete defeat by Big Brother, as he has now been entirely indoctrinated by the government and declares, “I love Big Brother”.
The novel, written at the conclusion of the Second World War and at the onset of the Cold War, was a warning… In fact, Orwell, claimed that this novel was a prophetic prediction of the way that he imagined the world would look in the year 1984 if we continued along the path of destruction set by multiple world wars and the constant threat of nuclear war.
Luckily for us – Orwell was not quite right! We do not live in a dystopia where our freedoms and privacy are completely obliterated and the government controls everything that we think, say or do… But, I do find it interesting to note some similarities between the book and our real life.
You see, in that novel, the government creates a society where lies are accepted as truth and truth is destroyed. One of the key motifs of the novel is the concept of “double speak” where the government tells its citizens lies that are irrational and the citizens are forced to believe in them. For example, the government tells its citizens that “TWO PLUS TWO MAKES FIVE”. There is not much difference between this and the lies the world tells us today. These days, our society tells us to celebrate vices like PRIDE. Where Adam and Eve covered their nudity – our society tells us to flaunt ours and reject chastity. And yet, these lies are what we are told is true in our world.
In the novel, there is no loyalty within the family as characters are loyal first and foremost to the government and society in which they live, or they suffer the consequences of arrest and torture. I see similarities here too. We spend our lives browsing through our phones and internet connections seeking out bigger and better things to do with our time and our minds while our families sit around us silently on their own devices. We isolate from each other within our own homes and complain when we are isolated from our community…
In the novel, the words are destroyed as the government comes up with new names for things as a way for the government to control people’s very thoughts, and the characters ironically speak about the “beauty” of the destruction of words. There is not really a lot of difference between this and the political correctness of our world which means that people wish each other Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas and eat Chocolate Eggs instead of Easter Eggs. In many ways, we have sterilised all the goodness out of our world.
It makes me think about the most important of NAMES… After all, we too are in danger of destroying the beauty of such a word.
William Shakespeare, in his tragic play, "Romeo and Juliet" wrote, "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..." And yet, we call a rose a rose and a spade a spade, as the old saying goes.
Also, too, in our world, we take the Lord’s name in vain… We do that. I do it. We say “God” or “Christ” or “Jesus Christ” as though we are speaking of the dust… It is in our movies and our books and our conversation.
How I tremble to know that I invoke the name of the ruler of all the Universe, daring to use His name in vain. For His is the name that the angels tremble before they dare to speak.
How Holy is my Lord and God – King of Endless Glory!
For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.