I noted in this post that I believed Language is a precondition for knowledge. I say Language with an upper-case "L" to distinguish it from alleged, particular languages like English, Hebrew, Greek, etc. This is a helpful article which distinguishes Language (or linguistics) from languages as well as makes some other acute observations.
For Language to be a precondition for knowledge is just for it to be necessary in order to know. Why do I consider language to be a precondition for knowledge? This becomes clear when it is explained what knowledge (at least, "philosophical" knowledge) necessarily entails: belief in propositions.
But given this, I do not find that I can agree with Clark that "words are arbitrary signs" which "tag thoughts" (cf. here, especially the quotes under the subsection "Meaning and Symbols"). Clark's Language and Theology is an excellent book, but at the very least, I find this assertion to be an over-generalization. The rest of this post will explain why. Firstly:
P1) Language is a precondition for knowledge.P2) God's [self-]knowledge is eternal.C) Language is eternal.
It is at least the case God's knowledge of Himself is necessary. So Language is necessary and natural to God. That is, what God knows about Himself must be non-arbitrary, so Language - and by extension, some particular language or languages, as that is something propositions require - must be necessary.
Unless we are prepared to concede that the meaning of the object of knowledge is not propositional but rather supra-linguistic or beyond expression - in which case we seem to be left with some kind of Plotinic, transcendent experience - the words or signs or symbols in the propositions God necessarily knows must also be necessary. Simply put, if there are necessary, known propositions, there are also necessary words, signs, or symbols.
This is not to say that people cannot perhaps create arbitrary words, signs, and symbols and designate them to be univocal with some set of necessary propositions (although see the last paragraph). But there still remains the necessary fact of eternal, non-arbitrary words and propositions.
The question then is, in what way is or are eternal language(s) necessary? I see two options:
1) it is inherently meaningful.2) it symbolizes something not reducible to linguistics similar to operalization of so-called "physical objects."
As I believe the majority of Scripturalists hold to the idealistic idea that all things are a congeries, set, or complex of propositions (with the possible exception of the physical world), it would seemingly follow that Scripturalists should opt for 1); otherwise, we are back to a correspondence theory of truth bereft of univocality, which is pretty much the primary reason Clark rejects empirical "knowledge."
Thus, to assent to truth could simply be to assent to the eternal, linguistic expressions of God's knowledge (or arbitrarily designated equivalents thereof). [It is hard for me to grasp the idea that propositions act and will; alternatives, however, seem to be worse.]
To clarify, for example, Greek and Hebrew are spoken by God, so we know that either:
1) both particular languages are arbitrarily created but valid equivalents of the language of God's eternal knowledge, as they both are comprised of words, signs, or symbols which can be univocally designated as equivalent in meaning to the eternal, propositional language(s) of God's [self-]knowledge, or2) one (or both) of them is (are) actually the language of God's eternal knowledge.
Or perhaps there are no arbitrary words, signs, or symbols. If I write a truth in English, God knows it. But does that really mean I created truth? Instead, we might consider that there aren't really any "particular" languages except in a geographic sense. Just as you can learn an "English" word which is synonymous with another "English" word, you can learn an "Arabic" word which is synonymous with an "English" word. What I mean is that "English" and "Arabic" may not modify the words but rather describe the people who usually use the words. In this case, all "languages" are in some sense necessary. There would simply be different expressions of knowledge, like two sentences being interchangeable (the same proposition). This would actually make more sense to me as I continue to work to understand the philosophy of language.