If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1Corinthians 13:1
In the above text, the subtle distinction between “of men” and “of angels” may suggest that there is a difference between the two and was known to the early church in Corinth.
While the phrase “tongues of men” is probably a reference to the various human languages in use at that time, the phrase “of angels” could possibly refer to an ancient, angelic language which is distinct from the language of men.
From the Genesis accounts, Adam was created by God on the sixth day of creation. Angels, on the other hand, were also created beings. They were created by God himself, in a span of time between Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 1:2 – if indeed such a timeframe could be chronologically expressed.
One of the oldest books in the Old Testament, the book of Job, describes how the angels ‘shouted for joy” when the earth was first created (Job 38:7). We may take note that there were no human beings at this time in Genesis chapter 1. As we said earlier, Adam and Eve were created much later in day six.
This leaves us with an interesting question: how could the angels shout for joy if they don’t have an intelligible, cognitive speech, or, some form of language, that can be understood? How the author would know that it was the angels who shouted, or, if indeed it was a shout, and that it was of joy?
Adam and Eve enjoyed a perfect fellowship with in the first few days of their creation. An interesting account in Genesis chapter two (2) can be found where Adam gave names to every animal that can be found in the garden of Eden. To do such a feat, he needed to articulate some form of verbal speech. What kind of language did Adam used during the naming ceremony? There is no clear answer. But what is clear is that he did use some kind of language to accomplish that.
It must be something hard-wired into his DNA or native to his constitution as a being created into the image and likeness of God. Remember that he was created a grown-up man, not as baby so when he speaks it must be something that God enabled him to do so. But how do we call that language?
When Adam woke up or rather had his first consciousness after God gave him the breath of life, we can assume that he is fully conversant and that he knows this ancient language by heart and can immediately speak of it naturally.
During the Fall of Man in the book of Genesis, we find the Biblical account how the serpent tempted Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. Remember that the tempter is a fallen angel – he was formerly a cherub, one of the guardians of God’s holy throne and His glory. How could the tempter communicate with Eve in a manner that she can fully comprehend? As the only human beings at that time, Adam and Eve may have spoken of this ancient angelic language that the angels knew of to be able to communicate. This is clearly alluded to in the Biblical account.
From Genesis chapter one (1) to nine (9), it would seem to imply that there was only one language – even during the time when man began to increase in number and began to populate large areas of the earth.
In Genesis chapter ten (10), the different nations that have evolved from the sons of Noah seemed to have developed their own kind of language. But in Genesis chapter eleven (11), at the Tower of Babel, a divine intervention confounded the language of men; they soon find it difficult to understand one another.
So, is there an ancient language that only the angels and the men of old knew about? If so, does this mean that when all the believers would one day join the Creator in heaven, would they be able to speak such language as the LORD would enable?
Harder questions to answer. But maybe worth contemplating.