Myth is not only the native language of faith, it is the native language of language.
By that I mean that all language, however blunt or pointed, however plain or simple, consists of symbols, in which this is not that but stands for that. Who can forget the eloquent enactment of this in The Miracle Worker — the breakthrough into a new world of meaning, when Helen Keller finally grasped the concept of concepts and their signification — and gained entry to that human and humane world from which she had been isolated. And it is no accident that the first word she learned was water.
Language itself is then a kind of mythology in miniature, a world of symbols as rich and mysterious as that of nature, which Baudelaire described as a murmuring forest. The very act of saying that chair — this smudge of ink on a page, or flashing and impermanent illumination of patterned phosphors (or more likely, diodes), can stand for the thing I sit upon — or, if you are French, for the very substance of your body (a word made flesh indeed) — is a minor act of mythmaking.
Which brings me to the reminder that the world came to be through the Word, who was in the beginning — source and font not only of all that is, but of all the ways and means by which we grasp after reality with our minds. All of theology is finding words for God, as Bishop John Robinson reminded us, of finding the logos for theos. And that act is in itself a form of symbolic myth-making, for no word can contain the Word who is God.
I am also reminded of the Hebrew roots in all of this: that dabar means “thing” as much as “word” — and the power of God to create was manifest as God spoke the world into being.
Which brings me back to myth and magic: the favorite spell of the stage magician, abracadabra, is a corruption of the Hebrew, “I create as I speak.” As poets have long known, language can build a world in the imagination, but it can also constitute a world in reality, and make the real world a better or a worser place, enriched or impoverished as the case may be.
To think we can (or should or would want to) live without myths is a fable.
— Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG