We take for granted that when we call someone on the phone, send an email, text or IM someone, or write a blog, they will understand what are trying to communicate (assuming we share a common language). Obviously, this was not always the case. The other night, I was watching The Naked Archaeologist on television and he traced the origin of the alphabet out of Egypt, across the Sinai peninsula, up through modern day Israel and north and eastward (to the Greeks, then Romans, etc.). Essentially, he claimed the spread of the alphabet tracked the exodus of the Bible. The time frames, archeology, and ancient writings all seemed to match.
Now, this archaeological discovery did not claim that hieroglyphics or other ancient types of picture writing were traced to the same alphabet, only that the alphabet as we know it (symbolic pictures or letters that can be arranged to form words, not just a picture of a bird to show a bird, but the ability to spell B-I-R-D) seems to trace its origins to the time and location of the Hebrew exodus from Egypt.
While this is a really cool discovery, I cannot say that it came as a big surprise to me. I believe this truth is also revealed in the ancient Hebrew/Semitic alphabet. In fact, the Roman Alpha and Beta are derived from the ancient Hebrew ALEPH and BET, thus, the word "alphabet" is actually the Hebrew aleph-bet.
As I have discussed in earlier posts, the ancient Hebrew alphabet is made up of 22 letters or pictographs. The first letter of the alphabet is the ALEPH (similar to our letter "A"). The ALEPH is pictured as an ox head, and symbolically means strength or God, as in "the Lord is my strength". The word ALEPH is spelled ALEPH (A)(ox head, God); LAMED (L)(pictured as a shepherd staff or ox goad, meaning to shepherd or lead); and PEY (Ph)(pictured as a mouth, meaning to speak).
The Hebrew word El (spelled ALEPH LAMED) is a common Hebrew word for God. Actually, many of the ancient Hebrew pictographs discovered by archaeologists are of the Hebrew word El (an ox head and shepherd staff). So, every time anyone says the name El, they are saying, "the Lord is my shepherd". If you missed it, see the discussion of Elohim (the longer version of El, as prophetic of Psalm 23) in the post The Lord is My Shepherd.
So, for the origin of the alphabet, all you have to do is look to the first letter of the ancient Hebrew aleph-bet: the letter ALEPH, which is actually GOD (EL) SPEAKS. The creation of an alphabet occurred when God first spoke.