Babel On

Reference — Genesis 11:1–9, NIV **

Previously, I wrote about the event of the Tower of Babel and what was wrong with building it. Foremost, it was constructed to be a stairway to heaven. Later, in Jesus teaching He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber!” (John 10:1, NLT) In a way, the Tower would be the foundation for all idolatry — mankind inventing their own ideas about a superior being(s) and their own images of who or what was in charge of the supernatural order of life.

This morning, more has occurred to me about this recollection of that Tower project. What is additionally wrong is the presumption of making a name for themselves. Glorifying themselves and their intelligence rather than glorifying God and His wisdom. Children do that often. For example, I thought I was smarter than my parents and my thinking and my ways were better than theirs. Well, in the School of Hard Knocks I learned differently. The paths I chose were very often harmful to myself as well as harmful to others. (Note that in my recent research “harmful” is what “sinful” means.)

Another problem was, as it turns out, God had said to Mankind “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth.” Wherein “replenish” is meant to convey the action of “inhabiting the whole Earth.” People were purposed to continue to spread throughout all of Creation, not to settle in only one place — not to settle for less than all of God’s benefits He has in store for us.

Finally, what also occurred to me this morning was the aspect of technology. Today, there is an Industrial Revolution in Technology, erupting into a place of prevalence and dominance.

What did God see wrong or dangerous about that? Machines that can eventually “learn” to peel a banana? Silly. There is no apparent harm in that, as far as I can tell. However, in God’s eyes, it is what Mankind has done with Technology that is so harmful (sinful) and destructive (evil) . What did God know way back then about our tendencies and how we would turn out, how Mankind would use their ingenuity and learning? What did God foresee and foreknow?

Perhaps this: Exploring Space was first motivated by curiosity and wonderment. Next, it became an intense competition, the “Space Race.” What is it today? It has become a Militarized Zone for spying and weaponizing. Great progress for Mankind. Right?

This passage of the Bible might be revealing. It is the preface for the story of Noah’s Flood. “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. (Genesis 6:5–6, NIV)

Those are the several things that would have been the harmful and destructive consequences had God not interfered with the foolish Tower plan. Many think of Babel as just another “little episode” in the Bible, a fable that illustrates a moral to a story. To Believers it illustrates the larger priorities of God. It does, in fact, illustrate perhaps the most important of the Bible’s projects, being God the Father protecting us from ourselves. God is a good, good Father. He only wants the best for us. He wants no harm to fall on us. Yet, He respects our free will that He gave us. He hopes we chose the right way, to trust and obey.

** — “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar and settled there. They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between