Rebuilding Babel

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The Tower of Babel by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter-a-Day Genesis 11

“Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Genesis 11:6 (NLT)

Over the past ten years I have come to be more and more intrigued by the story of the Tower of Babel presented in today’s chapter. I believe that the story is more relevant today than ever and I believe it’s important for us to connect the dots. For those who’ve never read the story (and haven’t read all of today’s chapter), the Cliff Notes version goes like this: All of the people spoke one language. They began to advance quickly as they learned how to make bricks and construct cities. Using their advancing technology they made a tower which would “reach to the sky” and “make them famous.” God, not happy with how quickly human kind was advancing and concerned about human pride, responded with the verse I’ve quoted above. God scattered the people across the globe and confused their languages.

I believe the story of human history is the story of our slow return to Babel. From being scattered and our languages confused, we have slowly reached out, explored, conquered, mapped, and increased our knowledge, technology and communication. In the past few decades we have once again become people of one language: the language of the internet. As we become one people and one language technology is advancing at unheard of levels. How ironic that last week I attended a professional conference last week in which the technology of Speech Analytics (e.g. computers translate and analyze mass quantities of recorded customer interactions and place a dizzying amount of information at your fingertips) was presented to those in attendance as the emerging solution that will revolutionize the way we all do business. The name of the particular product that was presented: Contact Babel complete with a logo of a little stair-step tower

I submit that our generation has begun to rebuild the Tower of Babel using Cat-5 cable, fiber optics, micro processors, satellite streams and DNA strands. We hear whispers in the press and on the web of doing what previously would be thought impossible. Not only can we cure disease with genetics but we can also order genetically designed children ala carte. The internet is tearing down international boundaries and making it impossible for governments to control information (it’s no wonder the U.N. wants to bring the internet under its control). We are hearing more and more about becoming a one world economy without a physical currency. And, all along the way I watch and listen as God becomes more and more irrelevant, passé, and obsolete to a popular culture hell-bent to embrace its own self-deification.

Then I sit at my desk in the wee hours of the morning and ask myself where this is all leading. Don’t worry, we’ll get back to the book of Revelation at some point. In the meantime, hold on tight. I think we’re in for a bumpy ride.

6 thoughts on “Rebuilding Babel”

  1. Going back and reading this chapter, verses 26-32 stood out to me. Terah fathered Abram, Nahor, and Haran. Haran fathered Lot. Then in verse 28, “Haran died in the presence of his father, Terah.” Later, once his remaining sons were married, Terah takes Lot, his orphaned grandson, and Abram, his son whose wife is barren, and goes towards Canaan, BUT settles in HARAN, where Terah dies.
    This is my own uneducated inference, but it seems like Abram’s family could have moved into the promise a generation earlier if Terah, though seeing Haran die, had not died in him (vs 32).
    Perhaps this is part of why the first thing God instructed Abram to do in chapter 12 was to leave his country AND his kindred. It’s adds another layer to the sacrifice of Isaac as well. He lived amidst his father’s grief over his brother’s death, so he had even more reason to fear losing Isaac, but he still chose faith.

    1. That’s an interesting inference. I must say that I’ve witnessed similar behavior throughout my journey. It is sometimes so easy to cling to a lost loved one that we are paralyzed to move into the promise. As mentioned in a previous post, a faith journey always requires leaving something behind. What was it Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead?”

  2. 6“Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”

    Is God toying with humans here? Is he threatened by their collective power and unity? Probably neither, but its a humorous read this morning. I also noticed from this chapter how human life shortened over 2 generations after the flood. Humans went from living hundreds of years, likely in order to repopulate the earth, to only a couple of hundred. It’s interesting to see how God orchestrated that.

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