Monday, September 05, 2011

Loving me some Tower of Babel


Okay, so here is the story as told in Genesis, chapter 11:

1And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. 3And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. 4And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reachunto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. 5And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 6And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 7Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. 8So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 9Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

I love this story. And what gets me is the confounding of the languages. Language nut that I am. Am not sure who the "us" refers to. It might be spoken by Father God to the other members of the godhead, or it might be spoken by God to the angels. But the operation is set, accomplished.

Now, everyone who spoke thought they were speaking THE language but they weren't.

A) Instantly, a B) series of instant languages were created C) and downloaded into the minds/tongues of D) groups of people E) as the lesser choice against a future evil.

That's five different miracles all at once.
A) The choreography of the Divine assault, the timing, the instantaneous direction.
B) The creativity of our great Lordm the God of order and rules. He creates these languages with all their rules. I'm not talking about languages that have branched off from others since then, just these FIRST primary languages. Grammatical rules for each language are different. Some cultures start sentences with the object, some with the subject. Pronounciation rules, syntactical rules, also vary. Some cultures have no "L" sound, some have no "R" sound. Some rules are made up of tongue clicks. Yet, at the same time there are certain rules that all languages follow. People must have names, for instance. Or, interestingly, the word for "take" can be used to mean "to understand." (Weird, but that "take" idiom seems to be in so many languages. . .probably connected with the idea of "taking an idea and digesting it.")
C) The great communal mind change. ALL minds are similarly affected at the same time. Through what agency? The language centers of the brain? Suddenly the language centers of all the brains of all these people are changed? What a great God!
 D) They had to be different enough so folks couldn't understand each other. The languages had to be numerous enough so that all these people could not easily find someone to speak with. The languages had to be shared by families, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, so when the big departure happened, people would be able to converse with their own households.
E) And why is this done? In order to prevent humans from destroying themselves by unity. God alone knows what this human created tower to honor humanity would do, but it was obviously gonna cause trouble if humans pooled all their knowledge. Note, at first God thought it was all very interesting and only came down to look. But when he saw the dangers... well, one shudders to think what God saw! But what does he do? He doesn't destroy the tower Himself. He makes them leave off building it. He simply causes language confusion.

 That amazes the heck out of me. Communication was the problem that was pushing humanity toward a fix and communication was what was challenged. The thing they feared and were working against (dispersion and alienation from each other) came upon them. And yet, it seems, the end result God chose was the lesser of two evils.

Okay, so why is God making me ponder and think about this today? Is it about me ascribing glory and power and strength to Him? Is it about a group download into the Christian mind? Is it about the United Nations? Is it about me understanding He can heal Gabe and me? How we need to see the strength and power of God and His angels! What is it about????
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