Babel revisited - will this forum survive the dreaded day?

So I look around and I see things very similar to the story of the Tower of Babel:

  1. We have many, many immensely tall buildings that hearken the triumph of man’s human teamwork and ingenuity.
  2. Globally we seem to have a singular trading language: English and now global trade is the norm.
  3. We say things like what was written: “… let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth” when we take great pride in our wonders. This sort of message is broadcasted to us in our education (in particularly in our science and history lessons), in TV advertisements, at big events and it is even mingled in when we complement ourselves on our charitable works and progress (like conquering diseases)… let alone often when we marvel at our cool new mobile phone or hybrid car.

All of these things have happened very recently in human history. And we know from history that God does not often punish immediately.

So the story in the Bible triggers a sense of tremendous uneasiness when I see all these wonderful things that we have done that far exceed what was done in the days of Babel.

It feels like we might be due for a severe windstorm and scattering or something worse…

However, the Church acknowledges the good that comes from progress (in particular the use of modern communications to spread the Word and Love of God and neighbor) and emphasizes the importance of how it is viewed. From the Catechism:

1049*"…although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human society.”

So if indeed our whole world is a re-creation of Babel and we are meeting the conditions that triggered God’s Just punishment, do you think God will wipe out (or by our greed and envy let us wipe out) all of the wonders we have created including all of our electronics which we have become extremely dependent upon?

Or do you think some of this technological progress may indeed be saved after the coming punishment because in its essence it is “good” and is an important ingredient(“vital concern to the kingdom of God”) in the post-punishment era.

I don’t believe anyone feels they know the answer (but if you do - possibly from some reliable private revelation, feel free to include it) which is why I pose this as a philosophical question. Thoughts?

So I believe that the OT is sorta relived from Christ to now. Yet with one exception. Christ is running the show. So while the people of babel became so filled with love of mammon that they hated God; the world today is different. Now there are people who hate God yet there are many children (of God) out there as well. Even if chastisement is brought upon us as long as you stay close to God as a child, who are you to worry? I think all of this is showing the perfected way things should have gone had satan not tried to usurp the power and authority over humanity from God.

“27For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. 28When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all”

‘‘7"YOU HAVE MADE HIM FOR A LITTLE WHILE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS; YOU HAVE CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR, AND HAVE APPOINTED HIM OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS; 8YOU HAVE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.’’

‘‘None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.’’

‘‘6Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;…’’

[quote=Genesis 11, NIV]11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As people moved eastward,[a] they found a plain in Shinar** and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 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.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 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.** 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel[c]—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

What do you suppose God means by the bolded section? Almost sounds like he feels threatened.

If God was concerned about a brick tower, imagine how freaked out He is by the Voyager space probes.

Well imagine that in order for man’s happiness to be complete God must dwell in us and be with us. So had man been able to continue, without knowing the Love of God, only pain and misery and evil would have resulted. So in wisdom God confused blinded and prideful man to prevent our destruction; to prepare us for the King of Glory: Christ Our Lord.

What about having unity and a big tower would make God unable to dwell among us? We have a fair degree of unity now and a whole bunch of even bigger towers, and yet more people than ever follow Yahweh.

So many reasons but I’ll try and explain. Sin existed in everyone prior to Christ. Love, godly love, was missing by having never known it (due to sin). Christ was the only remedy. Perhaps the Gospel would never have been heard, or the Abrahamic promises never made, had God allowed it to continue. Yet, being All wise and All knowing, He chose to confuse them. It was an act of love. It also was him directing the show towards His Son Jesus. The angels and satan were testing us and God this whole time btw. Remember Job? Thats the sorta stuff that went on on a macro level as well. So it wasn’t only humanity God was interested in. Godwas also playing the chess game with satan until Checkmate at Calvary.

Seems awfully redundant and overcomplicated.

It seems more likely to me that it’s just a legend that got passed down through the generations about why people speak different languages and why there are different cultures. I mean, scientifically speaking that’s not how languages form and it’s not actually why we have different cultures. The idea of everyone living in the same place and having the same language only a few thousand years ago is pretty strongly contradicted by, well, just about everything in archaeology from that period and earlier.

As a non-literal parable it’s a little weird, but plausible. In the OT, Yahweh does a lot of things for no apparently good reason.

Sometimes we sell short God’s Perfect Justice.

Just as a woman led mankind to the loss of immortality, and God use another woman as the ark of our salvation, the crime (or crimes) resulting in the confusion of speech in the story of Babel was resolved perfectly by God; by the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, where confusion of tongues for the cause of spreading the God News was rescinded.

So, personally, I hold no concern for the earthly ambitions of man by the engineering endeavors of modern ultra-skyscrapers, or a predominance of one language, as history repeating itself…especially salvation history.

In my mind, the examples of Eve and the Blessed Virgin as the New Eve, Adam and the Christ as the New Adam, Baptism as typology for the Flood, Passover as typology for the Eucharist, the Garden of Paradise of creation to be recreated in the Garden of Paradise on the Last Day, show us that this perfect balance, perfect justice, of God happens once, rather than to be repeated again…Just as He said he would not destroy the world with a flood again, I think neither will he repeat other punishments, even for similar indiscretions and disobedience by man.

Peace and all good!

Chess can seem reduntant and overly complicated to someone not familiar with it. Power is like chess with a constant flux in pieces it can be very difficult to keep up. Now you say it is very unlikely that this could have occured based on the archeological evidence lacking for it… There was lot’s of archeological evidence lacking for many biblical events that later were discovered. So can you say that for sure this did not take place? Also archeology only points to Mesopotamia; and an expansion outward from there. Also why would you say this is non-literal?

I can never fathom the religious mindset that seeks to demonize human achievement as signs of the end. The Church itself champions the ideal of man being in God’s image in likeness, deserving of dignity, capable of wonder, and possessing a healthy sense of self-importance.

Does believing in the reality of sin really take all that away? It sounds to me more like an excuse to morally browbeat mankind from being the best. (And no, I don’t think living like a ragged Franciscan or a John-the-Baptist style caveman is what all our existence amounts to.)

Long-term do you think it will stay that way? English is only the third most popular language on Earth behind Chinese and Spanish.

Because there were people living in the Americas 10,000+ years ago.

Unless you think the Tower of Babel story happened 100,000 years ago.

I can’t say I ever understood the point of tearing the tower down. Between limitations on compression structures (and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have been using rebar in their stone back in those days) and the thinning of the atmosphere as one goes up higher I don’t think they would exactly be able to make a tower to the heavens.

It also seems unnecessary in explaining languages. Languages evolve and as people become socially cutoff from each other their languages mix and evolve differently. I’m not sure what contribution the story of the tower makes to explanations of linguistic drift.

I remember some one making a camp for deaf kids that didn’t know sign language. The kids among themselves came up with their own form of gestural communication. It gives me the impression that social beings will on their own come up with some method of communication even if they have not been taught one.

This might be a bit off topic but I always feel like those stats needs a second glance. For instance, what about population of countries predominantly speaking either language? There’s also another elephant in the room: Isn’t ‘Chinese’ language a huge misnomer? Often times people are actually talking about either Mandarin or Cantonese. (Mandarin is apparently the more dominant of the two but really, you can’t always expect the businessman on the street to know the difference.)

Human nature is the same for every generation, and it is handicapped by sin and it’s effects from birth since the fall of Adam. There is constant change in the activity of men, science is one of them. Technological advancement does not equate to moral advancement, the challenges are still the same. Science has made it possible to bring more communication to millions of people, which is a good thing, and it also can be misused as experience has shown. The good always outweighs the bad. eg. Now the “Good News of Jesus Christ” can be promulgated throughout the world, and this is most crucial for mankind. It is the salvation of mankind. Where-ever sin abounds, grace abounds more. We are living in the Messianic period, end times, how long it will last only God knows, Jesus made that clear. History has been filled with episodes that suggested that it might be the end of the world, eg. The atomic war threat with Russia. But we are still here by God’s providence. Similar situations appear in each generation, now we have terrorists.

The tower of Babel is an ancient story to give a theological reason for the division of mankind, man from man, and man from God Primitively only, an explanation for the origin of different languages. The evil in the people of Babel was their desire to make a name for themselves, rather than build a tower to the heavens, it was pride. Human smallness not God’s divine impotence is emphasized with the Lord’s descent. Babel means “confound” The city’s implied defeat symbolizes man’s revolt against God

The Voyager space probes are no big deal.

After all, humankind has stuck its toe into space, and has turned back. NASA is currently struggling to regain the human spaceflight capability it had fifty years ago.

Human life will not be scattered again. Where is left to be scattered to!!!


It’s probably not that much different than Spanish or English which differ from country to country. I have books on the differences between U.S. English and U.K. English alone. You may be able to slide if you vacation in the U.K., over a weekend, but if you move there, it may not be the easiest thing in the world. Furthermore most of the English speakers in the world learned it as a second language and understand enough to do business in it and perhaps form friendships. But they just aren’t comfortable in using the language 24/7, especially if they learned it as adults.

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