Skip to main content

Through the Whole Bible: Genesis 11

Have you ever listened to someone talking and thought "I have no idea what language that is?" Perhaps you've commented, alongside Casca, that "it was Greek to me" when someone spoke. Maybe whilst doing your New Testament homework :) that thought arose.

Does that make you wonder why we all speak different languages? Even those of us that speak the same language speak different languages, don't we? (My Canadian, Australian, and English friends who speak derivatives of Southern American…oh, wait, that's not right.)

It's nowhere near ideal. In fact, one of the great ideals of science fiction literature is either a universal language (Galactic Basic in Star Wars) or universal translation ability (the TARDIS in Doctor Who or the aptly named Universal Translator in Star Trek). It's not logical that sheer geographic dispersion would cause so much difference: there's not enough similarity to link the main language groups back to one mother-tongue.

The solution in science fiction comes from, of all places, the radical atheist (his term) Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The characters in this group of stories (what else does one call a five-book trilogy?) get around the galaxy understanding one another thanks to a creature in their ears that helps them understand. It's called…

A Babel Fish.


A Babel Fish.

Not babble, like talking incessantly and making no sense. Nor its related term, blog, which is to type incessantly and make less sense.


Where did he get that idea? That name?

Genesis 11. (LINK)

Really. At this point in history, which fits somewhere during the descriptions of Genesis 10, people all speak the same language. Yet they are using that ability to attempt something that is not what God has commanded. They're building a tower.

Now, that does not sound so bad, but put this backwards to grasp the principle. God had told the people that came out of the ark to spread out and fill the earth. They are trying, now, to build a tower to keep themselves from spreading out. It's a problem of obedience.

Obedience is crucial. God sees and understands more than we do and so His commands are to be obeyed. Often, we can't quite put together why we should obey something, but it's there to be obeyed nonetheless. The commands are not as arbitrary as they look. Let's tear down this one:

What do you need for a massive building project?

Unified leadership. A centralized boss. A ruler to tell you how to build.

Who is the human race supposed to look towards?

God alone as their centralized ruler.

What is the conflict?

That a human ruler will invariably:

1. Pick different goals for the people than simple obedience to God.

2. Deny people the right to obey God fully, substituting himself for the final authority.

Babel was one outbreak of human dictatorship versus the freedom to obey God. God put a stop to it by confounding human language. Now, the question I have for you is this:

What will you do to stand for the individual human freedom to respond to God?


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…