Humanity’s Failure without God

KEY VERSE: “They said one to another, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” —Genesis 11:4


THIS narrative begins with the statement that “the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” (Gen. 11:1) This one language was undoubtedly the same as that spoken by Adam. Shem would still be living at this time, and he lived before the Flood when Methuselah lived, who probably was personally acquainted with Adam.

The account relates that as they journeyed from the East … they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.” Then a decision was reached to build a great city and a tower. (vss. 2,3) The motive is stated in the fourth verse: “Let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” In other words, this tower was to be a symbol of unity, something to hold them together, lest they should be dispersed. But the Lord did not look favorably upon the endeavor, so he brought about a confusion of languages among the builders of the tower, and they were unable to continue the work of construction. This in turn did scatter them “abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth.” (vss. 5-9) The diversity of languages thus originating has been a remarkable thing. It has proven to be a strong impediment to worldwide domination or rulership by a single individual or nation. Nationalism and ethnic distinctions have down through the ages been centered around language differences. Even those nations which acquired universal empire status were compelled to rule by dint of greater strength over a host of hostile people speaking other languages. And all of these great powers were eventually overturned by a people of another tongue. Diverse nationalism, with its ethnic hatreds, feelings of social superiority, and longings for power has given this world a very troubled history.

When God confused the languages he set the stage for this great drama of human frustration, fear, and confusion, by which lessons for the ages have been demonstrated.

The impact of what happened at Babel is probably more strongly felt today than ever before in history, because it is leading us to the final lesson in human selfishness—Armageddon. The present world knows that their only hope lies in international unity, which try as they may has proven to be unachievable because of the fragmented speech and cross-purposes of man. Today, to a certain extent, through education the language barriers are breaking down. But this, in turn, has contributed to the combining of selfish interests in giant lineups of global military might which threaten the very existence of the human race.

Is there an answer? Of course, but it lies with God and not with men. The Scriptures tell us that it will not be any more difficult for God to repair the language barriers than it was to confuse. Following the Prophet Zephaniah’s very vivid description of Armageddon, he wrote: “Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent.”—Zeph. 3:7-9

This implies much more than merely a common spoken language. While such will be necessary for clarity of worldwide communication, yet even more importantly it suggests a universal understanding of God’s purpose, and a working together for its fulfillment in the earth.

While, at the time of Babel, everyone seemed to have a spirit of cooperation, they nevertheless did not seek God’s approval or disapproval for their objectives, and failure resulted. When the world learns to call upon the name of the Lord for his consent, then indeed their actions will work out to successful conclusions in harmony with God.

In that day the Lord’s purpose and will for mankind will be so clear that the Prophet Isaiah was moved to write concerning it, “that before they call, I [the Lord] will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” And if they call and if they speak, he writes, “they shall not labor in vain nor bring forth for trouble.”—Isa. 65:23,24

In the one-world concept of wicked Babel, God saw great evil, in the one world under Christ and righteousness—great good.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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