Understanding the Old Testament

The Tower of Babel

(All quotations are from the New American Standard Bible translation)

Ever since Adam and Eve, our pride has been our biggest problem. I am not talking about pride in the sense of positive self-esteem, justified confidence in one’s own abilities, or the satisfaction of a job well done. I mean the haughty pride that makes us think we are self-sufficient, that places unlimited confidence in the potential of mankind, and that revels in human accomplishments, all while ignoring the inevitability of death and decay.

I’m talking about the arrogance that tells us we don’t need God—or worse, that we can “be like God.” (See Adam and Eve.)

And isn’t that what Genesis 11:1-9 is all about? Men tried to build a tower that would reach “into heaven.” It was to be a structure so grand that it would “make for ourselves a name.” The Tower of Babel was all about pride. Its sole purpose was to demonstrate the greatness of mankind. That is a recipe for disaster, because that kind of pride pulls us away from God by fooling us into thinking He is irrelevant.

So God frustrated their plan by confusing their speech—that is, giving them different languages—and scattering them on the face of the earth. He did not do this to be mean, but to check their pride. I believe He did it to show them their own weakness. For when we see our own fragility, we realize that we need God after all. That is the source of that famous saying, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.”

We are often closest to God when we are at our weakest.

Question to ponder or discuss: Has our scientific progress given us a false sense of our own invulnerability?

Copyright 2017 by Don Davidson

My book, Beyond Blind Faith: Reasons for the Hope We Have (1 Peter 3:15), is available on Amazon.com as either a print book or a Kindle e-book. Here's the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MVHVHP Read Chapter 1 (pdf format)

 

 

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