Holy Spirit Interactive
May The Spirit Be With You
Inside HSI Youth

Bible Geek

The Tower of Babel

Could the Tower of Babel parable be the reason why there are so many different languages in the world?

In short, yes, it could be a parable for how we have so many different languages. It can also be an allegory for what happens when we are prideful and how faith, evangelization and community do and do not work. Then again, it could be far more than a parable and far more than an allegory. Many of the events that were recorded as having transpired in incidents surrounding the Tower of Babel might just be a historical fact.

Archaeologists have unearthed, over the years, traces of large "tower like" structures, early world skyscrapers, if you will, called ziggaruts. These ziggaruts, as structures, prove that the early inhabitants of the area formerly known as Mesopotamia were not only capable of building towering structures, but were willing to do so, attempted it and, on more than one occasion and in more than one location, succeeded in doing so.

Several things are important to note within the story. Read the following story and pick out the details.

"The whole world spoke the same language, using the same words. While men were migrating in the east, they came upon a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, "Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire." They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth." The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men had built. Then the LORD said: "If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have started to do this, nothing will later stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and there confuse their language, so that one will not understand what another says." Thus the LORD scattered them from there all over the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. It was from that place that he scattered them all over the earth." Genesis 11:1-9

Notice the details of the story. Everyone was speaking the same language, but their pride got in the way. They thought they could earn and build their way to Heaven, their goal was to "make a name for themselves". Their pride was their undoing, that's where the division and confusion come into play.

When it becomes about you and not God, you divide yourself from Him. That's why sin is so deadly and so communal (it affects the entire community, not just you). We see modern day "Babels" all over the place. Look at the magazine rack in your local grocery store. Listen to the "glamorous" ones on awards shows and on MTV...very often, too often, it's about them and not God, it's about the creation's talents and not the Creator who gave them their abilities and talent (or lack thereof).

It's in those moments, when we're "not right with God" that we're not speaking the same language with Him, and we're doomed to have division with our brothers and sisters. Only when we are truly aligned with God and with His will for us, and in a state of total humility, can we (and our brothers and sisters in Christ) build God's Kingdom on earth --a Kingdom designed for His glory.

And if you build it, people will come. Begin by rooting out sin in your own life, that way you'll always be "speaking Jesus' language". When you find others who speak that language--you'll be amazed at what you are able to build for the glory of God.

E-mail this page to a friend