The book of Genesis reveals an interesting chapter in the history of man. After the flood, the descendants of Noah had one language. When they had increased greatly they wanted to stay together. Long forgotten was God’s command to Adam to ‘… fill the earth….’ 1 With one language, they wanted a city where they could settle. They moved eastward and settled in the plain of Shinar (Babylonia).
# Why did they move east?
In Scripture, ‘east’ signifies separation from God:
- ‘Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden…’ 2 God knew in advance that Adam and Eve would opt to follow the serpent’s advice and not obey Him.
- ‘After He [God] drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim….’ 3
- ‘So Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.’ 4
- The people who moved east to Shinar, wanted to live separated from God.
# They built a city.
- 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 and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.’ 5
- The city had to have one defining characteristic: No instructions from God allowed.
# God knows man’s plans.
- God was well aware of their plans to build a ‘secular’ society. They were probably gifted people, accomplished in various trades and skills. They wanted to be independent, not fettered by God’s plans for them.
- The words, ‘a tower that reaches unto heaven,’ might refer to astrology, the worship of the sun, stars, et cetera. The occult always fascinated people, especially since those ‘gods’ do not require a righteous life. Idolatry and immorality often go together.
# What did God do?
God put an end to their grand plan when He confused their common language. They started to speak different languages, so they no longer understood each other. The result? They scattered all over the world and filled the earth according to God’s original plan. The word ‘Babel’ means ‘confused’.
# The Tower of Babel and the present.
- The devil’s wish to build cities without the influence of God never stopped. Today we see how he inspires people all over, especially, the Western world. Many atheistic, secular organisations aim to ‘build’ Godless societies. They do their best to lock God out of schools, businesses, entertainment, et cetera.
- The result? As in Babel, confusion follows and abounds – for example, the gender issue, marriage, the truth of Scripture, the deity of Jesus and many other subjects. There is a proliferation of the occult and other strange ideas, like someone who marries self or even a robot.
If an incident in ancient Bible history is true today, how much more is God’s promise that a new ‘nation’ will one day live on a new heaven and earth? We can trust Scripture.
- Genesis 1:28
- Genesis 2:8
- Genesis 3:23
- Genesis 4:16
- Genesis 11:4