“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech…Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens and let us make a name for ourselves…’ But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth…Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth, and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Gen. 11:1-9)
The story of the Tower of Babel occurs early on in the Book of Genesis, directly after the account of Noah and the flood. Though next in the queue, obviously sufficient time had passed for Noah and his sons to again populate the earth. They were fruitful per God’s command, for according to the story enough people had amassed to build a large city replete with advanced building techniques. This allowed them to begin to build a tower high enough that its summit would be “in the heavens.” Something about this tower caused God’s concern and I don’t believe it was the height of a building. We’re not told how tall it was, but given the technology then and now, if height alone were the reason, we would have no modern skyscrapers in existence today.
What was it then that caused God to be aroused from heaven and come down to Babel to see what was going on? The prophet Zechariah records the nature of things when He is aroused as never being trivial in nature when he says, “Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord for He is aroused from His holy habitation” (Zech. 2)! Rather than sticks and stones, I believe what caused Him to be aroused is what God always examines to see the “why” and not just the “what.” 1st Samuel 16 records, “For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” God perceived something amiss in men’s hearts. Was it that they had bought into the same lie Adam and Eve succumbed to, “they could ascend to the heights to be like God?” God showed up to see what was going on shortly after that encounter as well.
To understand God’s concern, I believe we need to examine who exactly the Babelonians were trying to impress. According to the story, the Babelonians were “trying to make a name for themselves” before someone. If indeed Noah and his family were the only ones to survive the flood, then we could only be discussing one people here: one language, no “nations or tribes” with differing cultures. If there were no people but one, who could they possibly be trying to impress but God?! It would appear the kingdom of man was trying to challenge the kingdom of God, a scenario the globalists are determined to return to today. No more nations that mess up their Utopian concept of man, just one people and one government.
By process of elimination, the Tower of Babel had to be a challenge to God’s heavenly domain. God knew when men were coming against men, for He was the One who would typically institute such conflicts. But not here. “Mano-a-mano” conflicts would not have caused Him to be aroused for such a visit. It would appear the challenge to God here was basically the same challenge He was confronted with in the fall of Lucifer and, likewise, Adam and Eve in the Garden, “You can ascend to the heights and be like God.” I can see no alternative scenario, inasmuch as there were no other kingdoms in existence at the time.
What does this have to do with us today? How could we be, as the title of this article proposes, returning to the Tower of Babel? What Adam and I discussed during our road trip was, through modern advancements in computer technology and the networking of that technology the internet provides, we have adopted a feeling of the possibilities for mankind being limitless, and we are indeed becoming one global community again regardless of former boundaries of language and culture. In this, we propose mankind may indeed be creating a new Tower of Babel with the power to, in its perception, challenge God’s sovereignty. Just as Babel’s “world community” thought their construction technologies gave them the feeling they could challenge God to the “top of the heavens,” so also our computer and internet technologies are giving us the same false perceptions of our own place under creation.
And consider this: since the onset of Covid-19, something I have written extensively about on this Blog site, millions have through necessity been forced to increasingly depend on computer and internet technologies. People who never understood nor employed internet meeting rooms now use them regularly. The use of on-line shopping has skyrocketed, with people afraid to go out to the stick and brick stores, and daily conversations that used to be personal are now done through video calls, texts, and emails. And have you noticed how everything is now stored in “the cloud [“the heavens”]?” It is very difficult trying to save a document without being hooked up to your Wi-fi, because it must be stored in the cloud. Documents, pictures, videos and all manners of media are now stored there, and if you want to be part of modern civilization “the cloud” is where most everything you need will be.
None of this is merely “happening.” In my Why the Insanity? series on this Blog site I proposed we are living in the days Jesus prophesied of as the “beginning of the birth pangs,” where realm would arise against realm. We are beginning to see forces arising on both sides of eternity’s chasm such as have never been seen before. We have also entered a time when everyone is being revealed for whom they follow: no more fence sitting and no more “moderates. If that is so, the kingdom of man [realm] arising to directly confront the kingdom of heaven [realm] for dominion over men’s hearts and minds is not hard to understand at all. And I believe God’s response will be the same, as He has now been aroused from the heavens to come down and see what’s going on!
What does it mean to build the tower of Babel? What does it mean to attempt to establish one’s self (or society) in the heavens? Why would we even care to try? What is in it for us? How might I be doing this? Is it only the wicked who attempt to challenge God in the heavens or could we, his well-meaning people, be just as likely to try?
I used to think the tower was for the wicked, for those who wished to maliciously compete with God, to make a fool of him or simply replace him. Instead, could the error of Babel instead be a result of humanity’s ignorance, whether we love God or despise Him? Could we all be more susceptible to attempting to establish ourselves in the heavens than we realize? After nearly a year of pursuing these questions, I believe the answer to be yes. I believe it is our ignorance that drives us to build our towers, not our love or loathing of God.
So, are we rebuilding the tower of Babel today? Well, I believe we are always building towers, saint and sinner alike. Just as Jesus would say you are guilty of murder if you hold hatred in your heart or guilty of adultery if you look with lust, in the same way, I believe we as people are often, in ignorance, attempting to establish ourselves in the heavens. I believe, as people, we often forget we are not God, either in our malicious attempts to dethrone Him or in our well-meaning attempts to “do His work.”
So, what’s wrong with the internet? In my opinion, nothing really, at least not intrinsically. However, just as the tower of Babel became the environment through which the ignorance of an entire civilization was amplified, I believe the internet has the potential to become the same for us today. I believe that, if we are not careful, we too may find ourselves united in a collective ignorance that leads ultimately to our own destruction, displacement and confusion instead of unity.
I believe our proclivity to build towers is seated much deeper within each of us than we may realize even if our intentions are pure. I believe the internet to be the most powerful tool the world has ever known. And I believe that if we are not careful, we have the potential to find ourselves laying bricks besides millions without even knowing it, well-meaning or not. I believe the answers and the issues lie deep within us. Answers which, if found, could eventually lead to a future of unprecedented peace and unity. Or issues, if left unresolved, could eventually lead to destruction, displacement and confusion at a magnitude the world has never seen.
What is the mindset of people or cultures who allow Towers of Babel in their own lives, the danger inherent in where our technology is taking us, and what will God’s likely response be to it? Those will be the subjects of parts II and III of this series. Stay tuned!