It's party time for the guys in the tower of Babel
Sodom meet Gomorrah, Cain meet Abel
Have a ball y'all
- Tower of Babel, Elton John
There was a time that I understood this in just one way: the plain reading of the text, as many would describe it. Historical, scientific, nominal. Over the last several years, I have come to appreciate that it need not be this way – and, in fact, for countless centuries it was not this way.
Could we not say today that everyone on earth has one language? I can translate any document into English with a click or two of my mouse. Do we not have “one language”?
Yet, it is safe to say that they did not have google translate three or four millennia ago. But they did have trade. Significant and meaningful trade, over vast distances. Consider just what such trade requires. What does it require today?
Trust. Trust in your trading partner, trust in the medium of exchange, trust in the logistics flow and supply chain, trust in the stability of prices, trust in your employees and customers, trust in the rules and regulations, trust in the weather, trust in the soil. When you have these – even if not perfectly, but reasonably so and reasonably reliably – are you not speaking the same language with others all around the world?
And what happens when this is the case – this one language? Does man use it for good or for ill? Man being human, the answer is clear.
4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”
Pride. Replace God. Remove Him from society.
It seems this idea is not agreeable to God:
5 And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. 6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
Or, if you want to avoid the “God” part of this story, then just consider: any universalizing governance structure or universal institution (if it isn’t under God’s authority) presents the same problem (and since this paragraph is for those who want to avoid the “God” of this story, then this means every single universalizing governance structure presents the same problem).
And isn’t this what our betters have in mind? In store for the rest of us? This one language, this universalizing institution for governance and control?
God has solved that problem before:
7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.”
This is simple: destroy the trust in all of the factors that underlies widespread trade. The medium of exchange, etc. This will do more to “confuse the language” than anything else that could be done today. So, maybe it isn’t God actively destroying these factors. Maybe God just knew that it was inevitable whenever man decides to place himself in the place of God. The laws of economics, the laws of nature: maybe God set these in motion to do the heavy lifting whenever these were violated to the point of breaking.