The story of the tower of babel is one of my favourites. Genesis reads like my first bible story book, separated by genealogies. Creation, Noah, tower of babel.
It is a tribute to the massive energy of humans that God is impressed, even concerned, by the tower. As high as it is though, he has to come down to see it.
On balance God thinks it’s better to have that energy diluted, so he breaks communication. It is a comment on man’s propensity to sin. It reminds me of Jesus’ teaching on earthly authorities, how they are established for our protection, so we don’t kill each other in opportunistic anarchy.
God had to keep reigning in his broken creation to give us space to know him. Left to our own devices, unfettered, in dense concentrations like cities, we achieve marvels, but also have the propensity to destroy each other.
Of course as the modern world has progressed, both the height of buildings and the brokenness of communication is being challenged by our ingenuity again. I am actually incredibly inspired by suggestions that the internet is probably the greatest anti poverty tool ever invented. Google, with hubris, initially called their translation service babelfish, after Douglas Adams (and genesis).
But it’s worth also fearing, the internet hasn’t stopped the world being thrown into the greatest refugee crisis we’ve ever known. The humanist view says better understanding and communication will inevitably improve the world. This story is more cynical. John Lennon wondered if we could imagine no war, just a brotherhood of man. We can’t, it seems.
Father the sadness of the broken world is overwhelming. The reality of how much we need you makes all the silliness of our culture seem all the more shallow. Help me be a burning light for you.
And then we get carefully set out the family line of shem and of terah, all leading to Abram. Not much to comment here, except that the lifespans are getting shorter the further away from Genesis we get. We are in an era where they are getting longer. People will routinely start living past 100 again. Perhaps they will eventually meet up with these biblical figures, which here are around 200. And of course, we are looking at a family line of Gods interaction with the world. The family line tht will see the Israelite nation founded and chosen by God, and eventually bring forth the messiah.