Friday, August 31, 2007

Does God Fear Human Greatness?

The story of the Tower of Babel is quite revealing; not so much as a historical document, but for its insight into God's perspective. Here's a summary of the story from Genesis 11:1-9:

The people of the earth were establishing a city and proposed using new technology (bricks and tar) to build a skyscraper to unite them and make a name for themselves. This is similar motivation for today's skycrapers, although brick and tar won't make a very tall tower. But then God came down to earth to take a look and said: "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other." And so God used a nasty trick of confusing their communication to scuttle their plans.

But why, if God is so great, should he be worried about a tower that is a hundredth of the height of modern skycrapers? Clearly it is not just the tower, but the whole idea of human cooperation and progress that he doesn't like. But what is wrong with cooperation and progress? Surely those aren't bad. So it has got to be the greatness humans achieve through cooperation and progress that has God worried. Human progress and greatness threaten God, and so God knocks us off the ladder.

Perhaps it is like this. One child with an infinite number of Lego sets sees another child with just one lego set starting to build himself a tower. The first feels threatened and knocks down the second child's tower.


  1. I was just reading this story actually and I also found it strange. It doesn't seem to be in line with God's character or really make much sense for an omnipotent God.

  2. Hi Nigel,

    Perhaps the problem is that Christians harmonize something that can't be harmonized: the OT God: Yahweh, who was a tribal god of the Hebrews, and the NT/Greek-God who is omnipotent among other properties.


  3. Dm and Nigel:

    Do you think it could possibly be the mercy of God withholding them from a destructive end? Because practically, they could only make the tower so high until they reached the ozone layer and outer space. There is no oxygen in outer space and the people would have died. They didn't have air tanks, or body suits or spaceships like we do. they would have died from being too greedy and curious.

  4. Either that, or the whole point of the story was to explain why there are so many different languages and ethnic diversity in the world. Like Noah's Ark, it is nothing more then a fanciful allegory, infused with mythology. It doesn't make sense if you're approaching the story as factual history... It is mythology, and therefore is not rational.

  5. Even if it is mythological, it still ascribes a personality and/or characteristics to God; at least what the writer thinks God is like. And that God seems to be made in the image of man rather than the other way around...

  6. I still do not understand why Christians included the old testament as part of their bible. I mean, I know their reasoning and how they tried to make it fit their beliefs, but it just doesn't work out. You can't reconcile Yahweh with Jesus and the trinity. It's utterly ridiculous, to be frank.

  7. It seems like God has to jump through a lot of hoops to fulfill human expectations. So really though, who invented who?

  8. I don't know about God fearing human greatness. Can a father be scared of his son being great?
    But certainly he is scared of human arrogance.
    Because this arrogance keeps us away from him. That's what I think. Hope this helps

  9. Hi, my name is David and 19 years old...
    Direct to the point :)
    God does not fear Human greatness. Bear in mind, He is the one who created us. But how about a different approach to this whole thing, because the idea of "God fearing men"??, does not make sense at all, because HE IS GOD, our creator. "People fear God...." and I can back up everything that im saying with a whole lot of scriptures// But how about these following approaches: Consider that back then, there is a new whole big world, waiting to be discovered but all the people were stuck in one location, building something useless ( reaching the ozone layer and then what...) We know that God is spirit, so God saved them a whole lot of trouble. Plus they believed that God is in heaven, imagine their disppointment, when they reach there, and see nothing (because God is Spirit, and He is outside our physical realm) -- They didn't have the revelation back then...

    Secondly: Unity. HOw about considering what God said. ...nothing is impossible to them, because they speak one language, they are united... It speaks about the strength and ability of Human, who are united....
    God is not Human, and Is not Scared of anything... *our meaning of afraid and scared cannot be used in conjuction or reference to God...
    God bless :)

  10. Or maybe it was not God. Maybe it was something more intelligent and powerful than us, in charge of humans, and felt it necessary to keep us in place, divide and conquer. I read it in many different languages and it does not sound like something God would say, it sounds like he felt threatened.

  11. God is an anunaki, the anunaki home world is a planet in our solar system, It is on a 22 thousen year oliptical orbit which takes their planet too far away from earth to travel back and forward easily, the anunaki came to earth to mine gold for atmospheric heat traping technology as ther planets orbit takes them very far away from the suns heat, once here they realised that the earths gravity and atmospheric pressure was to great for them to handle for long periods of time so they took a very strong and slightly intelligent mamel and geneticly changed them to create the perfect worker to mine the gold, once done they gave us some knowlege, the worker kept learning and gaining more knowledge untill the anunaki started to fear what the worker would be capable of if left uncheaked, so they took the knowlege back in the form of genocide, the anunaki only had a limited time on earth till there planet started to move too far away from the earth so they left and returned to thier planet promising to return in the distant future most likly for more gold but possbly to stop us from becoming more technilogicly advance than them, what do they fear? maybe that we will take there planet for ourselves in the persuit of knowledge

  12. The drive to build a tower is suffused with a demonic idealism - and flies in the face of human diversity, and the need for human beings to affirm and celebrate, and accept, their diversity, as trying as it may be, at times. The Tower, was not an achievement of greatness, but of hubris, and God rightly saw that such hubris is counter to human development. Not by going up do we find our purpose, but by spreading out and finding ourselves across of the face of the earth do we find who we are, ever-evolving, ever-moving. The Tower was the worst kind of idealism, like Nazi homogeneity, and we all know how that ended - those who diverged from it were killed! Because Hitler wanted to build a Tower.