LFEF (3.3): Babel: How WORDS broke the world.

15 06 2010

(“LFEF” stands or “Lessons From Expert Feelers”, the series of blog posts of which this post is a part.)

Last post, I showed that human words were important in the Garden of Eden.  But what about now?

Names matter in the Bible. A lot. Especially God's name.

Oh man, read the Bible!  All through the Scriptures, names are of great importance, and have power to define and shape a person’s life.  Abraham, Jacob, Paul, James and John are just a short list of the Biblical characters who received significant name changes at crucial turning points in their lives.  I don’t have time to elaborate on the significance of the names of people in Scripture – or the Name of God for that matter – but it’s very worth studying!

A key insight about the power of language in Scripture comes from the Tower of Babel story:  In the early days of the Creation, all of humanity spoke with one language.  Everyone everywhere could understand what everyone else was saying!

In Genesis 11, the power of language is evidenced by technological advancement in the midst of a global society - which culminated in the building of a great tower at Babel.

But because God is the one who gave language the power to shape our world, God knew that having a single common language was too much power for sinful people to weild: “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.” So we now live in a world where language itself is broken and confused.

This is especially significant because of the structure of the book of Genesis.  Genesis is divided into two sections:

Chapters 1-11 tell how creation fell into disarray and brokenness.

Chapters 12-50 tell how God began working to redeem and restore creation.

It is of great significance that the Tower of Babel story comes at the very end of that first section.  We are to view this – the confusing of human language – as the culmination of the world’s descent into chaos and disorder.  What once was perfect is now completely broken.

So, the dismantling of language was a key aspect of the world’s descent into disarray.

But then something exciting happens later in the story: Language becomes a key component of God’s plan for redeeming and restoring the world.

Aren’t you excited to hear about it?!?!?  You should be!  Next post…

Click to follow my posts on Twitter.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: