Tower of Babel

The story of the tower, when the "whole world had the same language and the same words," and how God decided to "confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another" (Gen 11:1-9) is a unique suggestion that the world for humans was purposely built in order to demand and elicit mighty effort from them in mastering it, as per "Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it." (Gen 1:28)

Subduing the earth was never supposed to be an easy task, and it is so entirely by divine design. God, we are told in this parable, apparently made a slight error at first by setting the difficulty too low, since, as He realized with some consternation, "nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach." But He speedily corrected Himself with this remarkable intervention of scattering an originally "one people" "over all the earth."

This passage is of course wide open to interpretation. How did the variety of languages arise and when? But the foregoing I think is a useful lesson it teaches.

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