Nearing the Top of the Tower

Togetherness, oneness, cohesion and unity – we all profit from interconnectedness. And whether it be at the local or global level, benefits are derived. Arguably globalization and urbanization, the twin rails of interconnectedness, improve income and livelihood.

 Populations teeming together in the great super and mega-cities of the world exhibit an uncanny ability to birth ideas, that lead to creative innovations that in turn spews wealth on a scale unparalleled in human history – or at least modern history. Combining “turbo-urbanization”[1] with interconnectedness through the phenomenon now commonly known as globalization compounds economic and social advantages exponentially. In so doing, modern man is aggressively reversing the chaos, confusion and curse of Babel at unprecedented speed. Now, millenniums after that human dispersion, humanity is reassembling in mass and close to reaching the top of that Tower. What do I mean?

Biblical accounts record a time when, in ancient history, humans achieved a homogeneity that was purer and more complete than at present. In Genesis 11 we read that mankind was able to unite in: 1) one language (v. 1, 6); 2) one location (v. 2); 3) one city (v. 4); 4) one central reference point  (the tower)(v. 4); 5) one name for themselves (v. 4); and 6) one people (v.6). That was a more comprehensive interconnectedness than what modern globalization has so far been able to achieve. But, all things considered, moderns are making giant strides in matching that long-ago oneness.

What was wrong with that ancient interconnectedness that forced God to step in and set it back for millenniums? It wasn’t the tower, contrary to colorful Sunday school lessons that focus on that part of the story. It was humankind’s self-centeredness and selfish intent. The self-centeredness is evidenced by the phrase “let us make a name for ourselves” (v.4). The selfish intent is found in the phrase, “And nothing that they purpose to do will now be impossible for them” (v.6). As a united people they were gaining capacity to rival the need for God. The whole enterprise of building that mega-city reeked in arrogance, human pride and independence from the Almighty.[2] It was to be a civilization based on secular humanism with achievements that excluded any thought, remembrance or need of God. It was to be a one-world society with tolerance of anything non-divine as its core value.

Modern globalization coupled with urbanization is attempting to achieve identical goals. But even as they march forward, there is a stronger counter force also riding the twin rails of globalization and urbanization that is bringing about a greater and nobler good. Instead of man in his pride and greed at the center, it has the Holy Spirit and selfless service. Instead of being erected on shallow tolerance as its core value, it is built on the centrality of Biblical truth. This counter force is the global Church of Christ on mission, slowly but surely reversing the effects of Babel in a different way ever since the Holy Spirit descended on it on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2).

Humans corporately are attempting to reverse the curse of Babel – the division of peoples, the separations of nations, and the confusion of languages – to make a better, interconnected world. Figuratively, we are nearing the top of the tower – close to achieving what God disrupted millenniums ago. But Scriptures tell us that even though attempts may come close, efforts will ultimately fall short. The twin rails of globalization and urbanization will not be enough.

Nevertheless, at the end of this age, because of the worldwide evangelistic endeavors of the Church, there will be, “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation and from all tribes and peoples and languages…and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’” (Rev. 7:9-10). Only then will interconnectedness be perfectly realized, and the top of a different tower – the towering throne of God – be reached.


[1] A term coined by Robert Muggah in his article, “Megacity Rising.” International Relations and Security Network, Zurich, Switzerland, October 24, 2013, http://www.isn.ethz.ch/Digital-Library/Articles/Detail/?id=171570

[2] http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/cm/v24/n3/babel

 

 

 


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