Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord 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.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.Genesis 11:1-9
There is so much that can be unpacked from this one story, but to really get the most out of it, one has to first believe that it is truly history and not a mythical story passed on to Moses, or even later by unknown authors. Without taking the account at full face value, it is of no use to us in interpreting the few remains that we find of the ancient past. However, when Genesis 11 is understood as history, a lot of human history begins to make sense.
For instance, the Bible says that in the beginning, everyone spoke the same language. Well that is obvious from both a biblical point of view and even an evolutionary one. Why? Because we learn our language from our parents. Therefore, every language on earth should have a common root. However, that’s not what we observe. There are multiple language families that have completely different structures. So this is difficult to explain unless you assume that people independently and spontaneously evolved language apart from something passed on from their parents. Or as the Bible explains, languages were created. Furthermore, as time goes on, we know that we are losing languages, not gaining new ones (with the exception of a few developed theoretically as intellectual pursuits). Therefore, it is more likely that God made an incredibly diverse number of languages at Babel (and that over time we have lost some of them), rather than assuming that languages have always spontaneously arisen, for which we have no evidence of in recorded human history. Now, to be sure, we do get morphing of languages over time. An analogy for this would be the movement of a river’s course over time. Over the centuries, the path of a river can change a lot, but the path is traceable through time and it does not suddenly just get up and move and become a new river.
The other thing I would say, regarding the fact that God also spread the people out over the face of the whole earth, is that it also explains why you have the arrival of similar technologies at diverse locations around the world, at about the same time period. It also explains why people in some areas remained primitive. It’s simple really. Not every place where people were scattered got engineers. I say that with some humor, since I am an engineer, but it makes complete sense. Peoples languages were confused, but their minds and skills weren’t erased. So when they were spread out, they took their skills with them. There is a lot more that could be said on this, but there is something that people should really understand. Our modern pre-historical and sociological theories do not take the biblical account of Babel as true history and therefore, have constructed mistaken views of the development of the ancient past. The consequence of which are gross misinterpretations of human chronology pre-2000 B.C.
But now on to the main point of this post and the explanation of the post picture. In the time of the construction of Babel (which I estimate was somewhere around 2150 B.C.), there were two key features of the builders of Babel that have relevance for today. First, they were all working together, speaking one language. Second, God said that if they continued working like that, then “nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.”
So why is that so significant? For one, as an engineer who was internationally recognized for my knowledge of two advanced metal deposition and joining technologies, I traveled all over the world giving talks at international conferences and all of my talks were in English. In fact, you can’t be an internationally recognized scholar today without knowing English. I doubt you could even get a PhD in the sciences without at least being able to read English. English is the common language that almost all significant science is being communicated in today. To be sure, scientists are still working and writing in their own native languages, but the serious work is also being published and disseminated in English. So even though we don’t truly have a common language globally, science for the most part does have a common language.
Second, the biggest goal of all these modern technological advancements is really to figure out how to use science to bring about the next supposed phase of evolution and to gain eternal life. The more popular way to express all of that however is simply transhumanism. Cloning, understanding the human genome, developing advanced materials, prosthetics, artificial intelligence, attempting to digitize the brain, etc. are all directed towards man achieving immortality on his own. We are building again the tower of Babel, but this time, we will be the tower.
We won’t make it, though. Just like more than 4000 years ago, God will only let it get so far. When it finally went too far, God came down and put a stop to it, scattering the people over the face of the earth. This time though, he’s going to come down on the clouds, with power and great glory, and he is going to judge the kingdoms of the earth. Then he will rule and reign for a thousand years from Jerusalem. If you don’t believe that’s the way it’s going to happen though, don’t worry, you probably won’t have to wait too much longer to find out…
For Further Reading:
Origin of Language:
“Talking Point,” Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/tower-of-babel/talking-point/
Dr. Werner Gitt, “The Origin of Human Language,” Answers in Genesis, https://answersingenesis.org/evidence-for-creation/22-the-origin-of-human-language-ob2/
Wikipedia, “Transhumanism,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism
Alexander Thomas, “The science of transhumanism: How technology will lead to a new race of super-intelligent immortal beings (IF you can afford it),” Daily Mail, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4747174/Transhumanism-lead-immortality-elite.html