Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Corruption of Communication at the Tower of Babel

During the building of the tower of Babel, God sent angels to confuse the language of the people to stop their efforts.  The Bible says in Genesis 11:1 “Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.”  Most readers of these words assume that the literal interpretation is the correct one - that all the people on the whole earth spoke one language.  Since language comprises the words we communicate and speech is the method we communicate those words, everyone assumes that again the simple text is talking about oral communication with the same words.

However, there is another possible interpretation that few think about.  Since the text goes on to say that God sent his angels to confuse their language, is the text implying that mankind’s whole method of communicating was being changed?  Some scientists have speculated that humans may have latent telepathic powers.  Could it be possible that before the building of the tower that the one language and one speech being referred to involved mankind communicating mind to mind in perfect communication?  The angels may have come down and simply turned that switch off in our brains so that mind to mind communication was no longer possible.  Can you imagine the confusion this would create?  Mankind would then have to learn to communicate through verbal speech through a mouth that was formerly only used to eat food and drink water.  Even today, most of the problems we encounter are rooted in miscommunication even when we use the same language.

Mind to mind communication is the perfect communication where miscommunication does not occur.  That is one way God speaks to us, in our minds.  He also speaks to us in his written word, the Bible. However, written words yield communication problems.  My friend Rabbi Avraham Feld in Israel once told me that you cannot really grasp the deep meaning of the Bible by reading and studying translations.  With any translation you inherently loose some of the meaning in the original language.  Christians spend hours discussing which translation is the best and most literal?  The answer is that some are more accurate than others, but all translations are imperfect.  The original Hebrew contains the truest and most profound revelations from God.  The need for translations is part of the communication problem that stemmed from the tower of Babel and mankind’s rebellion.  Maybe when the messiah arrives pure communication, mind to mind will be restored.  There is a passage in Jeremiah 31 that says that God’s people would not have to teach each other about knowing God anymore since God’s words would be written in our hearts.  Wouldn’t that be something!

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”  (NASB)


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