Denison Journal of Religion

Article Title

The Tower of Babel


This essay refocuses the narrative of the tower of Babel to focus not on the division of languages or cultures, but rather on the relationship with god that this division reflected. Perrings notes that while the original unified language of humanity must have eased communication between people and can be seen, particularly in this day of cultural tension and violence, that this relationship was not pleasing to god. God is not only offended by the pride of the people, but is also concerned with their inattention to his rules and also their misunderstanding of their relationship with god. The focus that the people place on the building of their tower, Perrings claims, and do not on the next generations or their legacy is problematic in the eyes of a god who charged his people to "go forth and multiple." The future generations are less important than the personal accomplishments of the current, a indicator of a personal pride of which god disapproves. Furthermore, Perrings claims that the people build the tower in an attempt to get closer to god. This attempt to strengthen their relationship with god through finding closeness physically is a misinterpretation of how relationship with god works. The author concludes that this shows distaste for opening their heart to god, which is what obedience to god truly demands. Perhaps the most significant long term effect of this story is that god's guidance of the people in his division of them, leads god to choose a particular people to lead, the Israelites.