Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Make a name for youself!

"Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it
;" - Ps 127:1

See Genesis 11.1-9

So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city” (Gen 11.8). Is it important to see why God does not simply destroy the Tower of Babel? Perhaps it is if we consider the fact that it is not the building, the technical invention or the attempt at civilization facilitated by it, which constitutes the evil against which God takes His measures. It has more to do with the fact that “They said, ‘Come, … let us make for ourselves a name…’” (Gen. 11.4).

God’s judgment is not against the advancement of culture. Rather, “the Lord came down …” against the way in which humanity tries to facilitate and affirm and maintain itself, to make itself a name, to play the part of Providence. God’s judgment is against any attempt or intention of humanity to achieve a name for itself independently of God Himself.

You see, once humanity’s contrived object was taken away (unity through culture) the building process ceased automatically. “That it could cease shows that it was not harmless in intention but directed against God and therefore evil”, says K. Barth. According to Ps. 127.1, the building process had to cease because it was in vain. Again, Barth points out, “Everything is in vain, and moves self-evidently to destruction sooner or later, that is ventured by man with the same intention as this building” of the Tower of Babel.

enjoy, ron

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