Question and Answer – What is Genesis 11’s One Language And Why Did God Confuse It? – Pastor John Barnett
150614PM Q&A Genesis 11 Babel.docx
What Happened at the Tower of Babel?
What language did humans speaks before?
11:1 one language and one speech. God, who made man as the one creature with whom He could speak (1:28), was to take the gift of language and use it to divide the race, for the apostate worship at Babel indicated that man had turned against God in pride (11:8, 9).
11:2 as they journeyed from the east. God had restated His commission for man to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (9:7). It was in the course of spreading out that the events of this account occurred.
11:3, 4 let us make bricks … build ourselves a city, and a tower … make a name for ourselves. While dispersing, a portion of the post-Flood group, under the leading of the powerful Nimrod (10:8–10), decided to stop and establish a city as a monument to their pride and for their reputation. The tower, even though it was a part of the plan, was not the singular act of rebellion. Human pride was, which led these people to defy God. They were refusing to move on, i.e., scattering to fill the earth as they had been instructed. In fact, this was Nimrod’s and the people’s effort to disobey the command of God in 9:1, and thus defeat the counsel of heaven. They had to make bricks, since there were few stones on the plain.
11:4 whose top is in the heavens. Not that the tower would actually reach to the abode of God and not that the top would represent the heavens. They wanted it to be a high tower as a monument to their abilities, one that would enhance their fame. In this endeavor, they disobeyed God and attempted to steal His glory.
11:6 nothing … withheld. They were so united that they would do all they desired to do.
11:7 let Us. See note on 1:26 (cf. 3:22).
11:8 scattered them abroad. God addressed their prideful rebellion at the first act. They had chosen to settle; He forced them to scatter. This account tells how it was that the families of the earth “were separated, everyone according to his language” (10:5) and “were divided on the earth after the flood” (10:32).
11:9 its name is called Babel. This is linked to a Heb. word meaning “to confuse.” From this account, Israel first understood not only how so many nations, peoples, and languages came about, but also the rebellious origins of their archetypal enemy, Babylon (cf. 10:5, 20, 31). scattered them. Because they would not fill the earth as God had commanded them, God confused their language so that they had to separate and collect in regions where their own language was spoken.
11:10–26 Shem … Abram. The genealogy of Shem (v. 10). Israel, upon hearing this section read, learned how the generation who survived the Flood related to their own father, Abram (v. 26), later known as Abraham (cf. 17:5). The shortening of lifespans was in effect.
11:14 Eber. Progenitor of the Hebrews (i.e., Eber’s descendants).
11:26 seventy years. The age that Terah began to father children. Abram was born later when Terah was 130 (ca. 2165 b.c.). Cf. 11:32 with 12:4.
11:27–25:11 The genealogy of Terah (v. 27).
11:27 Abram. The name means “exalted father.” Cf. 17:5.
11:28 Ur of the Chaldeans. A prosperous, populous city in Mesopotamia.
11:31 from Ur … to Haran. Cf. Acts 7:2–4; Heb. 11:8–10. Abram traveled along the Euphrates to Haran, a crossroads trading town in northern Mesopotamia or Syria, the best route from which to come down into Canaan and avoid crossing the great desert with all his people and animals (see 12:4).
The atheistic formula for evolution is:
EVOLUTION = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods
In the theistic evolution view, God is added:
THEISTIC EVOLUTION = matter + evolutionary factors (chance and necessity + mutation + selection + isolation + death) + very long time periods + GOD
The Brave New World
- God has given the only accurate record of Ancient History: The Brave New World Overview
- God’s has written The Covenant: His Plan of the Ages and The Map of History 8:1-22
- God has explained The Caveman: and The Descent of Man 9:1-19
- God has warned us by Canaan: and The Curse of Sin 9:20-29
- God has traced Genealogies: and The Table of the Nations 10:1-30
- God has exposed Babel’s Astrology: vs. The Sign Posts to God 11:1-9
Under our feet tonight lays the result of Noah’s Flood. Sometimes more than a mile deep is a sedimentary layer cake that shows the global extent of the destruction of the Lost World by the Flood. All that remains of the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood is underneath upwards of a mile of rock layers under our feet. No city, no walls, no towers, no villages remain from the Lost World, they all perished when God destroyed mankind. All remains of humanity from the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood have been buried a mile deep. So that means the Brave New World was the world that Noah stepped into when he exited the Ark. The Brave New World of Noah and His sons was a fresh start for man. Every Stone Age tool, every caveman artifact, and every archaeological ruin on the surface (less than a feet deep) of the earth, all are from the Brave New World of Noah and his sons. Nothing on earth survived the Flood in the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood.
This evening we are going to survey what is probably the most intriguing, fascinating, and informative part of the Bible. Genesis 8-11 lays the foundation for every person on this planet. Every nation, every culture, every legend and myth all come to us from the Brave New World of Noah and His sons. Lets trace the chapters and what we will study in the next few weeks.
The Brave New World
· Ancient History: The Brave New World Overview
· The Covenant: God’s Plan of the Ages and a Map of History 8:1-22God has a plan of the ages. He has given the first piece of it as “no more global floods”. The last piece is a new Heaven and a new Earth. In between is the age-old war between God and Satan, man and demons, and The Seed of the Woman vs. The Seed of the Serpent. Genesis 8 lays the scene for all future prophetic events.
· Caveman: The Descent of Man 9:1-19 From digs across the world come bone fragments, teeth and strange pictures depicting apelike creatures fabricated from a few fragments. Where did modern man come from? Where do cave dwellers, fossils, and cave drawings fit into all this? Learn of the Descent of Mankind from Genesis 9 and Romans 1.
· Canaan: The Curse of Sin 9:20-29 Noah stumbles, Ham sins, and Canaan gets cursed. What is going on here? What was the curse that fell on Canaan? Why did they all (the Canaanites) need to be exterminated? Is the present Arab/Moslem hostility a part of Satan’s long war on God? The last few verses of Genesis 9 explain the Curse of Sin to us.
· Genealogies: The Table of the Nations 10:1-30 Across the face of our world seethes ethnic rivalry, genocide, ancient hatred, religious and regional warfare. Nationalism is rising from the Balkans to the Orient. Terrorists seek to cause concessions to gain independence in the Basque country, Northern Ireland, Palestinian areas and other places. How did all this start? Genesis 10gives the birth of the nations.
· Babel’s Astrology: The Sign Posts to God 11:1-9 Over your head this evening are the bright dots of light we call stars. Many in our world live by the stars, astrologically depending upon the stars for daily guidance. God condemns all such activity as occultic. But do the stars trace an ancient even divine pathway to God? Genesis 11:1-9 shows us the Signposts to God.
We Are Part of the Brave New World of Noah and His Sons
As we look around us in this planet we find there is no remnant of mankind that can be verified that predates the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood. What that means is, there is no remaining building of any civilization, no pottery fragment, no tool, no giant living tree, no ancient fragment of writing – nothing on the planet older than 4,600 years ago! All scientific study leads to the conclusion that something wiped out surface life on planet earth about 5,000 years ago!
We live in the Brave New World that was founded by Noah after the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood. It is well known that the oldest living things on Earth are trees. Many of the giant sequoias are known to be over 3000 years old and except for unusual catastrophe, seem to be immune to disease and pest attack. A remarkable fact is that these still-living trees seem to be the original trees that grew in their present stands. Note the following very interesting observation:
Perhaps the most intriguing of the unanswered questions regarding longevity in conifers has to do with Sequoia gigantea trees, which, some believe, may enjoy perpetual life in the absence of gross destruction, since they appear immune to pest attack…. Does this mean that shortly preceding 4000 year ago, (if John Muir’s count was correct) all the then living giant sequoias were wiped out by some catastrophe? 
Has God left a marker that points to the World that Perished in the Genesis Flood? There is no living member of the nearly immortal sequoia trees that dates past the Flood of Noah. All living things date back to the Brave New World of Noah and His sons.
Consider the advance in the study of ancient trees. All findings only further the proof of a recently settled Brave New World. The dendro-chronological laboratory at the University of Arizona recently discovered a stand of trees older than the sequoia trees. These trees are in the White Mountains of California, and are a group of bristle cone pines. Their discoverer says:
Only recently we have learned that certain stunted pines of arid highlands, not the mammoth trees of rainy forests, may now be called the oldest living things on earth. Microscopic study of growth rings reveals that a bristle cone pine tree found last summer at nearly 10,000 feet began growing more than 4,600 years ago and thus surpasses the oldest known sequoia by many centuries…Many of its neighbors are nearly as old; we have now dated 17 bristle-cone pines 4,000 years old or more…
So now think with me. Since these, as well as the sequoias and other ancient trees, are still living, it is pertinent to ask why these oldest living things apparently have had time to develop only one generation since they acquired their present stands at some time after the Deluge. There is no record of a tree, or any other living thing, being older than any reasonable date for the Deluge.
1. Only God’s Word Records the Dawn of The Brave New World of Noah and His Sons
Now ponder the remarkable antiquity of the Bible you hold in your hands this morning. What this book records is seldom appreciated as it should be.
· The Greek writer Herodotus is known as the “father of history,” and yet his writings are contemporary with those of Nehemiah and Malachi, the very last of the Old Testament writers!
· The writings of Homer are a mixture of mythology and history, and the line of demarcation between them is quite nebulous, but they date from the same period as the sober histories of Samuel, 3,000 years ago.
· And yet the Bible records detailed and accurate histories as far back as 42 centuries ago. This is the world of Abraham and beyond. Abraham”s time was at least a thousand years earlier even than Homer!
In the entire world, there is no other book like this. God’s Word recording the dawn of the Brave New World of Noah and His sons stands alone. The sacred books and the ancient records of other nations fade into dim tradition and sheer mythology only a few hundred years before Christ, but the Hebrew Scriptures incorporate great sections of sober history stretching back to the days before Abraham and, for that matter, back to the very Creation itself! No other writing of such antiquity is at all comparable as a book of history, entirely apart from the question of its divine inspiration.
Only God’s Word explains the Brave New World of Noah and His sons – and gives the framework to sort out all these alleged finds of cavemen, etc.
There Are Two Walls between Which Lies Everything Ever to be Found on This Planet
1. The first is Genesis 8:18 that declares the only land living, air breathing creatures that survived the Flood, and repopulated the Earth were on the ark – all humans but eight perished!
2. The second is Genesis 9:19 which states that all living creatures including the highest of God’s creation – humans- have descended from Noah, his family and the creatures aboard the Ark!
All over the world paleontological research digs are turning up more and more fragments of bones, teeth, skulls, and tools. Once unearthed, fantastic claims of bridge species, missing links, and new examples of someone theories are trumpeted instantly by internet news providers globally. In their wake come seasoned, science fiction soaked, illustrators that imaginatively — and to the delight of museums and book sellers — illustrate these fragments as thick boned, protruding foreheaded apelike creatures. Introducing the caveman. Caveman is a world largely imaginative, and the product of the spinners of evolutionary thought.
Apes around the world can understand each other, so why do intellectually superior humans have around 7,000 distinct languages? queries evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel. Pagel, a professor at the University of Reading in the U.K., heads a team searching for an evolutionary explanation for our many languages. “Why,” he asks, “would humans evolve a system of communication that prevents them with communicating with other members of the same species?” www.evolution.reading.ac.uk
New Scientist editorial called “War of words: The language paradox explained,” Pagel writes:
You could take a gorilla or chimpanzee from its troop and plop it down anywhere these species are found, and it would know how to communicate. You could repeat this with donkeys, crickets or goldfish and get the same outcome.
This highlights an intriguing paradox at the heart of human communication. If language evolved to allow us to exchange information, how come most people cannot understand what most other people are saying?
The Development of Language and the Inerrancy of Scripture
A major difficulty is to take data from secular archaeologists and make it fit with an inerrant Bible. For instance, the Hebrew Bible says in Genesis 5:1 that the history of Adam was written! The word for “book” used here, sefer, alwaysmeans the account is written. Also, Adam and God spoke to each other in some language.
Later, in Genesis 26:5, the writer tells us that Abraham kept four kinds of God’s commands. They were all written commands. The Hebrew is very clear on this. One command, chukot, means an inscribed writing. What this (and other material) means is that the men of God mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis apparently used an ancient form of alphabetic Hebrew that could be written down.
Alphabets of thirty signs, more or less, are easy to learn compared with cuneiform characters, which frequently have several possible syllables for just one sign. In contrast, anyone could use the primitive Hebrew alphabet, including children.
Thus, it is more probable that the Northwest Semitic languages came out of Hebrew and not vice versa, as most scholars think. Those that claim Hebrew came out of some other already existing language(s) follow each others’ ideas instead of starting with the Bible and checking it out with other literature.
Isaac Newton to the Rescue
No less a person than Isaac Newton, sometimes called “the greatest mind of all time,” dabbled in this topic throughout his life. He eventually collected his thoughts into a book, The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728), published a year after he died.
Though he did not have the advantage of modern archaeology, Newton was so well read in the classical Greek and Latin writers that he was able to detect serious problems in the dating of ancient records before 700 BC.
His basic claims are solid:
· God’s Word is correct in every detail, including its history, so it must be our starting point (par. 410–415).
· Except for the Bible itself, the other histories of early nations were not recorded until well after the events had passed (par. 483–484). For example, the first historian to write about ancient Egypt (apart from Moses) was Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC).
· Most records of early history were lost or distorted as a result of repeated foreign invasions (par. 517).
· Ancient peoples were not averse to making big assumptions to fill in the gaps (par. 193).
Newton alludes to the Persian invasion of Egypt as an example. In 525–523 BC the Persians under Cambyses invaded Egypt and destroyed most of the historical records that the Assyrians and other previous nations had missed. The Egyptian priests were left to reconstruct most of their history from memory, and their efforts were not without guile.
Newton explains, “After Cambyses had carried away the records of Egypt, the priests were daily feigning new kings, to make their gods and nation look more ancient” (par. 517). When Herodotus visited Egypt in the mid-fifth century BC, the priests had constructed a list of 341 Egyptian kings reigning some 11,340 years! Even Herodotus was dubious.