The Tower of Babel: Understanding God’s Plan for People-Groups
Scattered Groups – Part 3
As the ancient Hebrew manuscripts reveal following the flood of Noah, God caused people to repopulate the earth. This is one of the theories we discussed in the previous lesson. The growing population of people spoke a single language and were singular as a group of people. That means they were the same and lacked the differences we find in the four distinct people groups of today.
After expanding beyond the region where the ark came to rest, the people began to move southward towards the Mesopotamian valley. As all populations do when growth occurs, they naturally begin to spread out. This spreading in all directions, eastward, westward, northward and southward, created a natural evolution to occur. The people in the north began and continued to adapt to their environment while the others slowly, but surely adapted to theirs. This process in the minds of the people and its leaders wasn’t favorable.
If you take a look around today, you can see the adaptation of people to your environment. One of the most obvious is when a person from the northern states moves to a southern state. Their speech begins to migrate from that northern accent and evolves into a southern accent and dialogue. This is evolution in a simple form, but what happens over many years?
As a result of this natural scattering process outside of the Mesopotamian valley, the people joined together to build a city and at the center of the city would be built a tower. We know this tower as the Tower of Babel. A city was formed and plans for a great tower were designed and constructed. In reacquainting myself with this story, I made a huge discovery that supports why we have people-groups. However, before I get there. Allow me to explain why the people decided to build a city with this tower in the first place. Listen to what the people said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches Heaven. Let’s make ourselves famous so we won’t be scattered here and there across the Earth.”  There are two important ideas behind this statement to note.
- They wanted to make themselves famous.
- They wanted to keep from scattering all over the world.
For the life of me, I until now could not imagine why God wasn’t pleased with their efforts. I never saw a clear reason for God’s actions. In fact, this story which only appears in roughly nine verses, is key in explaining the origins of humankind.
God scattered us across the Earth
We believe that God wasn’t pleased at their efforts with the city and the building of the tower. Historians and Bible scholars concluded that He (God) knew they’d become more sinful, would forget God, and worship their own achievements instead. However, the missing piece is found here. The people intended to remain in one place and remain the same. God, however, did not like that idea and wanted them to scatter across the entire earth. If you recall prior to the flood, there was no indication that the people remained in one location nor did they try to remain in the same place. The earth, the whole earth was given to people. God gave them, us the earth, the whole earth. In fact, it wasn’t until they tried to remain as one people group that God intervened. The conclusion is this; God was more interested in having unique people groups than having one group.
God gave us different languages.
Because this story was revealed in a short passage, we make the assumption that it happened very quickly. This is where our historical research comes in. This process occurred over quite some time, unfortunately we don’t know how much time. We do know this, for a population to grow, children must be born, raised and become adults able to move and spread out. It takes generations for this type of scattering to occur. Regardless, they evolved their languages into unique languages and they spread out over the world just as God intended.
Becoming frustrated, people of the same languages moved off by themselves. Different groups were formed. As their frustration grew, the groupings continued to form, their languages adapted, and the people moved. They moved, kept moving, and this process has continued throughout time. This is important to note. We isolate the tower of Babel to one singular incident or event. Who says that it stopped there? If God had not desired for them to form unique people-groups, He never would have stopped their plans. My point is this, not to prove or disprove what we’ve grown up believing, but to take what is heard and believed to the next level. The world that we see today is the way that it is because it’s the way that God wanted it as it related to His people in groups.
Question: have you ever considered that the objective was to scatter people through the world for His purpose?