Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Tower of Babel

Scripture: Genesis 11:1-9

The Flood is over. The earth has gained a fresh start. But as people multiple and the population grows, it is quickly evident nothing has changed. Sinful people are still sinful, and in defiance of God’s order to fill the whole earth (Genesis 9:1), they gather together to build a tower. So God mixes up their language, forcing them to scatter.

Observations: Humanity, working together toward a common goal, with no barriers, no division. Think of the things we could accomplish, the success we could achieve, the heights we could scale. An unstoppable force. It sounds almost idyllic, doesn’t it?

Yet, that is exactly the picture painted for us at Babel. Yes, humanity was obtaining incredible heights…but God saw it as anything but idyllic. Because He wasn’t in it. Unity, success, achievement—these things are, at best, meaningless without God. At worst, they are one of the worst forms of rebellion, man trying to prove that he can be god.

So God once more stepped into human history, and the supernatural soon followed: People who once spoke all the same language now suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves unable to understand each other. God confused our language, forcing us to separate and scatter.

Significance: There are many things we are quick to attribute to the hand of God. A church’s growth. A Christian’s success. The unification of a group, the appearance of peace. And many times God is behind such things. But reading passages like this forces me to stop and wonder. How often do we try to achieve (and sometimes succeed in gaining) unity, success, growth, and fame apart from God?

For when God acts, the supernatural seems to naturally follow. The supernatural may not be dramatic. Nor is it always obvious at first. But when God is truly at work, how often do we bump into those inexplicable “coincidences,” that impeccable timing, the preciseness of a gift, the support from unexpected quadrants, the impossible alignment of events, the astronomical odds? And this would only make sense. For if God is supernatural, it would logically follow that His acts will also be supernatural. 

On the flip side, does this mean that if we cannot spot the supernatural (of the right kind), that God is not in it? I honestly don’t know. But if the supernatural is missing, it should at least make us pause and reconsider: Is this really the work of God…or just of us humans, like those at Babel, striving to act in His place? 

No comments: