Monday, January 14, 2008

Puzzling Phrase in the Story of the Tower of Babel

I came across this passage in Genesis 11 a couple weeks ago & sort of curled my eyebrows:

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

So what do the rest of you theologians do with that line?


Jordan said...

As an amateur theologian at best, I can say that this fits in a general argument on pre-Abram Genesis being literal or figurative. The issue in this case is that it appears to be a direct quote. The LORD said is the only thing that jumps out on that one to me. Issues like this one have even come up in the Presidential debate in the form of a literal week long creation sequence. As for me, it is hard to side on the word-for-word literal on this. That however doesn't impact my faith one bit. I chalk this one and several others up to many years of oral tradition finally being penned for the first time. Feel free to question my save-ability after a statement like that :).

III said...

So, apparently, my computer programming friend is willing to step up to the microphone (and do it WELL, I might add), but my "professional theologian" friends are chicken.

Aight. I see how it is...