In a previous post, I looked at the specific implication of how the Tower of Babel is being unbabeled today. Thanks to one of my friends (https://twitter.com/eibcb), I want to look at another type of unbabeling.
First, we find that the Tower of Babel was a merciful act of the Lord at not only preventing the spread of evil but at also preserving the diversity of mankind. The Lord’s actions were not just to prevent the oppression of people through a singular group of a single tongue but also to preserve the diversity and spread of people in the world. God’s plan was not to create a single world nation but rather to bless “all nations” (Genesis 22:18). This implies a diversity of nations, of ethnics, and of peoples.
Thus, when Christ Jesus had finished his work and had ascended, tongues of fire appear at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). “Tongues” is not just an analogy. The Holy Spirit appears as a multiple of tongues and thus the disciples speak in multiple languages. At the Tower of Babel, we find the dispersion of languages. We find not the collapsing of diversity at Pentecost but rather diversity being preserved in the presence of God. The division of languages in Genesis 11 was not simply a preventative measure but the benevolent divine intent all along. He did not want to simplify human diversity but to expand it. Thus, when the Spirit descends on the disciple as tongues of fire, they all speak different languages.
This takes a step further when Paul states in Philippians 2:10-11, “so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (emphasis mine). Even in heaven, the complete restoration of earth, tongues will be diverse as Revelation shows,
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation…'”
“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands,”
“Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people.”
God’s intention is that we would always spread, diversify, and develop. Heaven will be one not of a single language or nation but one of diverse peoples who will find their unity within the Kingdom of God. The consequence of the Tower of Babel will not be undone but rather upheld as the fulfillment of God’s intended design for humanity. The unity of humanity will not be brought about through uniformity but through God’s creative and loving redemption.