This teaching page deals mainly with Genesis 11. In this teaching page, I want to explore what the Bible has to say about language. I will also briefly touch on Nimrod and the beginnings of false religion as we know it today.
In the evolutionist’s world, there is the idea that the way language developed was from animal grunts to more and more complex thoughts and ways of communicating those thoughts. They believe that languages evolved as animals evolved into people, from grunts to great literature. This idea of language development has made great inroads into the thinking of believers and teachers in the Church. Almost without exception, members of the Church believe in the evolutionary view of language and the relative intelligence of man. The Church, again almost without exception, believes also that the providential hand of God was absent in the development of languages and the translation of one language to another. For a simple verification of the truth of this statement do a survey of any ten preachers or Bible teachers. Ask them if God has supernaturally inspired or preserved any translation of His word(s) from the original languages. Although the scriptures clearly teach the providential hand of God in every part of language and I will give several examples below, you will get an almost unanimous, “no, God has not or does not inspire translations.”
The Bible presents exactly the opposite of the evolutionary development of languages. Language or the ability to communicate was a gift from God to Adam and Eve from the beginning. Adam was given commands from God which he understood and he also could respond verbally to God. Adam had a high level of intelligence from the beginning. He was charged with giving names to all of the animals in Genesis 2:19. This original language given by God had new words added by Adam and probably had new words added as new technologies developed in the pre-flood world. Genesis 4 records some of the technologies that were developed before the flood and who the leader was in those developments.
The original language was the language of the earth until the time of the Babel dispersion. Genesis 11: 1 says that, “the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.” This statement seems to refer to both oral communication and a written language. There are some that suggest that Hebrew was the original language. However, the Bible and archaeology make this unlikely. Genesis 8:20 records that after Noah left the ark he built an altar to offer a sacrifice unto the Lord. Although Noah’s ark has not been found yet, this altar has been found in the mountains of Ararat. It contains an inscription from an unknown language which is likely a remnant from the original language. If you look at the Biblical languages of Hebrew (OT) and Greek (NT) you will see a progression in the number of letters associated with each language. Hebrew has 22 letters while Greek has 24 letters. Because 10 is the number of Gentiles in the Bible (see Genesis 10) and 2 is the number of division, I would speculate that the original language had 20 letters in it. It is also worth mentioning that the end times language, English, has 26 letters in it. (Please see my discussion on the numbers 11, 12, and 13 and how they are used in the Bible.)
The Lord has ordained several restraints on evil or more specifically the human heart. These restraints range from His moral law whether written on the human heart (the conscience) or written on tablets of stone to geographical restraints such as mountain ranges or the borders of individual nations. In the book of Revelation, it is revealed that the Euphrates river was a restraint on the nations of the east and that restraint will be dried up or removed in the future to let the armies of the east pour into the plains of Megiddo. The Babel dispersion is about God using language to restrain evil.
The setting of Genesis 11 is that the people of the earth have come together under one leader, Nimrod, and settled on a plain in the land of Shinar. The people have violated God’s command to spread out over the earth. The people have also chosen false religion over true worship of God. The tower of Babel was a symbol of man choosing his own way to approach God. It was a place to practice astrology and communion with demons. The Lord went down and supernaturally confused the languages along people group lines. He basically forced the people to scatter and gave the people new languages.
An interesting study of these new languages is to look at the Chinese language. China is protected geographically and has a unique language that is pictorial in nature. The Chinese language has biblical events recorded within the symbols of its language. Here are three examples: The symbol for continue is a combination of the symbols for water + eight + people. It actually looks like a boat when drawn. The symbol for covet is the symbol for trees + woman. The symbol for righteousness is the symbol for by my own hand + sheep. Without accepting the Biblical account as absolute truth it is impossible to account for this phenomenon in the Chinese language. The fall, Noah’s flood, and blood atonement are all found in the Chinese language of today.
When considering the translation of one language to another and how the providence of God is involved there are two major events recorded in the scriptures. The first and the second are mirror images of each other. The Babel dispersion is where God took the one language of the earth and confounded it in order to restrain the sin of man. He founded the many languages of the earth from the one. At Pentecost recorded in Acts 2, God gave His words through the apostle Peter in one language and then supernaturally translated them into the many languages of the earth. When the question of a perfect Bible today comes up this scripture should be referred to. At Pentecost, God supernaturally translated His words given through Peter into many languages at the same time. He lost no truth in translation. His translation was perfect in every way into every language that He chose. God will certainly fulfil His promise given in Psalm 12 to preserve His words for ever. We do have a perfect translation in English today and that is the KJV.
As I finish the language section of this teaching page, I want to give you three other examples of God inspiring or perfectly preserving His words from one language to another.
Genesis 42:23 – Joseph spoke to his brothers in Egyptian and used an interpreter to communicate with them. All of his words were written down in the original Hebrew.
Exodus 4 – 12 – Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh in Egyptian but when it was written down, it was written in the original Hebrew.
Acts 21:40 – 22:22 – Paul spoke to the mob in the Hebrew tongue and yet it was written as scripture in the original Koine Greek.
I will finish this study with a brief mention of the leader of the kingdom of Babel, Nimrod.
In Genesis 10 and 11, Nimrod is mentioned as the king of this first kingdom of Babel. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was both a hunter of animals and men. He seems to be the inspiration for many of the gods of paganism (such as Cupid with his bow) and the leader of the beginnings of false religion. His name means panther which is a black leopard. He is a type of the Antichrist to come. Please see the description of Antichrist in Revelation 6 and 13. He was a Hammite in the land of Shem and may have actually met his demise at the hands of God’s man, Shem. The tower of Babel is man’s fallen attempt to reach heaven on his own terms with his own effort. God destroyed that attempt and will destroy all who attempt to reach heaven in any other way than through the Way, the Lord Jesus Christ and His blood atonement at Calvary.