Communication Before Babel

How do people communicate with one another before God came down and confused people with the creation of language (ref: Genesis 11:6-7)? How did everyone from Adam until Noah communicate with each other? How was it that people were able to “call on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26, NIV)?

From the surface of the texts, it appeared that communication happened in the form of verbal communication. Just like how we normally talk with one another, it appears that people communicate with one another verbally. Based on literary description, it appears that there is a “language”, or “speech”, during the time of Adam all the way till the time of Babel.

“Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.” — Genesis 11:1, NIV.

However, deeper analysis of the text suggests that the communication that happened during the day and age was much more complex than any form of communication that we are aware of. From Genesis 11, we saw that the people were able to communicate with one another in the way of a rally, pretty much like the way we do it in modern times. However, in context, such a rally is of a much larger scale, with a much complex purpose. The rally was called to gather almost everyone on the land to, “make bricks and bake them thoroughly,” and to “build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:3-4, NIV).

The communication methodology mentioned here encompasses the ability to communicate, not just the principle ideals of building, but also the information needed to build the necessary. In other words, the communication medium was able to communicate: 1) what needs to be done — bake bricks, 2) the purpose of the project — build a city with a tower that reaches the heavens, and 3) the ultimate goal — to make a name so that we will not be scattered. On top of this, this method of communication was not solely used to communicate with a selected individual. Rather, it was used to communicate with the entire population. Judging from how people sends and receives the message, work was able to start quickly, threatening God and His sovereign control over the world, ushering a wave of destruction that not only destroyed the physical structure, but also the very means of communication (ref: Genesis 11:6-7).

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The 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. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” — Genesis 11:5-7, NIV.

To better understand the way people communicate pre-Babel, we need to turn our attention to how Moses guided the Israelites to build the Tabernacle. Before the construction of the Tabernacle, Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai, with God (ref: Exodus 34). During this period of time, God gave Moses the famous Ten Commandments. However, unbeknownst to others during the time, God also communicated every detail about how the Tabernacle that is to be built. That was why when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face was radiant (ref: Exodus 34:29-35), and immediately after he has came down, Moses gathered the people in order to begin the construction of the Tabernacle (ref: Exodus 35).

Must God spend 40 days with a person just to communicate the entire architectural plans to a person? The answer to that was no. Following the preparation by Moses to start building the Tabernacle, God has chosen a selected Uri from the people and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts” (Exodus 35:31-33, NIV). In other words, based on the scripture, we see that God is able to transfer the entire architectural plans, as well as subject matter expertise, to a person, in the form of data; empowering the person to be skilled for the job while knowing exactly what needs to be done.

Such is the method that we are looking at in Genesis 11 when the people rallied to build the Tower of Babel. It appeared that through the communication, the people acquired the skills suitable for the job, as well as they understood the entire architectural plans for what needs to be done. Such an immense transfer of knowledge is impossible to be done via verbal communications alone. There must be other methods of communications involved that we have forgotten post-Babel.

The Apostle Paul gave us a clue as to how communication could have happened pre-Babel when he highlighted the Truth behind Divine Prayers. He wrote, “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26, ESV). Here, “too deep” in the original text was ἀλαλήτοις, or “inexpressible”. Based on this, we are able to see that communications with the Divine is in every way, “inexpressible”. And in this context, “inexpressible” meant encompassing more than verbal communications. However, it wasn’t just the Spirit who is able to communicate with “groans too deep for words”, we as human beings are also “groaning inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:23, ESV). Much more than that, Apostle Paul also wrote that the entire creation groans together (ref: Romans 8:22, ESV).

In a way, our physical bodies are communicating in its unique way with the entire created universe. And also in its unique way, our bodies, the creation, and the Divine are connected on a medium of “groans” that are “too deep for words”. Building on Paul’s explaination, it appears that the ultimate goal of this Universal communication is Humanity’s adoption to Sonship and the redemption of our bodies.

I do not fully understand how Divine communication works, neither do I understand the purpose behind the Divine communication that is happening since the dawn of time all the way till our present day and age. However, if we are able to understand Divine communication, Humanity might be able to return to pre-Babel technology, exchanging ideas with everyone on the planet to achieve much greater progress for the entirety of the human race. On top of that, if we are able to understand Divine communication, Humanity will also be able to communicate in a more tangible method with the Divine; breaking the veil that is currently covering our eyes to the reality of what is unseen.

That is, of course, if the Divine don’t wipe us out of the face of the planet.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay
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