I have been talking a lot recently about C.S. Lewis and his warnings against progress and modernity. Humans are selfish and fallen, and God has a solution for us. Too often, though, we use technology and entertainment to avoid dealing with the real problem. Worse, some are redefining what is right and wrong and calling this progress. Worse still, many see it as their mission to spread this “progress” around the world.
This is not a new problem. It is the Tower of Babel all over again. This story might be forgotten by many, so I will summarize (from Genesis 11:1-9). The people all spoke the same language, and found new ways of building (new technology). In verse 4 the people said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky (literally “heaven”). This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.” Then the Lord sees this, and decides to scatter them and have them speak different languages, because if they are united, then nothing will be impossible for them.
Like all good Bible stories, you have to think a little deeper to see what is going on here. It seems that God is against humans; many have said that His act was unfair. Dig deeper. God is not against progress…if it is truly progress. God scattered the ancient people with languages because what they were doing was wrong.
What was wrong with the Tower of Babel? They were trying to invade heaven – without God. They wanted all of the benefits of heaven – glory, unity, eternal life, and perfect happiness – without going on the route given by God. The Lord was already on earth, trying to speak and reach out to humans, calling them to change. They did not want to change, did not want to do the hard work on the inside (which is true progress); they would rather build a tower and take the shortcut. It would never work, not only because heaven is not in the sky, but because eternal life without morality is actually hell. Happiness only happens through sacrifice and self-denial; there is no harmony when selfishness rules. This false “harmony” is a few people putting themselves in charge and forcing, or shaming, everyone else to agree with them. This is not heaven; it is hell. God scattered them to save them.
Now that we are coming close, as a planet, to speaking a universal language and communicating with each other globally, we have to ask: have we learned the lesson, or are we repeating the folly of Babel?