Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Tower of Babel: A Pre-Incarnate Appearance of Christ - Genesis 11:5 Bible Commentary

One of the first times in the Bible we get a glimpse of the pre-incarnate Christ is when He is "walking in the garden [of Eden] in the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). Such pre-incarnate appearances of Christ are called (in theological jargon) christophanies.

In Genesis 11, another potential christophany appears.
And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of man had built. (Genesis 11:5)
The verse says that the LORD (Yahweh) came down, presumably to the earth. It is quite possible that this passage is describing the pre-incarnate Christ Himself entering the city of Babylon!

What might it have been like to enter the city of Babel? For a moment, picture yourself walking down one of Babel's streets.

You pick up a brick and turn it over in your hands. You run your fingers through the mortar.

You glance at the hard-working Babylonians. Suddenly, you realize what a disgusting thing they are doing. They are trading the LORD for a construction project!

Oh how foolish sin is! The LORD who made all things— the very One who upholds the universe... He was traded by the early Babylonians for a pile of bricks and a heap of mortar!

From our perspective, it looks foolish to trade the King of Kings for bricks and mortar. But how often do we trade Christ for other objects? How often do you trade Christ for the most insignificant, meaningless, trivial pleasures?

Perhaps you think I've been overly speculative in seeing a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ in this passage. Very well then, but at least see the main contrast in the passage. The builder of all things is God. He created stars thousands of times larger than our sun, and yet, the early Babylonians blasphemed God and instead worshiped a tiny construction project.

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