Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Tower of Babel: Evidence of Scripture's Accuracy

Genesis 11:4  They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

How accurate is the Bible
In today's blog I want us to briefly consider how accurate and reliable the Bible is in explaining historical events, present situations and future realities.  We will be using the tower of Babel as our case study, noting how all that proceeded from that one event is proof that the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel really did happen.  The Bible alone can be termed God's book, since its reliability and accuracy is unmatched. 

1. Historical sources confirming the existence of Babel
When we read Genesis 11, we are seeing the combined efforts of all men who were descended from the bloodlines of Noah's sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.  With the context of Genesis 10 as a backdrop, we know that in all, 70 different nations were represented.  Nimrod, the leader of this rebellious movement, concucted not only the building of this tower of Babel, but also the raising up of the Babylonian city, culture and lifestyle. From this one man, and one movement, would derive all of the religious, political and economic efforts of mankind in rebellion against God.

The Bible tells us in Genesis 11:8 "So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city."  Thus this great tower, representing humanity's economic, religious and political anarchy, was ceased in its construction.  Mankind dispersed, speaking different languages.  But how historical was this event?  Was it true?  Consider the testimonies throughout world history that refer to this tower:

1. We have discovered sources upon which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, the King who reigned in Daniel, had made efforts to reconstruct the tower of babylon which is spoken of in Genesis 11.

2. Herodotus, a Greek Historian writing in 450 b.c, speaks of the existence of a mound of ruins in Babylonia in his day.  He describes the "Hanging Gardens of Babylon", one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, as being associated with this site. 

3. Strabo, another Greek Historian, writes in his book "Geography" a physical description of all the countries surrounding the Mediterranean world in the 1st century A.D.  Writing in around the days of Jesus, Strabo describes the ruins of a tower that was 1/4 of a mile at its base and over 600 feet high.  Strabo calls this tower the tower of Jupiter of Belus.  Belus is Greek designation tower the world "Babylon" or Babel.

Clearly these sources outside of the Bible, composed by men who were not sympathetic to scripture, confirm the existence of this tower.  The ancient Babylonians used the term "Babel" in reference to what they believed to be "a gateway to the gods".  However the Bible reveals that the term "babel" ended up referring more to "confusion".  Indeed, if God had not stepped in and judged mankind at Babel, mankind would had destroyed themselves. 

2. Present day evidence for the existence of Babel

With historical testimony affirming the accuracy of the biblical record, what about current-present day evidence?

1. We know from the most recent studies in linguistics that scientists have traced the origins of all modern languages to the area surrounding modern day Iraq and Baghdad - the ancient site of the Tower of Babel.  In fact Linguists divide the earth's nearly 7,000 language groups into two general language families - both of which derive from the descendants Noah's sons: Hamio-Semtic (from Ham and Shem, all of the Middle Eastern and Asiatic Languages, like Chinese and Hebrew for instance) and Indo-European (from Japheth, all of the European and Mediterranean languages, such as Russian and Greek). 

2. The existence of "towers reaching to the heavens" existing all over the world tells us that man, though dispersed, still carried the rebellious message of Babel in his heart.  In Egypt, we have the Pyramids; in Mexico, the mighty Aztec Zigurrauts; In South America, the Mayan ruins; each of these being but examples of shrines devoted to men placing themselves as objects of worship and idolatry. 

3. Google Earth is a website where one can download pictures of any place on earth.  If you type in the site just South of Modern day Baghdad, Iraq, you will arrive at the ancient site of the tower of Babel. This site, called "Etemenanki" (tower of Marduk), can be found and viewed as a rather large mound of stone and ruins some 60 or so miles South of Baghdad.  

So clearly then we have evidence that we can view in our current day and time that this event had occured, and that it also explains the existence of other objects and sites throughout the world.  Once again the Bible is affirmed as being fully reliable and accurate in matters of history and science.  As Jesus reminds us in Matthew 5:18: "18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished."

In tomorrows blog, we will look at the future realities described by scripture that speaks of the world's present situation in light of prophecy connected to Babylon the Great and the Tower of Babel.

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