Saturday, March 26, 2011

Are we due for another Tower of Babel?

Actually, have we had several repeats of the same things since the original event? If I understand it right, the original event happened because human beings were getting an exhalted view of themselves. They thought they could be as mighty as God, and their tower was the way of showing it. So for their own good God cut them down to size by altering their languages. Then they could not collude together in a way that could bring trouble on them. The trouble is, ever since then people have still being building towers that collapse on them because they don't know enough or have the power to do what only God can do, and things which should be left to God. For a few examples, look at the sad case of the "Titanic." It was claimed that 'even God cannot sink this ship', and it turned out that without God's protecting hand, a block of ice could sink that ship. It was a horribly sad event, but it shows what can happen when mere human beings think they've outgrown God or risen to the stage where they can challenge Him. Back further in history, the Roman Empire grew to a state quite awesome by human standards, then Roman emperors thought they could call themselves gods. The end of the human empire was catastrophic. As Jesus said about the house built on sand, 'the wreck of that house was complete'. The Roman Empire was built on human vanity, not wise knowledge of the Almighty.
Just recently, a transplant surgeon claimed that head or brain transplants might be the next stage of medical progress. Knowing some Christians who have had organ transplants, I think it's wonderful when lives can be saved that way, but this has got its limits. How far do we go before we're into Dr Frankenstein? God made humans and there are major limits on what humans can do with what is not their design, not something within their understanding?
Have we already had several towers built on ourselves? Look around you and see what happens when humans use knowledge without wise conscience controlling it. The internal combustion engine is a great thing if it powers an ambulance that can get the sick to hospital fast, or even make travel easier and more wide ranging. But reckless use of it causes a pollution problem that could choke a city. The antibiotic saves millions of lives, but used for convenience it can lose its effect and allow the breeding of anti biotic resistant super-bugs, which are deadly.
So knowledge can be used to achieve great things, or it can be used to gratify human pride to to indulge themselves, and cause more misery than it saves.
The contraceptive pill could allow married people to have their physical relationship without ending up with more pregnancies than the mother could withstand. It was not meant to allow indulgent behaviour and turn God's gift into casual recreation.
The rifle can save life protecting people from dangerous animals, or it can become a means of intimidating and abusing others. It can be a way of procuring food, or a way of committing robbery or murder.
The modern western world can do things that people in the past would find unbelievable. But the knowledge we have can rebound on us, we can use it for indulgence rather than good, and find it is a two-sided gift.
A plastic surgeon remarked on the difference between healing plastic surgery that repairs damaged bodies, fixes disorders like a cleft palate, and cosmetic plastic surgery that indulges human egos. Any knowledge reveals part of God's handiwork and genius, but used the wrong way it can become a tower that falls on us and should tell us that we are always beholden to God.