The Origin of Languages
The Bible tells us that after the flood the inhabitants of the earth spoke “one language” (Genesis 11:1). God’s original instruction for mankind was to spread over the face of the earth and to cultivate the soil (Genesis 1:28). Contrary to this, the decedents of Noah said to one another, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens” (Genesis 11: 3,4). Driven by idolatry and rebellion, people set to build the Tower of Babel. This tower represented doubt of God’s word and was but the first step in an evil master plan to unify and control the world against God and His followers.
God had to intervene to defuse their wicked schemes and protect the righteous. “But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11: 5-7)
Except for the restraining power of God in the course of history, the evil plans of men would succeed and society would have become fully corrupt. The relative order in our world today is due to the restrictive control of God. The devil’s power to destroy the earth and God’s children is thus minimized (Job 1:12; 2:6; Revelation 7:1).
By confusing their language, people were forced to group with those they did understand and disperse to different areas of the earth. Each of the groups might yet pursue an evil course, but the division of society into many groups would prevent concerted opposition to God and His children. There were therefore different tribal groups, each of which was to have its own speech. This was the origin of the world’s great variety of languages and dialects, which today number around 3,000.
Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.
In His service,