Is World Unity a Biblical Idea?
The answer will intrigue you!
Written by Dale Ebel
The Book of Genesis is crucial because it addresses the importance of origins. Whenever an individual or society gets off base, it’s usually because of a drift from God’s original intent. The converse is also true: When an individual or a society is successful, it’s usually because they have stayed closer to God’s original intent.
In the first 12 chapters of Genesis there are at least 14 major origins described. Here is a sample of just six of them:
#1 The origin of the space, time, and matter (Genesis 1:1).
#2 The origin of the genetic code— “after their kind.” (Genesis 1).
#3 The origin of man made in God’s image-male and female (Genesis 1:26-31)
#4 The origin of marriage between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-25)
#5 The origin of 70 primeval (earliest) nations (Genesis 10&11).
#6 The origin of government (Genesis 9)
Look to the Henry Morris Study Bible for extensive content about God’s original creation.
God’s original intent regarding unity in the world
It is very tempting to seek a united world—one language and one governing authority, with no national identities. But God declares such a world to be dangerous.
For one thing, it inevitably concentrates power in the hands of the few who run the united world—and power corrupts, and “absolute power absolutely corrupts” (a quote from Lord Acton). Secondly, diverse national identities and cultures are a good thing. The united world that the Bible seeks is a world of nations united in acknowledging the one, true God of the Bible, and living according to His moral code.
“But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles [nations] everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him” – Romans 16:26 NLT
With all the talk, calls, and movement toward world unity and unity in general, I thought it wise to address the subject from the Book of Origins and to discover a portion of God’s original intent regarding world unity. Where do we turn to address such an issue? address the story of the tower of Babel.
The Account of the City and Tower of Babel
I will supply my commentary on some of the verses found in Genesis 11:1-9 (NASV).
11:1 “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.”
Just as the Torah traces all human beings to two individuals (Adam and Eve), it traces all languages to a single language. I believe that the original language was Hebrew, which I also believe will be the common language during the Millennium, the 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth according to Revelation 20:1-3. It would seem likely that it will also be the language we will speak for all eternity (See Zephaniah 3:9 “pure language”).
11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city,
While dispersing, a portion of the post-flood group, under the leadership of Nimrod (Gen. 10:8-10), decided to stop and establish a city as a monument to their pride, and for their reputation. Human pride led these people to defy God. They were refusing to move on and scatter the earth as they had been instructed. In fact, this was Nimrod’s and the people’s effort to disobey the command of God in 9:1, and thus, defeat the counsel of heaven.
Nothing has changed regarding human nature. To this day countries pride themselves on building the tallest buildings, or having the largest cities, for the sheer reason to build up their reputation and bring themselves glory.
11:4 (cont.) and a tower whose top [will reach] into heaven,
Once again, they wanted it to be a high tower, as a monument to their abilities and one that would enhance their fame. In this endeavor, they disobeyed God and attempted to steal His glory. To this day people identify—or more precisely, confuse— “big” with “important.”
11:4 (cont.) and let us make for ourselves a name,
In Genesis, God does not necessarily oppose making a name for oneself. In the very next chapter, God tells Abraham that He will make his name great (12:2). The sin of the builders of Babel was wanting to do so solely for their own glory. With God completely absent, they recognized nothing higher than themselves.
The Ten Commandments prohibition against having false gods, this “nothing higher” issue, is at the core of the problem. People and cultures erect alternative kingdoms that take the place of God. False gods (alternative kingdoms) like money, power, reason, religion, and false ideologies like humanism, music, sex, and education have replaced God. Another example is the whole genre of contemporary art that is scatological in nature.
11:4 (cont) otherwise, we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole ,earth.”
The builders’ fear of being scattered—wittingly or unwittingly—defied God’s plan for the world. God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve, and then again to Noah’s family, was to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). This passage is called “the great mandate” for it was and is Yahweh’s plan for covenant keepers to fill the whole earth with humans made in His image and, therefore, spread the knowledge of who He is (Psalm 46:10) and what He came to accomplish (1 Corinthians 15:24).
11:5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
The irony of this verse is hard to miss. The builder’s intention is to erect a tower whose top will be in the heavens, that is, among the gods. But even though they built the tower, it is so far from the heavens that God must ‘come down’ to see it☺!
11:6 “The LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them (nothing will be restrained KJV).”
God understands the power people have to fulfill their evil desires without a godly moral compass to guide them. Nimrod evidently was the leader who had tremendous skill, intelligence, and influence to build the city of Babel and a larger kingdom consisting of other cities in the land of Shinar (10:10). He also introduced false religion into the post-flood world. When God confounded man’s language, idolatry was subsequently spread as God scattered them around the world.
When the people were scattered from Babel by God (Gen.11:9), they all had different tongues but the same basic religion, as taught to them by Nimrod.
This is why all the world’s non-monotheistic religions —whether ancient (i.e. Egyptian, Greek, Roman) or modern (e.g., Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism)— are all pantheistic, polytheistic, idolatrous, spiritistic, humanistic, and evolutionistic. None of them permit belief in a transcendent Creator God.
The tower was most likely the center of the Babel metroplex, erecting a strong capital city with a great central tower symbolizing its unity and centralizing its culture. The tower was undoubtedly promoted as a great religious monument, dedicated “unto heaven.” Its top would be used for worship and sacrifice.
The false idolatrous religion of Babel emerges in the book of Revelation 14:8 and 17:1-6, where we see MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
This pictures Babylon causing the world to become intoxicated with her pleasures and enter an orgy of rebellion, hatred, false worship, and idolatry toward God. Fornication in this passage is spiritual prostitution to the Antichrist’s false system, which will dominate the political, economic, and religious kingdom of the Antichrist.
Speaking one language, the builders wanted a united world. God declares this as not a good idea. Needless to say, knowing more than one language is a virtue, but God is making a rather audacious point: the world would not be better if people abandoned all languages but one. I believe there will be one language in the Millennium and for eternity, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST will be the benevolent ruler orchestrating His affairs through His saints. For a more in-depth understanding of Christ’s rule and our reign look to passages like: Ezekiel 20:33; Revelation 2:27; 12:5, 20:6; 1 Corinthians 6:2-3; Daniel 7:18, 27.
It is very tempting to seek a united world—one language and one governing authority, with no divisive national identities. But God declares such a world as dangerous. For one thing it inevitably concentrates power in the hands of the few who run the united world—and power corrupts and as Lord Acton said: “power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts.”
In the Social Justice Movement there is a term that advocates of this ideology use quite often: “Postcolonialism,” and it is a significant thrust of their movement. Postcolonial theory describes the study of what SJM advocates deem as oppressive countries, like England in Indonesia and Africa and America exploiting the Indians, and Mexicans. This anti-colonialism ideology was a common theme of the Obama administration and now Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have received the baton. Anti-colonialism is a precursor to globalism. Its reoccurring theme is to bring America down to be in line with the rest of the world. The Bushes promoted anti-colonialism with the naïve but well-intentioned goal to bring the rest of the world up, (that is to promote democracy). Anti-colonialism is a most powerful necessary strategy to promote and enact worldwide globalism as it destroys the unique individuality of each nation.
The world accepting and becoming a “One World Government” does not take place in a vacuum. We see progress being made every month toward a world controlled by only a few.
Of course, as Christ followers we are very aware of this coming reality. We learn from Revelation 13:17 that the anti-Christ will have complete control of all peoples’ religion and economic lives—”…that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” (Look to Revelation 13:11-18). Also, the ultimate false god will be the allegiance expressed in worship of the beast. “All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. – Revelation 13:8 NIV
In the beginning, Yahweh God knew that world unity was not good because
diverse national identities and cultures are a good thing.
The united world God seeks is a world of nations united in acknowledging the one True God of the Bible and living by His moral code (Philippians 2:9-11). It is intriguing to recognize that nations will be present in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Look to Revelation 21:24 “The nations will walk by its light and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.” Revelation 22:2b “…And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
Virtually every call for “unity” is disingenuous. People who call for ideological unity do so on the presumption that it will be based on their values. When we as Christians call for unity, it is based, or ought to be based, on the doctrines of Scripture. Protestants who call for unity are hardly willing to accept the Catholic pope or the Sacraments; and Catholics who call for Christian unity are hardly willing to give up the papacy or the Sacraments. When Muslims call for unity, it is a call based on the Islamic law called (Sharia Law) from the Koran. When Orthodox Jews call for unity, they assume it means embracing Halacha (Jewish Law), and few non-Orthodox Jews who call for Jewish unity are willing to embrace most, let alone all, of Jewish law. Although there will never be ideological or theological unity, there can and should be cultural or societal unity. That means a mutual respect and honest tolerance, which allows for freedom of expressing and practicing one’s beliefs, as long as those core beliefs do not demand acceptance from others of a different ideology.
Every religion or ideology is ideologically or theologically intolerant. They ought to be, however, sociologically tolerant.
The Founders of America, the freest country ever to exist, understood the limitations of unity (probably because their values were so deeply rooted in the Bible).
One of the ratifier’s of the U.S. Constitution, Patrick Henry, said it like this:
“It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians, not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.” — The Trumpet Voice of Freedom: Patrick Henry of Virginia, p. iii.
Even though the Founders constructed a Constitutional Republic based on the Judeo-Christian ethic, they allowed for other religions and ideologies to express and practice their faith in the public square. They believed that Christianity could hold its own in the broader culture if there was freedom of expression. This is why it is so disconcerting to see Christianity marginalized and restricted, while ideologies like Islam is free and even demands public recognition.
America is unique because, unlike Israel and Muslim countries, America allows for synagogues and mosques to be built where Jewish and Muslims may worship as the choose. As a Christ-follower I am not allowed to move to Israel and start a Church, nor could I establish a church in Iran, or Jordan. In Jordan, I would not be allowed to even wear a cross neck chain. These countries are not only ideologically intolerant they are sociologically intolerant.
11:6 (cont.) and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.
I think God is warning mankind about the misuse of technological advancement for its own sake, or worse, for the sake of human ego. Technology without God can be dangerous. For much of our world we have equated “advanced technology” with intelligence. This is a massive mistake.
11:7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
I believe the “Us” in this passage is a reference to the triunity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Here we see God, in a sense, mocking the builders. It reminds me of Psalm 2:1-4 (NLT) where it says, “why do the nations waste their time with futile plans” the psalmist goes on, “But the One who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” Once again, the irony is obvious. The arrogant builders said, “let us go up (verse 4) and Elohim God says, “let us go down.”
11:8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth;
The results of human behavior are often the opposite of what was intended. The builders wanted a concentrated humanity in one place. The result was they were dispersed. They wanted to make a name for themselves, and they did, but the name they made—Babel—became an eternal symbol of confusion.
To this day, and based on this Biblical episode, the word in English for speaking incoherently is “babble.” I am reading a book written by Dore Gold who was the former ambassador to the United Nations titled: Tower of Babble, How the United Nations has fueled global chaos. In his memoir about the U.N.—he writes, “an institution where truth and moral coherence are rare (how could it be otherwise, given how many of the member states of the United Nations are corrupt and/or dictatorships?)—Tower of Babble.”
11:8 (cont.) and they stopped building the city.
The story of Babel is a reminder of the excessive pride and self-confidence of humans that desire unity that is not built on the clear mandates from the Word of God.
11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.
The Hebrew name “Bavel” is a play on words: it sounds like balal, the Hebrew word for “confound” or “mix up.” In addition, Bavel is the Hebrew name for Babylon; thus, according to the Torah, Babylon means “mixed up.”
Some present-day applications
#1 Describe why Genesis (especially Genesis chapters 1-11) is so important regarding standing firm in our personal biblical foundations (Psalm 11:3-4), and for the health of a society (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)? These two passages are not in this teaching.
#2 In addition to your own personal walk with Christ, please pay attention to the happenings of our present culture.
#3 What is the difference between ideological and sociological unity and how does this understanding play out on the global stage? Why is America unique in this regard?
Could you summarize Patrick Henry’s comment? They are so insightful!
#4 Explain why general calls for unity in the broader culture are unrealistic.
#5 In a paragraph, explain the connection of the story of Babel and Revelation’s account of Babylon.
#6 Explain post-colonialism and how it is related to Globalism?
#7 What is one observation you gleaned from the story of the building of the city and the tower of Babel? Will you attempt to communicate this insight with someone else?
To Him who is able to present you blameless before His Glorious Presence!