The Promise of One Pure Language
The many languages today slow progress and contribute to confusion. Why are there so many languages? What does God say about communication in His Kingdom?
There are over 6,800 different languages spoken in the world today. Most people speak one language, whether it be English or Spanish or Chinese or Korean. Some people are bilingual and can speak two languages. Some can speak more.
Can you imagine a world only speaking one language? As a matter of fact, the world was like this at one point. After the Flood, the people still spoke one language (Genesis 11:1).
Think about that for a moment. Everywhere on the face of the earth one language was spoken. Problems could be fixed more easily. There was less miscommunication since there was no need for translation. Perhaps sometimes even wars might have been averted, because attempts at reconciliation could have been understood better.
What happened? How did we get from one language to 6,800?
God tells us that He confused the languages. Why would God want to confuse matters? The people of the time wanted to build a city and a tower that reached the heavens and to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11:4).
Doing some construction doesn’t seem too bad on the surface, but part of the key is the statement, “Let us make a name for ourselves.” That approach has been part of human nature throughout the ages, from the class clown to the sports stars to the politician.
Making a name for themselves
Do you know who Gavrilo Princip is? Most historians would, but probably few others. Gavrilo Princip was the 19-year-old assassin who killed the Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, an action that led to World War I.
What about John Wilkes Booth? He was the man who killed President Abraham Lincoln.
What about Mohamed Bouazizi? He set himself on fire in Tunisia and started the Arab Spring that is raging out of control now.
Throughout the centuries, men like these have been out to change the world and to make a name for themselves. Many thought it was for the betterment of others, but look at the consequences of their actions. Was the outcome really good for everyone?
The Tower of Babel
The problem that occurred in the building of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 is that the people were worshipping human accomplishment—focusing on materialism and humanism. They wanted their tower to reach the heavens. They wanted others to come and look at them, praise them and perhaps even worship them.
It was all about them being idolized. It was not about the good and welfare of others—it was about making a name for themselves.
In this day and age of the Internet, Facebook and Twitter, there are lots of people willing to do just about anything to make a name for themselves.
But those things are usually the least of everyone’s worries. The name making gets a little more scary when you have people who are lone wolves, serial killers or training to be suicide bombers.
The power, fame and fortune of making a name for yourself overrides basic logic sometimes. When God saw that having one language was giving mankind an easier way to corrupt others, He decided it was time to confuse the languages, and this is how we have ended up with over 6,800 languages in the world.
God did not want to confuse the language, but man left Him little choice because of the path he was taking. Genesis 11:6 states that man would be able to accomplish anything—nothing would be withheld. But these human accomplishments were not being achieved for the right reasons, and humanity was going in the wrong direction.
A pure language
However, in the future God will restore a pure language to the earth (Zephaniah 3:9-13). This pure language will be given to all, and pride and haughtiness will be put down.
God wants everyone to communicate with each other, but our hearts and minds must be humble enough to do it. People must be working together toward something good.
We are not there yet, and even if we did have one language today, what would we be doing with it? Our world is a prideful world and one that is not very easily teachable.
Today’s common language
Yet, to a point, we do live in a world where we have one language. It is called the language of money. “Money talks”—in fact, it speaks volumes no matter where in the world you live. Everyone loves listening to the swishing of cash or the jingling of coins.
Money, too, can be a big part of making a name for oneself. The people who have lots of it are usually the ones whose names everybody knows. There is nothing wrong with being rich or seeking riches; however, what is the attitude, motivation and goal behind it? If it is just about making a name for ourselves, then we are doing it for the wrong reasons.
But don’t think only rich people can be prideful and haughty. Anyone can have the wrong mind-set, whether rich or poor.
Replacing self-seeking with serving
God will put down pride and arrogance and restore a pure language for everyone. Everyone will understand what everyone else is saying. Self-seeking will no longer be rewarded, and we will only make a name for ourselves by doing good for others.
It will not be in the name of “look at me,” but rather, “How can I help you?” This will happen after the return of Jesus Christ. Christ will have to come back and usher in a new age and correct humankind’s wrong ways because we are too prideful to correct ourselves.
That day will be a glorious one, and soon people everywhere will have the desire to say thank you, gracias, danke, grazie—all with one voice, in one pure language.