As you know the winter Olympic games are being held in Vancouver. Around this time the word unity is bandied about quite a bit. This cry for unity is not new and it is not unique. In Genesis chapter 11 mankind joined together in the kind of utopic harmony modern ideologues only dream about. People came together to build a city and a tower to ensure the continued unity of mankind. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4
Genesis tells us that their efforts, left untouched, would have been successful. But God intervened, and scattered mankind building the barrier of language and cultural divide.
Why did God divide mankind?
And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (Genesis 11:6 ESV) Think about this verse. All of the humanitarian drivel you have ever heard about unity and the human spirit has a grain of truth to it. Genesis clearly states that given true unity, mankind can achieve anything! “nothing […] will now be impossible for them.” I am reminded of the song by John Lennon “Imagine”, there he describes his utopia. Imagine, if God had allowed the tower of Babel to stand anything you can imagine would have been possible. So, why did God divide the nations? God divided us because true unity can only come through him, and he wants us to seek him. God divided humanity because we must seek him. Our purpose in life isn’t to live in great accord with our fellow man. We weren’t put here to repair all the wrongs in the world. Our purpose is to follow God. God divided the nations because given perfect unity we would no longer seek him.
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:3 ESV)
True unity can only be achieved through following God. How often have we all heard the words, peace, love, and unity? Many human ideologues spout the need for unity. They tell us that we just all need to get along. Yet I have never heard them tell me what needs to be done to achieve unity. Simple platitudes espousing the need for us to get along are not enough. Simply sounding the cry for unity is not enough. The word unity doesn’t bring unity. A global summit on the need for unity will not bring unity. We need something actionable. Interestingly enough there is only one way for the world to achieve unity. Through the blood of Christ.
Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30 KJV)
God is the epitome of unity. If I make it my first priority to be in union with God, I will by default be in complete union with anyone of the same goal. What do you think? Is unity something for which we should strive? Or, is unity something we will achieve if we strive to follow the Lord?
Good work Richard! I think we may have been named after the same person?
Abram had two brothers, Nahor, and Haran. God picked Abram. Abraham had two sons. God picked Isaac. Isaac had two sons. God picked Jacob. God has always picked one over the other for his purpose. By example, there can be no unity except that which God directs. We are not competent to pick as God can. Had the Tower of Babel continued unity would have been forced upon the inhabitants of the city. Not God’s unity but mans. One man would have lifted himself up to dictate his will upon all. This would happen in the seperated nations in time but never on a worldwide basis. God, in his wisdom, knew that people would turn to him when oppressed by corrupt kings, always leaving us with options. I believe the scriptures teach unity with God can only be on a spiritual level.
The unity at the Olympics is false. If it was real there would be no anthems, flags, or uniforms.
@Rick MoodyExcellent comment, you aptly point out that all too often we really do not know what is best for ourselves. In this case, although unity really appeals to our flesh, it isn’t what is best for us. God did not stop the tower of Babel because he was jealous or worried about the potential of man. He did it because it is better for us to be dispersed than it is for us to be unified. Besides unity in the physical world never lasts, but unity in Christ lasts for eternity.