The Curmudgeon


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Bad Theology

Text for today: Genesis 11 i-ix

Despite God's precautionary measure of drowning everyone in the world aside from a single family, the descendants of this same family are soon so numerous that they migrate into new lands and cause Him renewed anxiety. Those who settle in the land of Shinar plan a great city with a tower whose top will reach the heavens, and prudently resolve not to stint in burning their bricks. Descending from His throne to observe, God fears that nothing will be beyond human beings as long as they can understand one another. He therefore confuses their language, whereupon they spread across the earth rather than ascending to heaven.

God is displeased at the idea of human beings aspiring to heaven on their own account rather than by reason of His personal whim. His motivation is essentially the same as in the regrettable incident at Eden, where He feared lest His creation should eat from the tree of life and become a god like Himself and others (Genesis 1 xxii). Possibly it is these others whom He addresses when resolving to destroy humanity's ability to communicate; or possibly He is merely demonstrating His eternal sanity, stability and singularity by talking aloud to Himself in the presence of a reliable chronicler.

Having created humanity in His own image, God demonstrates His usual degree of self-awareness with His indignant surprise at humanity's desire for heaven, to say nothing of its lust for burning. Within a few generations of God's philological intervention, the human race will establish itself at Ur of the Chaldeans, from where God will call forth Abram, the patriarch of Moses and Joshua, David and Jesus, proud génocidaires of Canaan and the cosmos.


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