Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12th

White, pure white out, fog Beck 'n Bay. Humidity 100%? Six-monthly dermatology visit this morning to burn off these reminders of sunburns decades ago.

Sunday is Pentecost, when we show red and read Luke’s account at Acts 2. I like our first reading, a great little story

Genesis 11:1-9
Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. And the LORD said, "Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Not history, it's heilsgeschichte, holy history and may be several things including etiology that explains old towers that eventually tumbled down because of construction methods that weren’t suited to heights and also primitively answers the question of why there are so many languages among peoples of the earth. 

While there are any number of theories, how language got started is a pondered but unanswered “science.” My own view might be that, like other characteristics that evolved in creatures, humans acquired language to meet need for communication in the social activities of hunting, defense. When you’re vulnerable physically, you develop the features you need to survive as a species. Weak, delicious, slow, hairless creatures without fangs, claws, spurs, venom had to work with each other from the beginning. 

As for the story of building a tower into heaven and becoming gods, it might have been easier to eat a plum from the Tree of Life when Eve was chatting with the serpent, except that the LordGod came along and caught them before they got that far, and after that Eve was ophidiophobic and no longer parseltongue.  


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