John H. Walton is professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Previously he was professor of Old Te...
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What is the meaning of the Tower of Babel and why was God displeased with the project? Dr. John Walton sets the story straight by suggesting that it be read in its ancient context.
The Tower of Babel was, in all probability, an ancient ziggurat—a large, stepped structure typically built next to temples. They were not made for people, but for gods to come down from heaven (note that this is exactly what God does in Gen 11:5) and supply the needs of the people.
The builders tried to establish the sacred space that they lost in the Garden of Eden, but they wanted God for their own purposes. What follows in Genesis 12 through the story of Abraham is God initiating his own plan for re-establishing sacred space.