So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth. – Genesis 11:8,9 (ESV)
God was a damn good curser. The Almighty is no amateur at curses. God’s wit in multiplying languages so as to confuse us makes my grandmother’s look simplistic. I’ve bragged about her regularly over the years. Her first language was German and her English was often “funny.” When she wanted to curse, she would call something “a b.s.” She’d say the words about the bull and excrement, in a German accent, which wasn’t the funny part. The funny part was the article. “That’s just a b.s.” Instead of accomplishing what she wanted to, which was to put down the thing she wanted to curse and to rub its nose in how much she disliked it, people would giggle.
God’s curse at the tower of the Babel, about humans’ misuse of their power, meant to stop them but encouraged the worst in them. Now much human dialogue devolves into a competition over who can curse better.
Dialogue is all but impossible once the purpose of speech is cursing, not blessing. God could have been smart enough to bless the multitudes and declare them all Good. Instead, God’s mistake helped the devil along by cursing. What a b.s. Fortunately, God got better at blessing over time, although the game is only in the eighth inning.
Teach us all to speak one language, O God, and teach us soon. Let us fight over who goes first in your world, not who gets giggled at. Amen.