1. The Problem…
As God discovers man building a tower up to Him, to “heaven”, as it goes in the story of Babel,
He imagines such access to the divine as a really bad idea.
Sort of a “Fee-fi-fo-fum” thing. No climbing that beanstalk. No magic beans. No cow.
God likes his privacy in other words.
Who does mankind think it is. “Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven…”.
No way, dudes. Definitely no-way.
This cloud, says God, is off-limits.
Heaven, sort of like that other story of the garden and its tree, must not be messed with.
So God decides to issue another one of his infamous Cease and Desist Commandments.
This wasn’t His first C&D.
Again, recall Adam and Eve.
And furthermore, just recently, after much warning, flooded the entire planet.
And here we go again. A tower to heaven. Jesus!
In other words, God’s record on commandments is not real encouraging.
Divine commandments don’t seem to be real effective.
So what’s the alternative. Something better than floods and rules.
Something sure to thwart all the freewill down there.
Hmmmm, He thinks.
Gotta hit this mule with a 2X4.
And so, after a moment of transcendent contemplation, he declares his solution:
“Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
…”confuse their language”.
If they can’t communicate, they can’t build. And if they can’t build, heaven’s safe. They can’t plant their puny little man-flags, can’t write their names in heaven.
2. The Solution: Language
It seems, according to “God” that there is something about language in itself that constitutes a divine roadblock to any imagined knowledge about “heaven”.
The ultimate commandment.
But, unfortunately, whatever that roadblock is in the story of Babel, man seems to have fantasized that he is immune, capable of using language itself to break through to God, which is exactly what the story says can’t happen.
So to summarize: God is going to fight fire with fire.
Or, less metaphorically, fight language with language.
The problem created by language solved with the problem that is language.
In other words, huh?
See? It works.
The problem can only be solved by lighting a backfire and letting it burn itself out on the confused borders of heaven.
Recall: “Let us go down and…” etc.
Obviously this is a specific type of “confusion” that only happens “down” on earth.
Heaven will not be screwed “up” by a bunch of words.
Language, according to the story, never reaches God.
Somewhere on the way the message inevitably gets scrambled.
The ultimate enigma machine. No key. No code, No breaking the secret.
Just a heap of confusion.
And so, blessedly, finally, a little peace and quiet.
No matter what delusions man is capable of, whatever freewill he conjures, so the story goes, he will never get to God, “go up” that beanstalk into the sky and thereby know the place that is “heaven”.
Language, it seems, is the St. Peter of delusions, the guard at the gate.
And the only reward handed out for the climb is the divine gift of confusion.
Ha, say God.
Just to be clear, mankind can still have his words, they just can’t climb to heaven. Go ahead… say “hi”, “hello”, “have a nice day”. Just don’t attempt to utter anything about God,
And if any naive, earthly yay-whoo attempts it, the God “word”, to know the language of the divine, he will be godsmacked by a huge dose of divine confusion.
No the Spinal Tap volume knob turned “up” to some earsplitting 11th commandment.
No “thou shalt nots”, not even a “thou shalt”. God learned that lesson.
The delusion itself will becomes the delusion.
But what exactly is that trojan horse that keeps man looking endlessly up through the locked gate of words,
remembering, wistfully perhaps, how he was once able to talk to god in person.
A god who was not just in a book.
He can almost see it again. Were they actually speaking? It seemed like it.
Ah, those were the days, there in the garden.
Words which mankind obviously didn’t stop using postgarden. Only now they stretch endlessly across a universe of photo albums, diaries, movies.
This is confusion, not silence.
Is that the voice of God?
A God that can only be known by our confusion.
This place called earth, where even the word “God” inevitably becomes confusing according to God. Or “Him”. Or “Her”. Or anything else that might usurp the borders of heaven.
Especially harps and angels.
As far as God is concerned, there are no words for it.
No recitable messages, no divine commandments, nothing.
Only a God’s eye view of those two receding figleafs as they take that fatal step across the border, walking sadly away from beauty itself.
Did they turn to look back?
A moment now called forever.
Adam and Eve.
Two of the endless words by which God spreads confusion.